Kent Kings 50-40 Plymouth
Kent Kings 50-40 Plymouth

The Kent SLYDE Kings have taken another giant step towards the Play Off places with a 50-40 victory over Plymouth at Central Park on Monday evening.

A rare off night for captain Luke Bowen was covered for sublimely by his fellow heat leaders Ben Hopwood and Jack Thomas. Hopwood top scoring with a 12 point haul and Jack Thomas adding 10 which included three classy heat wins over all three of Plymouth’s much more experienced heat leaders. There were also fine performances from Anders Rowe (9+1), Dan Greenwood (8+3) and George Hunter (8+1).

The match got underway in the midst of a shower and the races were pressed through at a pace with the inclement weather – in fact there was precisely an hour and 25 minutes from when the 2 minutes was sounded for Heat 1 to when the chequered flag fell to signal the end of Heat 15. A large amount of praise must go to both sets of riders and indeed referee Chris Durno and trainee referee Seth Perkins for the speed in which they pressed the meeting through despite there being no shortage of incidents on a track left wet from a shower shortly before the opening race.

The opening race got underway with a fine tapes to flag victory for Plymouth number 1 Adam Roynon – there was a worrying moment for Kent fans when Luke Bowen lost control in the wet conditions and skated across the corner in the first and second bends clipping the fence and before somehow regaining control claiming third as Richard Andrews was an earlier faller.

Plymouth took the lead in the second race when Henry Atkins after a terrific scrap with his Kent counterpart George Hunter took the win. With Plymouth reserve replacement Alex Spooner (once part of the Kent squad) getting the better of William O’Keefe (once part of the Plymouth side) for third it gave Plymouth a two point lead.

The Kings took the lead with back to back heat advantages in Heats 3 and 4; firstly there was a 5-1 in heat three from the Ben Hopwood and Dan Greenwood pairing. This was followed by Jack Thomas riding a superb four laps to hold off Henry Atkins. There was drama at the start of Heat 4 as in the first staging Steve Boxall touched the tapes and was excluded. He was put back in the rerun off a 15 metre handicap. In the second staging he moved again before the tapes went up and this time was thrown out of the race. Kent now led by four points (14-10).

After a shared fifth race which was again won by Adam Roynon, a terrific battle was developing in the sixth race between the two great friends Steve Boxall and Luke Bowen, when Luke came off trying to go round Boxall as they were heading towards the start of the last lap. The result was awarded and the Kings was halved to just two points. Another shared heat followed, meaning as we headed towards the halfway stage Kent were leading by two (22-20).

The match was turned by three successive 5-1 heat advantages in favour of the homeside, the first coming in what was a contender for race of the evening in Heat 8. Plymouth youngster Henry Atkins made the start and then was passed coming out of bend 2 by George Hunter, then half a lap later Anders Rowe somehow squeezed inside to join his Kings colleague. Heats 9 and 10 were more run of the mill as first Hopwood and Greenwood outpaced Boxall and then in Heat 10 Anders Rowe and Luke Bowen got the better of former Kent King Benji Compton. This put the Kings 14 points to the good and seemingly assured of their Play Off spot.

The next two races were shared which all but wrapped up the meeting for Kent with the score at 43-29 before a Heat 13 which will be remembered for Boxall hunting down a second 15 metre handicap to catch and pass Jack Thomas to join his team mate Adam Roynon for a 5-1. Luke Bowen pulled up with bike problems just yards from the start.

Heat 14 saw Dan Greenwood register his first league at Central Park for his new side he was backed up by the in form George Hunter which restored the Kings 14 point lead and denied Plymouth any chance of taking a consolation point from the meeting. They did restore some pride with a further 5-1 heat win in Heat 15 once again from that lively Roynon and Boxall partnership which has damaged many sides throughout the season.

The Kings now head into a run of away fixtures, starting with Eastbourne this Saturday (16/9) then the following afternoon at Buxton (17/9) before finishing the regular league campaign with a visit to Stoke (23/9) – all three fixtures form parts of double headers with other matches as we head towards the cut off date for league deciding Play Offs which is the 24/9.

 

KENT

L.Bowen  1* X 2* R – – – 3+2

A.Rowe  2 2 2* 3 – – – 9+1

B.Hopwood  3 2 3 3 1 – – 12

D.Greenwood  2* 1* 2* 3 – – – 8+3

J.Thomas  3 3 3 1 R – – 10

W.O’Keefe  0 0 0 – – – – 0

G.Hunter  2 1 3 0 2* – – 8+1

 

PLYMOUTH

A.Roynon  3 3 2 3 2* – – 13+1

R.Andrews  F 0 R 1* – – – 1+1

B.Compton  M 2 1 2 – – – 5

C.Walker  0 1* R F – – – 1+1

S.Boxall  ◇T 3 1 2*◇ 3 – – 9+1

A.Spooner  1 1 0 – – – – 2

H.Atkins  3 1 2 1 1* 1 – 9+1

HT

1. Roynon, Rowe, Bowen, Andrews (f), 60.4 (3-3)

2. Atkins, Hunter, Spooner, O’Keefe, 64.8 (5-7)

3. Hopwood, Greenwood, Atkins, Walker, 63.3 (10-8)

4.  Thomas, Atkins, Hunter, Boxall ◇(exc), 61.5 (14-10)

5. Roynon, Hopwood, Greenwood, Andrews, 61.9 (17-13)

6. (awarded) Boxall, Rowe, Spooner, Bowen (f.exc), no time (19-17)

7. Thomas, Compton, Walker, O’Keefe, 62.3 (22-20)

8. Hunter, Rowe, Atkins, Andrews (ret), 61.1 (27-21)

9. (re-run) Hopwood, Greenwood, Boxall, Spooner, 61.3 (32-22)

10. (re-run) Rowe, Bowen, Compton, Walker (ret), 62.2 (37-23)

11. Thomas, Roynon, Andrews (f.rem), O’Keefe (f.rem), 61.6 (40-26)

12.  Hopwood, Compton, Atkins, Hunter (f.rem), 61.5 (43-29)

13.  Roynon, Boxall◇, Thomas, Bowen (ret), 61.6 (44-34)

14. Greenwood, Hunter, Atkins, Walker (f), 62.4 (49-35)

15. Boxall, Roynon, Hopwood, Thomas (ret), 60.8 (50-40)

Picture supplied by Elizabeth Leslie.

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