Kent Kings 40-50 Leicester Lion Cubs
Kent Kings 40-50 Leicester Lion Cubs

For some time in advance of this much anticipated clash between the two ante-post favourites for the National League [NL] title, it was billed as the battle of the division’s top rookies, Nathan Ablitt and Dan Gilkes for the Kent TouchTec Kings against the much-feted Thompson Twins for the Leicester Lion Cubs.

As it happened, that clash wasn’t to materialise at all, with both of Kent’s teenaged reserves incapacitated and not on track at all and Joe Thompson of the East Midlands club’s siblings crashing out of proceedings with concussion as early as heat three.  

Instead and perhaps more tellingly, the match turned on the battle between the big guns, the homesters Anders Rowe and Drew Kemp against the Cubs’ big beasts Ellis Perks and Danyon Hume; and ultimately with Perks beating Rowe in the equal fastest winning time of the season in heat one to set the trend and then repeating the trick in awesome style coming from behind to beat Kemp in heat 11; and then the two Leicester riders delivering a double knockout blow in heats 13 and 15 – it was at the top end where the match was decided.

Though the problems for Kent are very much at the bottom – with Ablitt calling temporary time on his season after suffering confidence problems (one can only hope the double British youth champion will reflect on things and be back soon) and Gilkes an injury victim from that torrid night in Devon last Friday, Team Manager Chris Hunt was left with a near impossible task of surgery to reconstruct a new reserve pairing.

Local youngster James Laker came in and pluckily took seven rides but to little scoring effect; and sadly with Gilkes withdrawing with a wrist injury on the day of the meeting, no amount of scouring of the list of available stand-ins could deliver a second reserve pick, meaning Kent had to go into the match shorthanded – with only Laker and ‘Guest’ Adam Extance able to take the Rider Replacement slots. Extance put in a worthy stint recording paid double figures despite being taken out in the accident  which ended Joe Thompson’s night; whilst Jordan Jenkins, to his huge credit, was actually to be beat Hume in heat nine, one of two wins in a double figures tally. 

In fact, the depleted Kings held the Lion Cubs at bay for much of the match.  A tactical substitute change in heat six saw Kemp partner Rowe to a 5-1 and the two point deficit stayed in place until five heats to go.  But the unbeaten by an opponent Perks and skipper Hume were in four of those last five races and they did the damage. A 5-1 in the final heat took the victory margin to a 10 points defeat, which really didn’t do justice to the great effort put in by the hosts.

It’s on to Belle Vue on Thursday in another extremely difficult match in the NL for the TouchTec Kings, now overtaken at the top by their conquerors on Monday.  Then there’s a bit of respite with the matter of the third leg of the Silver Ski Holidays Fours next Monday and then a ‘Challenge’ against old rivals Eastbourne on ‘The Glorious Twelfth’.  What would be glorious would be a bit of good luck for once…


Kent TouchTec Kings   40 

Anders Rowe  2, 2′, 3, 0     7+1

Rider Replacement – Alex Spooner 

Jordan Jenkins   2, 2, 3, 3, 0       10

Adam Extance (G)   1′, 1′, 2, 1, 3 8+2

Drew Kemp   3, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1   13

NO RIDER  NR NR NR         0

James Laker   0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1   2


Leicester Lion Cubs   50 

Ellis Perks   3, 3, 3, 2′, 2′   13+2 [PM]

Dan Thompson   1, 0, 1′, 3, 1   6+1

Rider Replacement – Luke Ruddick 

Joe Thompson X (injured – withdrawn)  0

Danyon Hume   3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 3   14

Ryan MacDonald   3, 0, 0, 1′, 1′, 0           5+2

Ryan Terry-Daley  2′, 1′, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2   12+2


Heat details


1 Perks, Rowe, D Thompson, Laker 56.9 (2-4) 

2 MacDonald, Terry-Daley, Laker [3 riders only] 61.6  (3-9) 

3 (rerun) Hume, Jenkins, Extance, J. Thompson (exc. unfair riding) 59.3 (6-12) 

4 Kemp, Hume, Terry-Daley, Laker 59.1 (9-15) 

5 Perks, Jenkins, Extance, D. Thompson 57.4 (12-18) 

6 Kemp, Rowe, Hume, MacDonald 57.6 (17-19) 

7 Kemp, Terry-Daley, D. Thompson, Laker 59.1 (20-22) 

8 D Thompson, Extance, Terry-Daley, Laker 59.8 (22-26) 

9 Jenkins, Hume, Extance, MacDonald 59.3 (26-28) 

10 Rowe, Terry-Daley, MacDonald [3 riders only]  57.8 (29-31) 

11 Perks, Kemp, D Thompson [3 riders only] 59.3 (31-35) 

12 Jenkins, Terry-Daley, MacDonald, Laker 61.7 (34-38) 

13 Hume, Perks, Kemp, Rowe 59.4 (35-43) 

14 Extance, Terry-Daley, Laker, MacDonald 62.8 (39-45) 

15 Hume, Perks, Kemp, Jenkins 58.9 (40-50)