Monday 04 June, 2018
STOKE suffered a heavy 56-34 defeat at the hands of Kent in the first leg of this KO Cup tie at Central Park on Monday evening, leaving the Potters a mountain the climb in the second leg.

Things hadn’t started well for the A.R. Richards Potters prior to the meeting with Rob Shuttleworth unable to make the meeting due to work commitments and then skipper Tony Atkin got caught up in delays on the M26 and failed to make the start of the meeting.

The Potters went behind early on as the Kings took the lead with a 4-2 from Alex Spooner and Nick Laurence over guest Josh Embleton after Joe Alcock had been disqualified from the original running of the race when he was leading but picked up drive and went into the safety fence at high speed. Kent extended their lead in the following heat with a 5-1 from Jack Thomas and Taylor Hampshire over Adam Extance after skipper Tony Atkin failed to beat the 2-minutes time allowance resulting in him being disqualified.

Atkin came out in the following heat and promptly took victory over Nathan Stoneman with Embleton third for a Potters 4-2 leaving Kent with a 14-10 lead after four heats.

Kent extended their lead to 10-points with a 4-2 and 5-1 in the next couple of races before a series of drawn heats ensued until the Kings took further advantages with Max Clegg being disqualified for touching the tapes in heat nine resulting in a 5-1 for the home side and a further 4-2 in the following race saw the Kings open up a 38-22 lead after ten heats.

Three successive drawn heats stemmed the tide and kept the deficit to 16-points before the Kings gained a 4-2 in the penultimate heat to extend the home sides lead and the Kings were not finished as they poured more misery onto the Potters with a 5-1 in the final heat to give the home side a 22-point lead going into the second leg at Loomer Road.

Potters co-team manager Adam Isherwood commented “Things conspired against us tonight with Rob (Shuttleworth) not being able to get cover at work and then Tony (Atkin) getting caught up in traffic on route to the meeting and a couple of exclusions with Joe Alcock falling while leading heat two and Max (Clegg) getting disqualified for touching the tapes it just wasn’t our night. It is though half-time in the tie there is fifteen heats to do at Loomer road in the second leg and they could have similar luck and if we have a full team on song it is possible we can turn things around.”

NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 1st round, 1st leg
KENT 56: Jack Thomas 15, Luke Bowen 12+2, Taylor Hampshire 8+2, Anders Rowe 8+1, Nathan Stoneman 8, Alex Spooner 4, Nick Laurence 1.
STOKE 34: Max Clegg 10, Tony Atkin 9, Josh Embleton 6+2, Adam Extance 5+1, Paul Burnett 4+2, Joe Alcock 0, Rob Shuttleworth r/r.