Published: 06:00, 10 June 2021
Kent Kings gave title favourites Glasgow Tigers plenty to think about in their first home match of the season.
Kings held a four-point lead at the halfway mark and while the Tigers ran out 51-39 winners, it was a night to remember as a sell-out Central Park crowd enjoyed their first taste of Championship action.
Skipper Scott Nicholls starred with 19 points, including five heat wins, while his winning time of 56.8sec in heat four was one of the fastest-ever times at the track.
Another new signing, Tom Bacon, made a little bit of history when he became the first home heat winner of the Championship era, taking the chequered flag in the third race.
But the major negative for Kent was a heat two crash which saw boy wonder Dan Gilkes limp out of proceedings, with the youngster sent for an X-ray on damaged toes.
Kent’s victory hopes unravelled when they fell away in heats eight to 11, falling to three maximum reverses, but they were encouraged by their night’s work.
Skipper Nicholls said: “It was always going to be a tough match as Glasgow are most people’s tip to win the title and then we had to cope with R/R for Cameron (Heeps) and losing Dan to injury right at the start.
“So I thought we did really well to hang on in there as long as we did and indeed give the Tigers a fright by pulling away into a handy lead in the first part of the meeting.
“I take positives away for sure as everyone showed signs of what they can deliver on for the team and we are looking forward to taking on Plymouth next Tuesday.”
Of his own performance the seven-times British champion added: “It was the first time I’d seen the track so have to be pretty content at this point with five heat wins.
“It’s always tough on such a scorching hot day to get track preparation right but the track held up and rode well – I’m looking forward to the next home meeting.”