Picture courtesy of Steve Dixon
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By Derek Barclay
21/09/21 Match report: Kent TouchTec Kings 37 -v- Leicester Lions 53 [SGB Championship]
The Leicester Lions were in town on Tuesday (21st September) night but arguably at least as significant visitors to Central Park, blighting the TouchTec Kings’ final home match of the SGB Championship season, were the Gremlins, with significant machinery woes afflicting all three of the hosts’ heat leaders and resulting in a disappointingly heavy defeat.
From the point that the in-form Paul Starke’s bike packed up on the line of heat three, gifting the visitors the first of four maximum heat advantages, the writing was on the wall for the Kings’ previous run of five consecutive home wins. Starke’s bike problems continued when he didn’t even make it as far as the tapes two races later and with such heavy hitters in their ranks as former League Riders’ champion Nick Morris and the legendary Danish World Cup winner Hans Andersen, the East Midlanders didn’t need asking twice to storm into a significant lead – opening up a 12 points lead by just past the half way point of the match.
The star of the opening stanza for the hosts had been the ever-trying teenager Jake Mulford, who showed his potential by giving the former SGP rider Andersen a real race for his money in heat nine.
The following race gave another big Central Park crowd the biggest cause to get warm on an evening when autumn seemed to arrive with a bang – as Troy Batchelor’s brilliant last bend effort to overhaul Kyle Howath for third saw him grab the point on the line. But ahead of that battle, Andersen had held off tactical sub and long time adversary Scott Nicholls and that ended any slight hopes that the TouchTec Kings might be poised to launch another miraculous late recovery.
Heat 13 was this time unlucky for the hosts with Batchelor joining the list of those with sick machinery and the Play Off qualifying Lions had confirmed their roaring success on the night.
There was joy at last in heat 14 with a trademark heat win by Cameron Heeps (for whom 14 must surely be his lucky number) with Man of the Meeting Mulford joining him for the consolationary 5-1. Though the meeting was then summed up in the final race when Nicholls whilst in second and in fervent pursuit of Morris shed a chain and added to the unwanted EF stats.
Next for Kent Speedway, attention shifts from the SGB Championship to the National League with all five home matches in that development division for the Kent Iwade Garage Royals filling the roster from the final week of September throughout October – starting next Tuesday (28th September) with the crucial visit of current NL table toppers, Berwick Bullets.
Kent TouchTec Kings 37
Troy Batchelor 3, 1*, 1*, EF = 5+2
Ben Morley 0, 2, 1 = 3
Paul Starke EF, M, 0, 1* = 1+1
Cameron Heeps 1, 1*, 1, 3, 2 = 8+1
Scott Nicholls 3, 3, 2^, 2, 1, EF = 11
Jake Mulford 2, 2, 0, 0, 2* = 6+1
Dan Gilkes 1*, 0, 0, 2 = 3+1
Leicester Lions 53
Nick Morris 2, 3, 3, 2*, 3 = 13+1
Dan Thompson 1*, 0, 3, 1 = 5+1
Hans Andersen 3, 1*, 3, 3 = 10+1
Kyle Howarth 2*, 2, 0, 1 = 5+1
Ryan Douglas 2, 3, 3, 3, 1 = 12
Joe Thompson 0, 0, 2*, 0 = 2+1
Zaine Kennedy 3, 1*, 2*, FX = 6+2
1 Batchelor, Morris, D. Thompson, Morley EF 62.1 [3-3]
2 Kennedy, Mulford, Gilkes, J. Thompson 61.8 [6-6]
3 Andersen, Howarth, Heeps. Starke (EF 61.1 [7-11]
4 Nicholls, Douglas, Kennedy, Gilkes 60.8 [10-14]
5 Morris, Mulford, Heeps, D. Thompson. Starke (exc. 2 mins) 58.8 [13-17]
6 Douglas, Morley, Batchelor, J. Thompson 59.9 [16-20]
7 (rerun) Nicholls, Howarth, Andersen, Mulford 59.8 [19-22]
8 D. Thompson, Kennedy, Morley, Gilkes 60.8 [20-28]
9 Douglas, J. Thompson, Heeps, Starke 59.4 [21-33]
10 (rerun) Andersen, Nicholls, Batchelor, Howarth 59.3 [24-36]
11 Morris, Nicholls, D. Thompson, Mulford 59.9 [26-40]
12 Andersen, Gilkes, Starke, J. Thompson 59.5 [29-43]
13 (rerun) Douglas, Morris, Nicholls. Batchelor (EF) 59.1 [30-48]
14 (rerun) Heeps, Mulford, Howarth. Kennedy (fell exc.) 60.1 [35-49]
15 Morris, Heeps, Douglas. Nicholls (EF) 59.8 [37-53]