Eastbourne Eagles 63-27 Kent Kings
Eastbourne Eagles 63-27 Kent Kings

The Kent SLYDE Kings travelled to Arlington on Saturday evening and slipped to a crushing 63-27 defeat in the second leg of the Travel Plus National League Play Off Semi Final.

Going down on aggregate 107-73 to the Eastbourne Eagles, who now go on to face the Belle Vue Colts in the Play Off Final after they ruthlessly despatched of Kent’s other local rivals the Lakeside Hammers.

From the moment captain Luke Bowen fell whilst leading Heat 1, it was always going to be a tale of what might have been. Bowen’s fall turning a definite shared heat into a maximum heat advantage for the home side. Luke was also to suffer a similar fate in Heat 11 this time when on a heat advantage as reserve Anders Rowe held third. This would have given Kent their only heat advantage of the evening but alas it wasn’t to be.

Just three heat winners to the home sides twelve and no heat advantages rather painted the painfully sorry picture for the Kings. They simply had no answer to a rampant home side who were led by a flawless 18 point maximum from captain Georgie Wood. For the Kings those victories were provided by Ben Hopwood who won Heats 10 and 12 on his way to a top scoring performance of 9 points. The other being provided captain Luke Bowen in Heat 5. Jack Thomas also battled hard on his way to a return of 7 points.

A lot of credit must be given to the large band of Kent fans who continued to cheers on their side long after the outcome of the match and indeed the tie had been decided and it was a fantastic gesture when messers Bowen, Hopwood, Thomas and Rowe emerged from the pits to show their appreciation to the Kent fans who have followed the side around the country all season.

To quote from a song a band called Two Point Eight for Kent it really was a case of “an indifferent ending to the perfect start”. As it was just shy of six months ago that Kent opened their campaign as a team with a 10 point victory over Mildenhall and demonstrating the potential that was in the side and it was worth mentioning that Kent only changed through their side through the necessity of injuries to Luke Clifton and Nathan Stoneman.

So as the dust settles on the team aspect of the season there is one last fixture left at Central Park in 2017 and that comes on Monday (9/10) in the shape of the 2017 Kent Laurels which features some of the top names in the National League as well 6 of the regular Kent SLYDE Kings with Ben Hopwood missing due to a fixture clash with Newcastle.