Category: Press Report

TROJANS COMPLETE TROPHY HUNT IN STYLE

Tile Hill Trojans added two more trophies to their impressive cabinet as both the Club’s first team and their ladies completed their quest for silverware.

Having dominated the first division for the entire season, Trojans had to make sure they did not slip up when they met Leamington Spartans, and they duly obliged with a superb 95-52 victory which means that Arden Griffins, who are the only side to beat them all season cannot now catch them. Trojans have completed a hat-trick of league titles, and for player/coach Trevor Robinson, it is his eleventh championship win, with him he fully deserving of his place in the Warwickshire Basketball Hall of Fame into which he was inducted a couple of years ago. Robinson has restricted his playing time at the local league’s highest level this season and spends much of his time on the bench, but in turning out for the Club’s thirds he has added his own tenacity to the veteran side’s playing and is top scorer for them on a regular basis. Instead, he has directed his senior team to a cup and league double and will be aiming to make it even better next season.

Against Spartans, Trojans were never going to be out-done, holding the aces in all departments, but the league’s newest side gave their all and were competitive throughout the game in which their hosts scored more or less two to one over the entire playing time. Back to the top of the scoring list was Ash Dickson who landed 23 points, and Trojans, who had a virtual full-strength side, eased to victory, made more emphatic with a 13-2 final three minutes as they knew, by then the trophy was going to stay at the Hereward College-based Club.

Trojans’ ladies (pictured) were in action in the Leicestershire League play-offs. They take part in this central-venue competition only because there are few opportunities for competitive play in this area, and after travelling over throughout the season, they lost in the first round of the tournament but won through to the final of the Plate competition and lifted the trophy at the Leicester Riders’ Arena with an hard-earned 56-38 win over Leicester Warriors, with Jana Bambuchova also taking the Most valuable Player award.

AUSTIN’S RARE VINTAGE WINS CUP FOR TROJANS

Tamworth Tigers 88-98 Tile Hill Trojans
Tile Hill Trojans bounced back to their impressive best to lift the Bob Castledine Handicap Cup for the first time with a 98-88 victory over Tamworth Tigers.

And it was largely thanks to their youngest player, Austin Dickson that the Coventry side travelled home from The Rawlett Academy with the trophy, as he turned in a vintage performance from the start and finished as the game’s top scorer as Trojans hauled their way back from a thirty point handicap. Dickson usually takes second place in the scoring charts behind his elder brother Ashley, but when he rose to sink two three-pointers in the first minute, it felt as if this might be his day. Following up with a collection of successes from all around the court, Dickson hit a match total of 26 points, ably supported by Mark Larner who grabbed 25 and Ashley, who completed the family’s evening with 22 as Dad Andy, the Trojans Chairman was celebrating his birthday and was beaming as the brothers gave him a super present and ran the show from the off.

It was much to the delight too, of their player/coach Trevor Robinson who said afterwards, “With 30 points to make up at the start of the game, I told the team we had to play hard defense and if we let our offense be quick and decisive, we would prevail. I am very proud of young Austin and the rest of the team with the effort they put in during this cup run.”

Tigers were in buoyant mood at the start and fancied their chances with their handicap start, but after the early shock of seeing their advantage dwindle to fifteen insdie the first quarter, Coach Darren Mortiboy was switching his players around with regularity to try to keep fresh legs on the court as Trojans pressed them. Fouls were flying about and the intensity grew as Tigers stemmed the flow up to half-time when they were still ahead, now by sixteen points.

But it all went right for the visitors as Trojans harried their hosts and Ash Dickson came into the picture in a big way. He landed ten points inside three minutes to send Tigers reeling and the gap closed to three. A counter period saw Tamworth stem the flow, but when Dickson the younger struck two more triples, the game was up.

High-scoring Lukasz Bolda was shackled, fouled out early in the final quarter and with him went his side’s last hope of grabbing the silverware. Trojans took full advantage and then the lead with seven minutes remaining, and, despite a brief recovery from the tiring home side, went on the move confidently away to their ten-point winning margin.

Robinson and company must now focus on the one league victory they need to complete a memorable double, but on this form they will be licking their lips as they welcome Leamington Spartans to Hereward College next week before their final game at Stratford in early May.

Scorers: Tamworth Bolda 15, Evans 11, Harriot 10, Mee-Harris 9, Somers 7, Davies 4, Irving 2.

