Glasgow Tigers 43-23 Kent Kings
Glasgow Tigers 43-23 Kent Kings

Remember, many moons and a few lockdowns ago, the Kent TouchTec Kings would travel away for a fixture and the match report would then provide details of bad luck stories and possibly another potential candidate for an episode of Casualty? 

Well, we may now have empty stadiums and live streams but some things remain a constant!

The TouchTec Kings travelled north of the border to take on the Glasgow Tigers last night (Friday 21/5), rocked on the eve of the meeting by the news that returning second string Paul Hurry had withdrawn due to suffering the side effects from his Covid-19 vaccine. There was worse to come for the visitors, as they suffered a 20-point defeat going down 43-23 in a meeting that was abandoned after Heat 11 due to rain and impaired visibility.

In the very first race, Kings’ debutant Tom Bacon was holding off former British Champion and SGP rider Craig Cook for a third place point, when he picked up drive on the last bend of the last lap, lifting and coming down hard on his side. It was the last we were to see of Bacon as he withdrew from the meeting with a collar bone injury.

The early part of the meeting was close fought: after the hosts opened with a 4-2, the Kings returned the favour to level the meeting after Ben Morley took the lead over Sam Jensen with Jake Mulford in third over Jack Smith.  Jensen made a slight error at the end of lap 2 which caused Championship debutant Mulford to get into trouble and Jack Smith crashed evading the Kent man’s back wheel. The often controversial Smith bore some ire towards the youngster but it seemed Smith just didn’t handle conditions as well as the others and came down – a view held by referee Willie Dishington who dished out a disqualification to the Glasgow man.

The Tigers had opened the lead to six points after 4 heats, when the Kings took the second of their three heat advantages to reduce the lead to four in Heat 5 – when captain Scott Nicholls took a tape to flag victory in a new track record time – eclipsing the mark set by the homesters’ USA international Ricky Wells the race before.

That really was as good as it got for the Kings though, as the on-song home riders reeled off a run of five consecutive heat advantages: a 4-2 from Cook and Broc Nicol in Heat 6 started the run before successive 5-1’s in Heats 7 through to 10.  The most notable was in Heat 9 when TouchTec Kings’ manager Chris Hunt threw his big guns in to try and claw the deficit back.  However it was to backfire in spectacular fashion.  Firstly Nicholls suffered mechanical gremlins and Cameron Heeps was dicing with fellow countrymen Justin Sedgmen until Heeps got too much drive on the third lap and came down in what was shaping up to be the theme of the night.  Heeps did pick himself up to claim the third place point.

Drizzle had started to fall towards the latter few races, turning to persistent rain at the start of Heat 11 which turned out to be the final race.  Nicholls made a start and duelled with the Tigers duo, however Wells bit the dust which gifted the youngster Mulford a point.  It was clear however, that despite leading, the vastly experienced seven-times British Champion Nicholls was struggling with his vision and this proved to be the clinching factor as both captains consulted with referee Dishington and it was agreed to call an early halt to proceedings.

Positives for Kent: two good wins for Nicholls, highlighting that he will be the leader Kent need at this level; Ben Morley’s great ride over arguably the strongest reserve in the league (Sam Jensen); and that youngster Jake Mulford was continually on the pace as he made the huge step up to Championship racing.  A massive negative is the injury to Tom Bacon and the club will now cross collective fingers that Bacon is cured for Tuesday’s home opener against Eastbourne.

Glasgow Tigers   43

C.Cook            1 3 3        7

B. Nicol           XT 1 3 2’ 6+1

U. Ostergaard 2’ 2 3        7+1

J. Sedgmen      3 0 2’        5+1

R. Wells          3 2’ R       5+1

S. Jensen         3 2 3 2     10

J. Smith           X 1 2’       3+1

Kent TouchTec Kings   23

S. Nicholls      2 3 R 3      8

P. Hurry – Rider Replacement

P. Starke          F 1 1 1     3

T. Bacon         F – Withdrawn 0

C. Heeps         2 21          5

B. Morley        3 1 0 R R   4

J. Mulford       1 0 0 1 1    3

Heat Details

1.      Jensen, Nicholls, Cook, Bacon (Fell), Nicol (exc. Tapes)  (4-2)

2.      Morley, Jensen, Mulford, Smith (FX)   (6-6)

3.      Sedgmen, Ostergaard, Morley, Starke (fell) (11-7)

4.      Wells, Heeps, Smith, Mulford (15-9)

5.      Nicholls, Ostergaard, Starke, Sedgmen   (17-13)

6.      Cook, Heeps, Nicol, Morley    (21-15)

7.      Jensen, Wells, Starke, Mulford  (26-16)

8.      Nicol, Smith, Mulford, Morley (ret)   (31-17)

9.      Ostergaard, Sedgmen, Heeps, Nicholls (ret)  (36-18)

10.  Cook, Nicol, Starke, Morley (ret)       (41-19)

11.  Nicholls, Jensen, Mulford, Wells (Fell. Ret) (43-23)

Abandoned due to rain and impaired visibility

Picture supplied by Glasgow Tigers