Saturday 23 September, 2017
STOKE lost out to Kent Kings in their second meeting of the day suffering a 47-43 defeat to the Kings at Loomer Road in the Travel Plus National League.

Despite the defeat to Kent the Potters moved off the bottom of the table going above Buxton on race points after the draw against Mildenhall while the Kings missed out on top spot in the play-off places having only taken three of the four points available to them meaning Belle Vue to take top spot.

The A.R. Richards Potters already without Luke Priest who was injured in the first meeting having been taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm then suffered the loss of Lee Dicken after a heat nine fall as George Hunter fell resulting in Dicken then running into the youngster and Taylor Hampshire going over the top of Dicken resulting in Dicken not feeling too good while Hunter suffered a leg injury.

Stoke took the lead with a 4-2 in heat three from Tony Atkin and Paul Burnett before the Kings struck back with a 4-2 from Luke Bowen and former Potter Ben Hopwood to level the scores. Stoke took the lead again with a 5-1 from Davey and Burnett before Anders Rowe and Hunter again hitting back to level the scores for the Kings. In the rerun of heat nine Dicken and Atkin combined for a 5-1 over Taylor Hampshire after Hunter had been excluded but Kent made the decisive move in the next two races as they took two successive maximum 5-1 heat advantages to gain a four-point lead which they maintained throughout the rest of the meeting.

Heat fifteen ended controversially after Potters number one Davey lifted early in the race hampering Luke Bowen. Davey took the victory in the heat from Bowen with Hopwood third for a drawn heat. Davey seemed to apologise to Bowen but the Kent number one seemed to take exception which resulted in ugly scenes at the end of the meeting.

Potters assistant team manager Adam Isherwood commented “I’m totally disappointed with the results tonight points being thrown away. It’s not for the lack of effort the boys tried and we ran out of riders in the second meeting, but I do feel if we’d have run the full 15-heats in the first meeting we may have had a more favourable result as Mildenhall were running out of riders in that meeting having already been using rider replacement and then losing Connor Mountain. In hindsight though a draw was a fair result but we need to stop throwing away silly points and winning on our home track. Losing Luke (Priest) in the first meeting was always going to make things difficult for us against Kent and then to lose Lee Dicken who gave it his all but in the end Lee just could not carry on and losing another rider made it a bridge to far for us.”

Potters number one Mitchell Davey said “We were missing a little bit of set up in the first meeting and started to find it in the second meeting and my starts were not the best tonight either and we have to work on them and a few other things. Important points on the board with the draw but sore with the loss but that’s speedway. Losing Luke Priest and Lee Dicken did not help things in the match against Kent and that is the problem with double-headers at times as it’s hard on the team, funky (Lee Dicken) was trying to battle it out but you have to think of your health in the end and simply could not continue.”

STOKE 43: Mitchell Davey 11, Tony Atkin 9+1, Lee Dicken 8, Paul Burnett 6+2, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+1, Shaun Tedham 3+3, Luke Priest r/r.
KENT 47: Ben Hopwood 12+1, Luke Bowen 11+2, Anders Rowe 9, Taylor Hampshire 8+1, George Hunter 7+1, James Laker 0, Jack Thomas r/r.