Trojans: Austin Dickson 26, Larner 25, Ash Dickson 22, Robinson 10, Owen 8, Onions 5, Hernandez 2

ROBINSON RAGES AS 100% RECORD GOES

Tile Hill Trojans’ player/coach Trevor Robinson was fuming as his side slipped to a 68-76 defeat against rivals Arden Griffins.

But Robinson’s rantings were tempered by the fact that his team can only be caught if they lose the final two games of their campaign. Griffins Coach Jack Forrest on the other hand, was left ruing their opening-week defeat at the hands of Cracovia Stratford making their task that much more difficult as they tried gamely to unseat the reigning Champions.

If ever there can have been, this was a game of two halves as Griffins saw almost every shot penetrate the Trojans’ hoop during the opening two periods, while at the other end, nothing went right for the usually self-assured Coventry side. Arden raced into an massive 50-22 lead by the interval, but probably for the first time this season they had to rely on the shooting ability of Luke Hatfield and Sam Workman, as the league’s record-setting three-point shooter Paul Roberts was shackled by the defensive power of Alex Hernandez and restricted to just one point. By half-time the pair had contributed to over half Griffins’ total, and they came out for the second half in similar mood when, with the words of Robinson still ringing in their ears, Trojans suddenly found the target.

Baskets rained in with the opposite ring seemingly covered in cling-film and the gap began to reduce. The twenty-eight point difference was down by ten as Robinson brought his own brand of physicality onto the court and it made all the difference as Griffins wilted. Before the end of the third quarter, the margin was fifteen and Trojans knew that if they continued like this they could take the game.

Workman brought brief respite with a brace but the game then turned on an altercation between Trojans’ Scott Owen and the match officials. The 6’7” centre had landed three more baskets when he complained once too often and picked up his second technical foul which sent him out of the game with the score now 63-67. Owen continued to rage as he left the arena and collected another technical foul which raised the temperature once again but seemed to ignite the Arden offense and bring a halt to the intensity of Trojans’ play. Try as he may, Robinson could not lift this side again and Griffins cashed in from the free-throw line to thwart their rivals and take the points.

Hatfield finished with 25 and Workman 22 with Ash Dickson taking his match total to 23 on the back of a 15 point second half for Trojans who now face Tamworth Tigers in this week’s Handicap cup final as they try for the double.

Elsewhere in Division One there were wins for Aylesford Hawks who eased past Tamworth 90-75 on the back of a devastating second quarter in which Wayne Jones hit 21 points before finishing on 29, and Stratford, who disposed of the challenge of Leamington Spartans early in the piece to run out 72-50 winners. JM Grizzlies had a good second-half to break the resistance of Trojans 2 as they raced from 27-27 to win 78-41 and Ernesford Eagles had a 20-0 default over Coventry college who had to cry off their fixture late on

GRIFFINS RIP INTO SPARTANS TO AVOID CUP REPEAT

Arden Griffins remain the only team who can stop Tile Hill Trojans from winning their sixth title in eight years and took no chances when they tore Leamington Spartans apart at St. Peter’s. Griffins’ captain Jack Forrest (pictured) said “We slipped up by underestimating them in the Handicap cup and as a result we went out of the competition so this time we were sure we would not make the same mistake again.” And this is exactly how it worked out as Griffins were immense in offensive play whilst being intense at the other end, restricting Spartans to just 27 points in a game which saw leading three-point scorer Paul Roberts adding another six to his already superb total for the season.
Roberts is now heading for an unprecedented hundred triples and seems to rise from nowhere to land his shots with apparent ease. Arden powered to the front and led 22-7 after the initial quarter with five already in the bank from outside the arc, and when they added another four after the restart, the record books looked to be in danger. But things quietened down as the game wore on, griffins going on to win 88-27 with Roberts and fellow hot-shot Luke Hatfield both on 18 points, behind Sam Workman’s 24.

Trojans meanwhile gave Tamworth Tigers something to think about as the pair prepare to go head-to-head in the cup final in a week’s time. Admittedly things will be different then as Tigers will probably get a sizeable start but to give an indication as to the power in the Coventry side’s squad, they were without four regulars and still went home with a 90-57 win under their belts, led by Mark Larner and Ash Dickson who equally shared 38 points.

Aylesford Hawks put their game against Ernesford Eagles to bed with a good second-half showing after Eagles had threatened to upset the applecart early on. The final quarter belonged almost exclusively to Ricky Fennell as he accounted for 21 of Hawks’ 28 points as they took complete control and coasted home, the Aylesford marksman hitting a match total of 39 points.

