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Kent Kings beat Belle Vue Colts to reach their first National League play-off final

ByKentOnline reporter

Kent Kings are through to their first-ever National League play-off grand final after beating Belle Vue in the Central Park rain on Monday night.

It's rare for any speedway meeting to take place in persistent rain but the show went on as Kent overturned a four-point deficit from the first leg of their semi-final, winning 53-36 to go through 96-83 on aggregate.

Kent Kings captain Rob Ledwith
Kent Kings captain Rob Ledwith

Kent boss Chris Hunt said: "It was a fantastic performance by all seven riders out there tonight.

"We’re through to our first play-off final and we’re are going all out to win.

“We’ve built our team from the start for this – and we've done the business in both legs.

“Let’s be clear about this, Belle Vue are a really good team – and fair play to them for carrying on and putting up a real fight because the conditions out there were far from ideal."

Veteran captain Rob Ledwith rose to the occasion, top-scoring with a paid 14 and only denied a first career maximum when he tumbled in the nominated riders heat.

Ledwith said: "I had a good one tonight. I was making good starts and I find that my starting is always helped when a track surface is damp.

"As a starting area dries up my starts sometimes get a bit fluffy but let’s be honest, one heck of a lot of rain fell tonight and nothing was going to dry up out there."

Anders Rowe, left, helped Kent reach the play-off grand final Picture: Geoff Young
Anders Rowe, left, helped Kent reach the play-off grand final Picture: Geoff Young

Kings wiped out their first-leg deficit in the opening heat when Jordan Jenkins and newly reinstalled No.1 Anders Rowe (9+1) stormed to a 5-1.

The match looked in doubt as rain worsened between heats seven and eight and the Belle Vue management expressed concerns about carrying on.

But Dan Gilkes (11+1) proved conditions were still fine with a heat nine masterclass, partnered by Ledwith, as another 5-1 put Kings in charge.

Belle Vue seemed on the point of conceding but, to their credit, hit back with four heat winners in the final six races.

An unlikely comeback was still possible when on course for a 5-1 in heat 13 but Rowe muscled in to clinch Kent's victory.

Kent will face Leicester Lions in the play-off final.

The first leg takes place at Central Park on Monday (6.30pm) with a date for the return to be confirmed.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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