LAKESIDE Hammers head into the second half of their Good Friday double-header with Eastbourne Eagles on the back of a 55-41 this afternoon.

The Hammers only lost three heats as they were never headed at Arena Essex to lead the way in the Elite League.

Peter Karlsson topped the Hammers' scoring with 13+1, while Mikkel Bech had a 12+1 paid maximum ahead of this evening's return leg at Arlington.

Hammers opened proceedings with a 5-1 but heats two and three were shared, before a 4-2 was followed up with another 5-1.

Cameron Woodward won a tactical ride to give Eastbourne their first heat win of the meeting wi a 6-3 to make it 23-16 after six heats.

The hosts responded with a brace of 4-2s before a pair of 5-1s put them 41-22 ahead after 10 heats.

A second tactical ride for Eastbourne reaped dividends when Bjarne Pedersen and Mikkel Michelsen pulled off a one-two for an 8-1 to make it 42-30.

Two shared heats sandwiched a Hammers' 5-1 before Eastbourne won the final heat 4-2 for a 55-41 score line, with Westcliff rider Ben Morley scoring 7+2 for the hosts.