Cracovia Stratford had to work hard before finally overcoming the challenge of JM Grizzlies as the Warwick side looked capable of pulling off a surprise away win. As things turned out, Stratford used their three-point shooting ability in the final quarter to surge from 49-48 to 62-50 and that was that.

Rugby Rage are on the brink of a perfect season and they racked up yet another win in Division Two. This time their victims were Team Rebels who were taken down 78-50, and Rage are only three games away from achieving their aim for the season as promotion beckons. Rebels’ tale of woe continued when they played host to Westwood Rhinos and, in a very low-scoring match Rhinos won 36-29 and Nuneaton Predators almost grabbed a sensational win against Tile Hill Trojans 3 at Hereward College before the home side’s inside power took them through 60-58 with Trevor Robinson snatching 25 for Trojans and Zoheb Deen 23 for the unlucky visitors.

HAWKS BACK ON WINNING TRAIL

HAWKS BACK ON WINNING TRAIL

Aylesford Hawks sprang back to winning form after their home defeat by Tile Hill Trojans and the victory brought some relief as they hammered Coventry College 90-50

Admittedly College were without leading scorer Vaidas Cerkunovas for the trip to Moreton Morrell but Hawks were in dominant mood right from the first tip. Ricky Fennell landed a three-pointer in the opening minute to set the tone and this gave him and Hawks a lift as they went on to win all four quarters of the game as College fell away. Fennell hit 40 including six triples, but the final period of the match belonged almost exclusively to Hawks play-maker Maarten de Jonge who came from nowhere to hit the scoring button and grab 14 of his 18 match total during eight electric minutes. Coventry’s six-man squad had no answer to Hawks ferocious offensive play, although they could have done better had they landed a better return than 4 from 16 attempts from the free-throw line. Going, but not gone at 35-50 College were hanging in mid-way through the third quarter when Hawks hit them for six – well, fifteen to be precise and that closed the door on the visiting outfit and pushed the target too far away. Matt Glover chipped in with nineteen to add a gloss to his colleagues’ efforts and only Ikwunna Ukwu gave the scorer much to do as he grabbed 26 for College.

Tile Hill Trojans 3 had a mixed week as they took the points from Nuneaton Predators in the Division Two basement battle then became the twelfth victim of the season for unbeaten leaders Rugby Rage at Hereward College. Trojans unearthed a new star at Nuneaton as Davide Nicolini dominated the boards alongside Trevor Robinson and Mike Buckley, the Italian dropping in a season high 25 points to lead Trojans home as Robinson and Buckley both hit 19. Predators were without their mentor Lloyd Taylor, but their shooting at the Jubilee Centre was on song and they were led by Zoheb Deen who scored and impressive 28 points.

The Trojans versus Rugby game also doubled as a challenge cup-tie due to fixture congestion and as they bowed out of the handicap competition Westwood Rhinos moved onwards and into the semi-finals. Rhinos took on first division Warwick China Red and received a 25 point start, needing most of them to get over the line against the fast and furious play of the Warwick University students who tried desperately to reduce the deficit. A storming third quarter brought them into contention as they moved to within eight of their hosts who then reciprocated with a final period of control with Dale Kearsley driving them home.

Westwood and Rugby will be joined in the semi-finals by JM Grizzlies and best runner-up Nuneaton Predators 2 who were awarded their game 20-0 when team rebels failed to arrive at their own home match, and the draw for these fixtures will be made next week.

EAGLES SOAR – BUT LEAVE IT TOO LATE!

Arden Griffins lingering hopes of a second title almost came unstuck when they scraped past a resurgent Ernesford Eagles 74-66.

Whilst Tile Hill Trojans 1 have the top spot virtually wrapped up, Griffins are probably the only side who can upset the Coventry club’s aspirations, and their game against Eagles should have been a formality. But Ernesford produced a late challenge and Griffins heaved a sigh of relief that there were not another couple of minutes play when the buzzer signalled the end of an exciting game which the Solihull side had dominated for long periods. Leading 66-48 with eight minutes left, Griffins offense suddenly dried up and Eagles pounced to come back to within eight when the end came.

It was another night of triumph though for Arden’s three-point hot-shots Luke Hatfield and Paul Roberts, who bagged thirteen between them with Roberts netting ten of them for a thirty point match haul as Mauro Goncalves led for Eagles with 17.

Trojans march towards more honours continued as they brushed aside the challenge of Aylesford Hawks who were completely out of form at Moreton Morrell with Trojans winning all four quarters on their way to a 74-54 victory. The usual sublime performance of Ricky Fennell was noticeably absent as the Hawks’ sharpshooter scored just seven points and he fouled out early in the final quarter to deprive Coach Jim Martin of any hopes of a come-back. Trojans, on the other hand were ebullient as Ash Dickson grabbed 21 points and Scott Owen iced the cake in the last few seconds with a couple of long-range triples.

