Published: 06:00, 17 May 2021
| Updated: 15:41, 17 May 2021
Fans will be welcomed back to watch elite sporting events this week - here’s what’s taking place in Kent.
From Monday the government’s latest easing of lockdown measures means limited crowds are once again allowed to watch professional live sport - ranging from football, cricket, motorsport and greyhound racing in the county.
From Monday, sports venues can readmit spectators, as the government lockdown exit roadmap moves to step three. Here's some of what you can now watch in the county this week.
Kent’s top non-league football sides have been out of action for some time and although now is the traditional summer break there is still action to be had.
Maidstone United’s senior side haven’t played competitively since February but their development side have been back in action in recent weeks, with live streaming of their matches proving very popular. You can watch the under-23s face K Sports u23s in the Suburban League Shield at Cobdown tonight (Monday, 7.45pm) for £3.50, payable on the gate.
The Southern Counties East Football League was halted at the end of October and some of the teams have got together for a friendly tournament, which kicks off this week.
Chatham Town, Punjab United, Rochester United, Sheppey United and Lordswood are all taking part.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) Sheppey United take on Punjab United while Rochester host Chatham, both kicking off at 7.45pm. Admission costs will be the same at all games, £5 for adults, £1 concessions and free for under-16s. Sheppey are playing their games at Chatham's Maidstone Road while a 3G pitch is being installed at their Holm Park venue.
On Saturday, Chats host Punjab (1.30pm) and Lordswood welcome Sheppey (3pm).
There are Kent County FA finals also taking place this week, with the delayed 2019/20 Intermediate Cup final between Whitstable Town Reserves and Lordswood Reserves taking place at the Belmont Ground on Wednesday night. Kick off is 7.45pm, with tickets between £5-£7 and they must be pre-booked from this site.
There are also a couple of delayed cup finals taking place on Saturday, with the Junior A Cup final between Littlebourne and Greenways Aces (4.30pm) and the Junior C Cup final between TNS United and Selhurst (12.30pm) both at Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium.
Kent take on Glamorgan in the County Championship at the Spitfire Ground from Thursday and will be hoping the return of fans helps to improve their form. They are still awaiting a first win since returning to competitive action, drawing this week’s match at Sussex.
Up to 950 fans are expected to be watching at Canterbury each day for the scheduled four-day match, but it’s a members-only ballot for now.
Members and season ticket holders in priority groups one and two have until 5pm (an extension on the previous deadline) on Monday (today) to claim allocated tickets for group stage matches.
Kent Cricket chief exec Simon Storey said: “After waiting so long to watch some cricket, we don’t want anyone to miss out.”
Brands Hatch will welcome spectators back in this weekend, with a limit of 4,000 visitors per day to the Kent circuit.
The opening round of the British GT Championship (a two-hour endurance race) and the British F3 Championship will be headlining the first event infront of fans this year.
Tickets must be purchased in advance to guarantee admission, with major events expected to reach capacity. Working areas such as the paddock and pit lane will be closed to the general public for all events until further notice.
Among the support events is the Ginetta GT Academy, featuring Deal’s Toby Trice, a driver who uses motorsport to promote the subject of male fertility. You can read more about his cause here.
Tickets for Sunday’s main raceday are priced at £22 for adults and £14 for 13-15 years. Under-13s are admitted free. Saturday’s action, which includes qualifying, Ginetta races and the Classic Sports Car Club Co-ordsport Tin Tops is £18 for adults. There will be a fairground on site all weekend and a supercar display on Sunday. Visit here for tickets.
Kent Kings speedway were gearing up for a historic 2020, ready for a first ever season in the second-tier of the sport. The Covid pandemic meant the full season was wiped out, with the Kings among the clubs unable to compete without fans.
Their eagerly-anticipated first match in the British Championship takes place at Sittingbourne’s Central Park Stadium tomorrow (Tuesday) from 6.30pm. Fans must book in advance and are asked to arrive early, from 5pm.
First visitors to the Kings in the SGB Championship are reigning champions Leicester Lions. It’s a real baptisms of fire for the Kent side as they face an away fixture at Glasgow Tigers on the Friday.
Tickets for the home opener are available by calling 01795 475547 or visiting Central Park Stadium between 10am and 4pm. Prices are £18 for adults, £12 for 13–17 year olds and free for under-12s. Seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Co-promoter Len Silver said: “I want to express our thanks to Swale Council who have been very helpful and keen to see us racing again. Fans will be able to watch Speedway from one of the best appointed stadium grandstands in the country and be able to do so confidently in a Covid-safe environment.”
Crayford Greyhounds Stadium are excited to welcome fans back through their doors and will be back open every Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning, Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday morning and evening, with pre-booking required for all.
Greyhound racing has been able to run safely behind closed doors but bosses at Stadium Way says it “has not been the same” without their guests cheering their canine athletes on. Crayford Stadium has been hosting greyhound racing since 1937 and is home to a number of prestigious events across the racing calendar, including the Golden Jacket.
Peter Broadbridge, stadium manager, said: “We are very much looking forward to being able to welcome our owners and spectators back through our doors next week. Our staff have been working tirelessly to ensure we have everything in place for our guests to enjoy a safe and fun visit to our stadium.”
The stadium is offering a special ‘welcome back’ deal tomorrow night (Tuesday) which will include a three-course meal for £20. All tables will need to be pre-booked by visiting the stadium’s website or by calling 01322 557836. First race on Tuesday is at 6.17pm, including aptly-named Voice of Hope, in trap one.
Racing at Sittingbourne remains behind closed doors during the week, according to their website, but their restaurant is back open for guests on Sunday for a 12-race meeting, with the first at 6.09pm. To book your space call the stadium on 01795 475547. Sunday admission is £20 adults, £10 for 5-17 year-olds and under-5s free, admission includes a two-course roast meal.