Gladiators draw in last heat decider

Plymouth Atkins Financial Management Gladiators 45

Kent TouchTec Kings 45

Plymouth fans have endured a frustrating wait to see the new Gladiators line up in Championship action at the Coliseum with the first two home matches rained off, but in total contrast, the track was bathed in glorious sunshine for the clash with the visitors from Kent.

Plymouth were forced into making two changes to the line up with Danny King accepting a late guest booking to replace the injured Jason Crump, who suffered a nasty fall at Wolverhampton the previous day, and Drew Kemp coming in at reserve as a guest for long-term injury victim, Henry Atkins.

After a delayed start to the meeting, to allow the queue of spectators to access the stadium and then to fix an electrical fault, it was the visitors who adapted better to the conditions.

After the opening two heats were drawn, Kent quickly established a ten-point lead by Heat Six with the impressive Tom Bacon and Dan Gilkes both unbeaten at that stage.

Heat Eight proved to be the pivotal moment in the match from Plymouth’s perspective with Australian youngster, Zach Cook securing his first heat win in a Gladiators’ race suit with Drew Kemp following for a 5-1. Kent hit back with a 5-1 of their own but the very impressive Danny King and Cook hit back with another maximum heat advantage.

From then on, it was nip and tuck. A superb Heat 13 saw King and Bjarne Pedersen hold off the very fast Scott Nicholls who was trying all sorts of lines to find his way past.

It still looked as though Kent would take the points when Bacon and Gilkes made the gate in Heat 14, but Gilkes fell on lap two allowing Plymouth to go into the final race only two points behind.

The deciding final race saw King, Pedersen and Nicholls again produce an exhilarating battle with King just holding off Nicholls to secure a 4-2 race advantage for Plymouth and the match ended all square.

Plymouth skipper, Bjarne Pedersen was pleased to secure a draw in the end. ‘It took time for the boys to get dialed into the track tonight’ he said. ‘The track conditions were very different to the ones when we have practiced here in the wet so I’m sure we will get used to it quickly’.

Kent Team Manager, Chris Hunt was disappointed to give up a ten-point lead but took positives from the meeting. ‘All of the team contributed tonight which was pleasing and if you had offered me a draw at the start of the meeting, I would have taken it. We knew Plymouth would come back at us after our great start’ he stated.

For multiple British Champion, Scott Nicholls, it was his first visit to the Plymouth track saying ‘It’s a cool track and I enjoyed riding it but a bit of a change after riding at Belle Vue and Peterborough the day before. We’re a bit disappointed to only get the draw in the end but it was a great meeting for the fans’.

Plymouth Gladiators 45

1. Danny King [G] 3, 2, 3, 2, 2′, 3 15+1
2. Zach Cook 0, 0, 3, 2′ 5+1
3. Steve Goret 0, 0, 1 1
4. Dillon Ruml 2, 1, 0, 2 5
5. Bjarne Pedersen 2, 2, 3, 3, 1 11
6. Alfie Bowtell 1′, 1′, 0, 1′ 3+3
7. Drew Kemp [G] 2, 0, 2′, 1′ 5+2

Kent TouchTec Kings 45

1. Scott Nicholls 2, 3, 2, 1, 2 10
2. Paul Hurry 1′, 2′, 1, 1′ 5+3
3. Paul Starke 1, 0, R, 3 4
4. Tom Bacon 3, 3, 1, 3 10
5. Cameron Heeps 1, 3, 2′, 0, 1′ 7+2
6. Ben Morley 0, 1, 3, R 4
7. Dan Gilkes 3, 3, 0, 0 6

Heat Results

1 King, Nicholls, Hurry, Cook 50.63 [3-3]
2 Gilkes, Kemp, Bowtell, Morley 50.25 [6-6]
3 Bacon, Ruml, Starke, Goret 51.75 [8-10]
4 Gilkes, Pedersen, Heeps, Kemp 51.25 [10-14]
5 Nicholls, Hurry, Ruml, Goret 51.48 [11-19]
6 Heeps, King, Morley, Cook 53.41 [13-23]
7 Bacon, Pedersen, Bowtell, Starke 52.94 [16-26]
8 Cook, Kemp, Hurry, Gilkes 52.44 [21-27]
9 Morley, Heeps, Gomet, Ruml (fell rem.) 51.55 [22-32]
10 King, Cook, Bacon, Starke (fell rem., ret.) 52.25 [27-33]
11 Pedersen, Nicholls, Hurry, Bowtell 51.88 [30-36]
12 (rerun) Starke, King, Kemp, Morley (ret.) 52.75 [33-39]
13 Pedersen, King, Nicholls, Heeps 53.50 [38-40]
14 Bacon, Ruml, Bowtell, Gilkes (fell – rem.) 53.40 [41-43]
15 King, Nicholls, Peders

Championship points: Plymouth 1 Kent 2

Image Credit: Blumonkey Media.