In the past, the first win would have been the hardest as Durham Wasps were the visitors. But Simon Perkins recorded his first three-goal spree since 1988 and the final score of 7-4 flattered Wasps after Panthers had been 5-0 up at half-time.
Against Peterborough Pirates on Sunday, it was 5-5 in the third period thanks to a short-handed goal by Trent Kaeses. Pirates then pulled ahead before Panthers reeled them in and, with seven seconds left, an empty-net goal by Paul Adey settled matters.
At the top of the table, it was more serene, Cardiff Devils beating the second-placed Murrayfield Racers in what amounted to a four-pointer.
Terry Matthews was to mark his share of the coaching award with Murphy at Billingham's 17-9 win over Whitley Warriors - a Premier Division record for Bombers amounting to four consecutive home wins and six matches without defeat. HEINEKEN LEAGUE Premier Division: Billingham 17 Whitley 9; Cardiff 7 Murrayfield 5; Fife 3 Humberside 5; Nottingham 7 Durham 4. Sunday: Bracknell 6 Cardiff 12; Durham 8 Murrayfield 6; Peterborough 7 Nottingham 9; Whitley 11 Humberside 5. First Division: Milton Keynes 7 Swindon 7; Slough 12 Telford 7; Lee Valley 8 Basingstoke 23. Sunday: Basingstoke 17 Milton Keynes 3; Lee Valley 8 Slough 14; Medway 3 Romford 7.Reuse content