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Kent Kings vow to come back stronger after National League grand final defeat by Leicester Lions Club

The damage had been done as Kent Kings missed out on a first National League title.

It was always going to be a tall order to make up a 28-point deficit after a calamitous play-off grand final first leg at Leicester Lion Cubs.

Kent Kings rider Drew Kemp Picture: Geoff Young
Kent Kings rider Drew Kemp Picture: Geoff Young

Kent gave it everything in Monday's return at Central Park but went down 47-43 on the night, losing 106-74 on aggregate.

Despite the defeat, it's still been their most successful-ever season.

Team boss Chris Hunt said: "The first-leg defeat and the scale of it had left ourselves too much of an uphill struggle and a couple of falls tonight have cost us the second leg too.

"We will have to do it again next year and we intend to come back stronger in 2020.

“At the end of the day with the National Trophy, the Pairs title and first and second in the NL Riders Championship we’ve had a silverware laden campaign and so it’s been a good season."

Kent co-promoter Len Silver said: “Silver isn’t as good as gold – and I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed that we fell just short of our aim of winning the title.

"But second is a lot better than last for sure and I’m proud that all our lads gave all that they’ve got for the cause."

With Leicester the only visiting side to win at Kent in the regular National League season and then repeating the feat in the play-offs, there can be no argument they are deserved champions.

As in the first leg, it was their awesome top pairing of Ellis Perks and Danyon Hume who did the damage.

They delivered seven wins or paid wins between them, including two 5-1s which ultimately saw the visitors take victory on the night as well on aggregate.

Kent captain Rob Ledwith fell while leading the third heat but still recorded three heat wins and was their man of the meeting, top-scoring with 11 points.

Other highlights saw Dan Gilkes and Jordan Jenkins end Hume's long unbeaten run with a 5-1 in heat six, while a bigger cheer was reserved for heat 13 when Drew Kemp beat Perks.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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