Saturday 14 July, 2018
STOKE suffered a heavy 37-51 defeat against Kent in the second leg of the KO Cup at Loomer Road on Saturday night. Concluding 107-71 in favour of the Kings, Stoke have consequently exited the tournament.

The A. R Richards Potters got off to a bad start when they slid to 6-point deficit in the first two heats. Mechanical gremlins troubled local lad Joe Alcock in heat two as he failed to make the first 2-minute warning where he subsequently went off 15-metres in the re-run. Whilst Luke Whitehead notched his first home National League point for the Potters, it wasn’t enough to stop the Kings duo Alex Spooner and William O’Keefe from achieving maximum points.
Heat 3 saw Stoke on a 5-1 heat advantage until Anders Rowe and Taylor Hampshire successfully passed Adam Extance to split the Potters pair. Extance then crashed out in heat 5 and withdrew from the meeting as Taylor Hampshire went around him to claim a vital third spot.
The bad luck didn’t stop there as more injuries plagued the Potters. Fans’ favourite Alcock came off in heat 7 and Luke Whitehead fell in heat 8 resulting in both reserves to withdraw from the rest of the meeting.
Potters duo Max Clegg and Rob Shuttleworth raced to two comfortable 5-1s to decrease the overall deficit to 14-points on the night.
Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey said: “I am very disappointed that we have lost both legs of the Knock Out Cup but given the circumstances it was inevitable as we lost both reserves during the course of the meeting as well as Adam Extance.
“Taking those three situations into account it’s quite remarkable that we did as well as we did and I give credit to the lads who gave us 5-1s in heat 13 and 15 to add respectability to the score.
“Adam suffered a degree of discomfort which was a meeting ending injury and Joe was suffering from a shoulder injury which I’m waiting to hear the assessment on that from the hospital.
“Luke did very well for his first National League meeting for Stoke and he battled hard showing a degree of effort. But unfortunately, he sustained a hand injury. We will certainly be watching his progress fitness wise with a view to giving him another opportunity.
“If it wasn’t for these injuries we would have been taking a full team to Kent on Monday. I’ve now got a list of names that I’m going to study and have a look at their individual records to see what I can come up with.”

STOKE 37: Max Clegg 13+1, Rob Shuttleworth 11+1, Tony Atkin 9, Paul Burnett 3, Luke Whitehead 1, Adam Extance 0, Joe Alcock 0.

KENT 51: Luke Bowen 11+1, Anders Rowe 10+1, Taylor Hampshire 10+1, Nathan Stoneman 10, Alex Spooner 8+2, William O’Keefe 2+1.
Kent win 107-71 on aggregate

Report: Lynn Statham