Picture courtesy of Steve Dixon
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By Derek Barclay
The Kent SLYDE Kings sailed their way to victory last night (Monday 9th July) in the home Travel Plus Tours National League fixture against the Isle of Wight Warriors. The home side ran out 57-33 winners on an evening when they recorded no last places throughout the 15 heats on an evening where every rider played their part.
Luke Bowen once again topped the scorechart with 13 points, Nathan Stoneman managed paid 12 in the heat leader berth, but it was in the second string and reserve places where the match was really won. The trio of Taylor Hampshire, Anders Rowe and Alex Spooner each won their races against their opposition counterparts in heats 2, 8 and 14. A mention for William O'Keefe as well as he scored in each of his 4 rides.
The meeting started with former Kent rider Ben Morley taking the chequered flag to share the opening race, before Kent took the lead with a 4-2 heat advantage with a tapes to flag win from Alex Spooner over Isle of Wight reserve Connor King. It was a lead that the home side were never to relinquish and was moved to a 4 point lead when the home pairing of Nathan Stoneman and Anders Rowe were split by another former Kent rider Danno Verge.
A run of three consecutive shared heats kept the gap to four points after six races before an eventful Heat 7. In the first staging Danno Verge came down in a tight first corner. The referee adjudged there was no sufficient contact and Verge was excluded from the re-run which was won by Jack Thomas and with O'Keefe picking up the third place point it stretched the home sides lead to 6 at 24-18.
This started a run of dominance from the Kings who added another 8 points onto the lead in the next three races, started by Taylor Hampshire and Alex Spooner finishing either side of Verge in Heat 8. This was followed by Nathan Stoneman getting the better of previously unbeaten Alfie Bowtell with Rowe comfortably holding third for a second successive 4-2 heat advantage. In Heat 10 Luke Bowen and Taylor Hampshire recorded the first of two 5-1's for Kent, however behind them the Isle of Wight duo of Campos and Verge seemed to be having a scrap over who would take the third place point. This battle was won by Campos.
There was another shared heat in Heat 11 with Morley making it a hat-trick of wins from his opening three rides. However Heat 12 saw a moment that brought the loudest cheer of the night so far, Stoneman gated but his young team mate Spooner found a run around the dirt to hit the front down the backstraight to join Stoneman for Kent's second 5-1 of the meeting to open up and 18 point lead.
Heat 13 was a race that was worth the admission money alone, Alfie Bowtell gated ahead of Luke Bowen, who then hunted him down and passed him down the backstraight on the last lap, and then on the run to the line Jack Thomas got round the outside of Morley, to turn what looked like a 4-2 to the visitors into a 4-2 for the hosts. There was another 4-2 in heat 14 before a dramatic final race in which Luke Bowen led from Morley until the visiting captain suffered engine problems, and was passed by his team mate Bowtell and Nathan Stoneman.
The victory moves Kent onto 13 points in the Travel Plus Tours National League, next up for the Kings is a visit to Stoke on Saturday (14/7) in the rearranged Knock-Out Cup fixture which Kent currently hold a 22 point lead from the first leg. Then The Potters visit Central Park next Monday (16/7) in the TPTNL clash that was postponed last week (2/7) due to the travel problems.
L Bowen 2 2 3 3 3 13
T Hampshire 1' 1' 3 2' 7+3
N Stoneman 3 2 3 2' 1 10+1
A Rowe 1 1' 1 3 6+1
J Thomas 2 3 2 1 8
W O'Keefe 1 1 1' 1 4+1
A Spooner 3 1' 1 3 8+1
Isle Of Wight
B Morley 3 3 3 0 0 9
S Campos 0 2 1 1 4
D Verge 2 FX 2 0 2 6
A Bowtell 3 3 2 2 2 12
S Tedham R 0 0 0 0 0
C King 2 0 F 0 F 0 2
1: Morley, Bowen, Hampshire, Tedham (ret) 58.2 (3-3)
2: Spooner, King, O'Keefe, Tedham 61.7 (7-5)
3: (re-run) Stoneman, Verge, Rowe, Campos 61.4 (11-7)
4: Bowtell, Thomas, Spooner, King 60.4 (14-10)
5: Morley, Stoneman, Rowe, King (f) 60.8 (17-13)
6: Bowtell, Bowen, Hampshire, Tedham 60.1 (20-16)
7: (re-run) Thomas, Campos, O'Keefe, Verge (FX) 60.3 (24-18)
8: Hampshire, Verge, Spooner, King 61.6 (28-20)
9: Stoneman, Bowtell, Rowe, Tedham 61.2 (32-22)
10: Bowen, Hampshire, Campos, Verge 59.9 (37-23)
11: Morley, Thomas, O'Keefe (f/rem) King (f) 59.7 (40-26)
12: Spooner, Stoneman, Campos, Tedham 63.2 (45-27)
13: Bowen, Bowtell, Thomas, Morley 60.5 (49-29)
14: (re-run) Rowe, Verge, O'Keefe, King 62.6 (53-31)
15: Bowen, Bowtell, Stoneman, Morley 60.3 (57-33)