Three defeats in four for Kent Kings
Three defeats in four for Kent Kings
Kent SLYDE Kings suffered their third Travel Plus Tours National League [TPTNL] defeat in four days as they went down to a powerful Mildenhall Fen Tigers side 50-40 at Central Park Stadium on Monday evening.

The away side (already confirmed as table toppers and boasting a 100% record in the League) were led by talented teenager Drew Kemp who raced to a quite superb paid maximum (14+1) which included passing both Kent riders in Heat 15. For the Kings, captain Jack Thomas topped the scorechart with 9+1 with Anders Rowe adding 7+1 and Nathan Stoneman 7.

The margin of defeat may also have been worse for the home side had visiting heat leader Josh Bailey not been withdrawn from the meeting following a first bend crash in Heat 3. This resulted in the youngster being knocked out and sustaining concussion – a most unfortunate way to end his 21st birthday,

A good number of Mildenhall fans made the trip down from the Suffolk Fens and from their viewpoint things got off to a perfect start with back to back heat advantages in the opening races – for the home fans hoping that the Kings’ own long unbeaten record at home in the TPTNL might be extended, it was certainly less than perfect.

The homesters did claw two points back in Heat 3 as Taylor Hampshire, back after his illness, went round the field on the opening two bends to take the lead and head home Jordan Jenkins from Stoneman. This came after the initial staging of the race got no further than bend 2, with the luckless Bailey locking up to avoid his team mate and Stoneman following close behind running in the back of the Mildenhall man. It was a day he’d hoped for the key to the door – sadly he hadn’t wanted that to be an ambulance door.

The League leaders had extended their lead to 12 points by the end of Heat 5 – Ryan Kinsley and former Kent rider and still fan favourite, Danny Ayres really providing some bite at the top of the order for the visitors registering heat advantages in all three of the races together: two of these being maximum heat advantages and the other a 4-2 in Heat 11.

The home side enjoyed a mid match rally, a 4-2 heat advantage in Heat 7 from Thomas and Jamie Couzins finishing either side of Fen Tigers’ skipper Jenkins was then followed by two shared races, before the home side registered two maximum heat advantages in three races. The first came in an incident packed heat 10, which took three attempts to complete. In the first staging Jenkins was holding off Kings’ number one Paul Hurry, when Hurry made a move up the inside coming into the second lap forcing the visiting captain off his line and falling into the first turn fence. Referee Mick Bates a former rider actually for Mildenhall adjudged the Fen Tigers man to be at fault and his exclusion light was put on.

The second staging got no further than the first bend when there was a clash between Hurry and Matt Marson on the way to the first turn which saw the Australian born 18 year old take a tumble – this time referee Bates brought them all back to the start for a third attempt – “fair dinkum mate” thought most of the crowd! The third staging saw Rowe and Hurry take an untroubled 5-1 to bring the deficit to 6 points (27-33) going into the interval.

After the interval Mildenhall gained another 4-2 heat advantage; however the Kings responded with a 5-1 to bring the gap to just 4 points and maybe just maybe, hopes of an upset. Stoneman and Alex Spooner, two men very much in the wars in recent weeks, it was who raced to an untroubled 5-1 over Mildenhall’s reserve pairing.

That was as good as it got for the home side – a dramatic Heat 13 saw Ayres dive bomb under Hurry. The Kent number one’s resultant tumble resulted in an exclusion for his counterpart in the Fen Tigers team; but the re-run was won by young Kemp taking him to four wins out of four on the night. A 4-2 to the visitors in the penultimate race sealed the victory before a stunning last race. Ayres gated and for two laps the home duo of Thomas and Stoneman were sat on his tail, then going into the third lap the sensational Kemp went passed both the home riders in one go to complete his paid maximum.

The three quick fire reverses (all against fellow top four sides) for Chris Hunt’s charges have seen them stuck on 31 points in the TPTNL table but that’s still enough to be in second place and five points clear of fifth placed Birmingham. Next week’s home match is of huge significance now – taking on fourth placed Belle Vue Colts: the Kings’ conquerors last Friday.

The battle for the play offs (which is achieved by a top four finish) is going down to the fire and a win over the Manchester-based club (reigning champions, of course) would clinch qualification for Kent. The crunch match (the last home league match of the regular season is at Central Park Stadium next Monday (10/9) – normal start time of 6.30pm.


Kent SLYDE Kings 40

P.Hurry R 2 2* 2 6+1
A.Rowe  1 1* 2 3 7+1
N.Stoneman 1 1 2 3 0 7
T.Hampshire 3 0 1* 2 6+1
J.Thomas 2 3 2 1* 1 9+1
J.Couzins 0 1 0 1
A.Spooner 1 0 1* 2* F 4+2

Mildenhall 50

D.Ayres 2* 2* 3 X 3 10+2
R.Kinsley 3 3 3 1 10
J.Bailey N (withdrew – injured) 0
J.Jenkins 2 2 X 3 7
D.Kemp 3 3 3 3 2* 14+1 [PM]
M.Marson 2* 0 0 0 1 1 4+1
S.Bebee 3 1 F R 0 1 5

1. Kinsley, Ayres, Rowe, Hurry (ret), 58.4 (1-5)
2. Bebee, Marson, Spooner, Couzins, 61.5 (2-10)
3. (re-run) Hampshire, Jenkins, Stoneman, Marson, Bailey (f.ns), 58.8 (6-12)
4. Kemp, Thomas, Bebee, Spooner, 58.8 (8-16)
5. Kinsley, Ayres, Stoneman, Hampshire, 59.1 (9-21)
6. Kemp, Hurry, Rowe, Marson, 59.2 (12-24)
7. Thomas, Jenkins, Couzins, Bebee (f), 58.8 (16-26)
8. Kinsley, Rowe, Spooner, Bebee, 59.4 (19-29)
9. Kemp, Stoneman, Hampshire, Marson, 58.6 (22-32)
10. (re-run) Rowe, Hurry, Marson, Jenkins (f.exc), 59.3 (27-33)
11. Ayres, Thomas, Kinsley, Couzins, 58.8 (29-37)
12. Stoneman, Spooner, Marson, Bebee, 60.3 (34-38)
13. (re-run) Kemp, Hurry, Thomas,Ayres (exc), 59.1 (37-41)
14. (re-run) Jenkins, Hampshire, Bebee, Spooner (f), 59.9 (39-45)
15. Ayres, Kemp, Thomas, Stoneman 59.8 (40-50)