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Kent Kings lose 43-23 to Glasgow Tigers in British Championship opener; Eastbourne Eagles' visit to Central Park this week in KOC is postponed

Kent Kings lost their Championship opener in Glasgow and face further frustration as a second successive home speedway meeting is postponed.

The Sittingbourne team were hoping to return to action at Central Park this Tuesday, after 19 months without a meeting at their home circuit, but for the second week running the wet weather has led to a postponement.

The Kent Kings team for the 2021 season - they hope to begin home campaign this week
The Kent Kings team for the 2021 season - they hope to begin home campaign this week

Covid-19 denied them any second tier action last year and the rain wiped out their home opener last week but finally the Kings roared into action on Friday night, beaten 43-23 in a meeting abalone after heat 11 because of rain and impaired visibility.

The Kings had been rocked on the eve of the meeting at Ashfield by news that returning second string Paul Hurry had withdrawn due to suffering the side effects from his Covid-19 vaccine.

In the very first race, Kings’ debutant Tom Bacon was holding off former British Champion and SGP rider Craig Cook for a third place point, when he picked up drive on the last bend of the last lap, lifting and coming down hard on his side. It was the last action Bacon was to see on the night as he withdrew from the with a collar bone injury.

The early part of the meeting was close fought but the Tigers had opened the lead to six points after four heats. That was reduced to four in heat five when captain Scott Nicholls took a tape to flag victory in a new track record time – eclipsing the mark set by the homesters’ USA international Ricky Wells the race before.

That really was as good as it got for the Kings though, as the on-song home riders reeled off a run of five consecutive heat advantages.

In heat nine TouchTec Kings’ manager Chris Hunt threw his big guns in to try and claw the deficit back. However, it was to backfire in spectacular fashion. Firstly Scott Nicholls suffered mechanical gremlins and Cameron Heeps went down, picking himself up to claim the third place point.

Persistent rain meant heat 11 was the final one and after both captains consulted with the referee and it was agreed to call an early halt to proceedings.

Kings were hoping to face local rivals Eastbourne Eagles in the first round first leg tie of the Championship knockout cup on Tuesday at Central Park.

But like last week, the meeting is off. Torrential rain has made it impossible for the organisers to stage the meeting, which has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 6.

The first home meeting will now be on Bank Holiday Monday, May 31, for the National League match between Kent Royals - the club's second team - and Eastbourne Seagulls. Kent Kings' next Championship fixture is in Plymouth on Tuesday, June 1 and their first meeting at home will now be on Tuesday, June 8, for the visit of Glasgow.

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