ROYAL Wootton Bassett teenager Anders Rowe claimed the second place that Swindon Sprockets boss Dale Curson required as Kent Kings were edged out 45-44 at the Abbey Stadium on Sunday.

The meeting was the first of two challenge series fixtures to take place between both sides, with Central Park Stadium set to host the Sprockets on Monday, July 1, in the return fixture.

Kings required a last heat 5-1 to scoop a surprise win, but Rowe’s efforts in the concluding race proved enough for the hosts – who were backed by a respectable crowd.

Delighted by his side’s performance, Curson said three successive race advantages in the middle part of the meeting proved critical in his side earning victory by the finest of margins.

And he hopes the entertainment value of Sunday afternoon racing at the Abbey Stadium for £10 can inspire a fresh flock of speedway fans.

He added: “It was a very close meeting, and Kent benefitted from Ben Morley – who really kept the afternoon alive for them.

“All of the lads raced their hearts out, Dan (Thompson) especially raced well. He deserved his Rider of the Night award for some of the overtaking moves that he pulled off.

“He took the wide line and managed to get the job done.

“Danyon (Hume) raced well too, he wasn’t too keen to go from gate two in the final race. But he – like everyone else – was fully committed and put everything on the line.”

Kings seized the meeting’s early initiative by recording 4-2s in two of the opening three heats before Jordan Palin and the inspired Joe Thompson paired up for a Sprockets 5-1 in heat four.

Shared races in heats five and six were followed by the Sprockets’ mid-meeting charge.

Dan Thompson pulled off a jaw-dropping move on Kings’ guest Ben Morley in heat seven to earn the home side their second 5-1 of the night, before a rare 3-2 in heat eight stretched the hosts’ lead to five points.

Rowe’s victory in heat nine added to Kings’ woes, but that race provided Swindon with their final race advantage of the afternoon.

Despite winning all of the meeting’s concluding six heats, Kings could only claw back six points from their seven point deficit as Morley stood out as the visitors’ top rider – winning heats 10, 12 and 15.

Thrills and spills weren’t absent from Sunday’s tie either. Nathan Albitt hit the deck in a tight turn one in heat 11 while Jordan Jenkins and Rob Ledwith also came to grief.

Track conditions held up well though, something that will no doubt encourage Swindon Robins team manager Alun Rossiter ahead of Thursday’s crunch Supporters’ Cup home tie against King’s Lynn.

Curson added: “A couple of riders did mention a bump on bend three.

“But after the first couple of heats it cleared, and the racing was fantastic. There was never more than seven points between the two teams, which was good.

“We’re excited for the away meeting now. We’ve managed to keep the same riders in place.

“When the Sprockets raced in 2017, that wasn’t possible. But all of the riders are committed for the away leg.”