Even the loss of skipper Ty Proctor to injury could not stop Workington Comets from edging two points ahead of Lakeside at half-time in the Championship Shield final.

Comets proved they are made of stern stuff by overcoming more obstacles in the first leg of the final at Rye House, refusing to surrender their advantage after taking an early lead, despite impressive displays from Hammers stars Richard Lawson and Nick Morris.

Nicolai Klindt, Rasmus Jensen and Mason Campton all hit double figures on a good night for Comets, while Rene Bach and Kyle Bickley contributed their fair share of points in fine performance from the five Workington riders who made it through the evening unscathed.

Captain Proctor would surely have helped Workington press for an even bigger margin of victory but the Australian had to watch from the sidelines after a nasty heat six collision which he was thankfully able to walk away from.

A slow start which saw both sides feel their way into the meeting with four drawn races in a row began to turn in Workington’s favour in heat five as countrymen Bach and Klindt hit a big 5-1.

The Hammers bounced back with a 5-1 of their own in heat six as Bickley was left to fend off Zach Wajtknecht and Lawson alone after Proctor gave it too much and collected Lawson on the third bend in a crash which ruled him out for the rest of the night.

The spirit in this Comets team showed again as that setback didn’t deter them and they immediately grabbed a 4-2 with Jensen and Klindt gated and Lakeside’s Nick Morris could only get past the latter.

The match seemed to settle back down in the next two heats, with a pair of 3-3s keeping Comets two points up, before Klindt and Jensen added another 5-1 to their collection ahead of Lawson and Wajtknecht to hand Workington a healthy six-point lead.

Morris tried to drag his side back into the meeting with a controlled win in the next race but Bach and Campton were on his trail in a 3-3, then Workington stretched their advantage to eight points with another 4-2 as Klindt and Campton capitalised in a chaotic heat 12 for the home side.

Lawson and Morris put a dent in the lead with a 5-1 in heat 13 as their gating skills saw off Jensen and Bach from the start, then Workington came back with a 4-2 from Campton, who passed Morley for the win, and Jensen to make it 45-39 with one to go.

Lakeside gave themselves hope with another 5-1 in the final race from Lawson and Morris, who led by example on the night, but it was Workington who will be the happier of the two sides going into what should be an enthralling second leg shootout for the right to lift the shield.