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Kent Royals miss out on playoff glory
Kent Royals miss out on playoff glory

Well, some things just aren’t meant to be – is a philosophical look at the Kent Iwade Garage Royals bid for a place in the National League Play Offs.

When you look at all the injuries The Royals had over the season, the fact it came down to the very last fixture was a testament to the spirit within the camp, but alas the final hurdle proved a bridge too far as the Kent Iwade Garage Royals suffered a 31-point defeat to the Oxford Chargers going down 60-29.

For outgoing captain Danno Verge there was the honour of being The Royals top scorer tonight with 7 points, in what was Danno’s last official meeting before he hangs up his kevlars and retires.

Reserve duo Sam Woolley and Chris Watts managed to book-end their season by finishing as they started by taking a maximum heat advantage in the reserves race, a feat they also managed way back in March at Plymouth in the opening league fixture of the season.

And in this instance that heat advantage levelled the scores 6-6 after a good opening scrap saw the hosts take the first of eight maximum heat advantages, with home number one Jordan Jenkins and Kent Guest Lee Complin battling over second place.

There was only two points between the sides before a dramatic Heat 5 which put the hosts firmly in control. In the first staging of the race, Complin and Oxford guest Adam Roynon collided coming out of the second bend on the opening lap and it was Complin who was adjudged to be at fault and subsequently disqualified from the re-run.

In the re-run Kent second string Sam Woods took a purler on the last bend of the third lap which handed the hosts a 5-0 heat advantage which moved them seven points up with the scores at 18-11.

Heats 6 and 7 did provide some good action for a healthy sized crowd, the initial start of the sixth race was delayed as Adam Roynon came out to take a rider replacement ride but was in the wrong helmet colour and was disqualified for missing the two minutes time allowance.

The restaging saw the Barrow born battler start off the 15 metre handicap and provide some great action first getting passed Royals reserve Chris Watts on the opening lap coming out of bend two and then chasing after Kent heat leader Ben Morley, eventually passing him off the fourth bend in lap 3.

And in Heat 7 home heat leader Henry Atkins went clear but Kent’s Danno Verge was pushed all the way by the ever-improving Arran Butcher and Butcher nearly pipped Verge as they made the dash for the line.

There was also brief respite for The Royals in Heats 10 and 11, in Heat 10 Oxford were on a commanding maximum heat advantage when Jody Scott came to a halt on the last bend which allowed Kent pairing Danno Verge and Connor King through for a share of the points.

The eleventh race saw Kent get their second and final heat advantage of the match, Lee Complin battled his way to the front ahead of Henry Atkins and Sam Woods got the better of Kai Ward to give Kent a 4-2 heat advantage.

Kent managed to pinch a further shared Heat 13, Jenkins and Complin renewed their rivalry from earlier in the meeting in another brief scrap for the lead and again the Oxford man got the win on his way to paid 18-point maximum, Complin and Morley packed the minor places.

So, it was a disappointing match to round off the first season under promoter Si Kellow, which at times has resembled an episode of Casualty.

With no fewer than six of the Royals injured at one time or another during the season, either missing periods through injury or being withdrawn from meetings. There will be one final home fixture for The Royals riders and fans to bid farewell to the 2022 season.

Of the match Si Kellow said “The result doesn’t match the effort the team put in, from getting Sam Woods onto the start in heat 1, to Lee giving Ben a bike when a circlip disintegrated. I am very proud of what we have achieved this season, and look forward to the 2023 campaign”

Oxford Chargers
J. Jenkins 2’ 3 3 3 3 3 17+1
Rider Replacement for Nathan Stoneman
A Roynon 3 3 2’ 3 3 14+1
J. Scott FX 2’ 2’ 0 2’ 6+3
H Atkins 3 3 3 2 0 2’ 13+1
A Butcher 0 1 2’ 2’ 3 8+2
K Ward 1 1 0 2
Kent Royals

L. Complin 1 X 3 2 FX 6
S. Woods 0 FX 1 1 2
D Verge 2 2 2 1 7
C. King 1’ 0 1’ 1 3+2
B. Morley 2 1 1 1’ 1 6+1
C Watts 2’ 0 0 0 2
S Woolley 3 FX 0 0 3
Heat Details

  1. Atkins, Jenkins, Complin, Woods 60.38 (5-1)
  2. Woolley, Watts, Ward, Butcher (fell rem) 65.25 (6-6)
  3. Roynon, Verge, King, Scott (FX) 60.88 (9-9)
  4. (re-run) Atkins, Morley, Ward, Woolley (FX) 60.69 (13-11)
  5. (re-run – AWD) Roynon, Scott, Complin (exc), Woods (FX) (18-11)
  6. Jenkins, Roynon, Morley, Watts 60.00 (23-12)
  7. Atkins, Verge, Butcher, King 60.82 (27-14)
  8. Jenkins, Butcher, Woods, Woolley 61.13 (32-15)
  9. Roynon, Scott, Morley, Watts 61.22 (37-16)
  10. Jenkins, Verge, King, Scott 61.30 (40-19)
  11. Complin, Atkins, Woods, Ward 61.50 (42-23)
  12. Roynon, Butcher, Verge, Watts 61.81 (47-24)
  13. Jenkins, Complin, Morley, Atkins 61.31 (50-27)
  14. Butcher, Scott, King, Woolley, 62.69 (55-28)
  15. (re-run) Jenkins, Atkins, Morley, Complin (FX) 60.91 (60-29)