Tamworth Tigers pounced on JM Grizzlies at Rawlett School to land an 82-45 win after a lightening start saw Tigers race into a 34-16 lead. Defences dominated the second quarter and from then, it turned into the Lukasz Bolda show and the Tiger hit 17 of the next 22 points to seal a fine victory before ending the game on 28.

Coventry College had a terrific shooting evening at Tile Hill Trojans 2 as Vaidas Cerkunovas excelled once again with 32 points as a Trojans side, weakened by injury and work commitments struggled. Once College had taken the lead after trailing 9-4 there was no stopping them and a deluge of points in the third quarter took the game from 45-37 to 64-39 and that was that.

In Division Two leaders Rugby had no game but there were wins for Westwood Rhinos and Team Rebels who gained revenge at Trojans 3 for their defeat seven days earlier. The Hereward visitors were much stronger than their previous trip to the College and were in control until Trojans hit ten between them inside two minutes to bring the scores to 49-55, before Rebels had the last laugh. Rhinos were too good for Nuneaton Predators and took the first and last quarters to land a 60-46 win with James Todd sparkling on 24 as Rhinos consolidated their second spot.

TROJANS AND HAWKS STILL ON THE RISE – RUGBY STILL UNBEATEN

Two local derbies brought positive results for the high-flyers in Division One as the pressure mounts at the top.

Tile Hill Trojans 1 beat their second string with the utmost of ease, with Trojans 2 having their evening ruined as three of their squad cried off with work calls, and the two potential replacements from the Third team were both nursing nasty finger injuries. But the remaining seven turned out and had the temerity to go ahead in what was a sluggish start by both teams. However, once the league leaders managed to get going they tore into their seconds and led 39-10 just after the initial quarter had finished, going on to pressure their colleagues, steal or intercept passes and race to the other end to cash in. Leading the way was Mark Larner who took the ball time and again from inside his own half before driving through to land some sublime points for the Firsts. He went on to record 27 with Austin Dickson adding 15 and 12 coming from Seconds’ Bhuwan Limbu as his side floundered.

Despite being short on their team-bench Hawks proved too good for plucky JM Grizzlies who were once both part of the oldest club in the Warwickshire Basketball League. Grizzlies were planning to spend a season in Division Two but went up as part of a league reorganisation and have struggled throughout the season. They came good against their former parent club though and led 18-17 after the first period. Hawks edged ahead in the second, which brought little for the scorer to inscribe, and as the game moved into the second-half scoring was still something of a rarity. Hawks the initiative though to lead 51-36, when Harry Adaway brought Grizzlies offensive play to life. He added three three-pointers to make it six in the game and as Grizzlies reduced the margin to ten, but it was too little too late for what would have been a sensational ending. Ricky Fennell led Hawks with 26, one more than Calvin Moore while Adaway’s 24 was some consolation for Grizzlies.

Arden Griffins faced a proverbial “banana-skin” at Coventry College until the final quarter when Sam Workman broke the College hearts with some sublime shooting which spearheaded a Griffins’ burst to take the points. Workman was the star of a 17-3 run inside five minutes to floor the Coventry side and keep alive Griffins’ hopes of landing the title.

Five-man Cracovia Stratford put up a tremendous showing at Tamworth, but despite their heroics, they could not prevent Tigers from chalking up win number eight. It was 51-51 inside the second-half, when Neil Evans suddenly plundered three triples to open it up as the Stratford quintet ran out of steam. Tigers went on to win 90-70 but the bulk of their scoring came in those final fifteen minutes.

In Division Two Rugby Rage continued their unbeaten run with a 78-41 home win over Nuneaton Predators with Guntars Trabliks hitting 21 points, and Mike Kearsley was the star for Westwood Rhinos who whipped Tile Hill Trojans 3 56-27 at Hereward College.

TROJANS EASING TOWARDS FIFTH TITLE

The odds were stacked against Arden Griffins when they lost their home court advantage against the unbeaten league leaders and then found one of their top scorers Luke Hatfield was unavailable for the match, billed by many as a potential title decider.

With St Peter’s College unavailable they travelled to Hereward College, and were instantly buoyed by the news that Trojans were without three of their leading players so the scene was set for a thriller, and all the focus was on this one as it was the only fixture being played during the half-term break.

After the initial exchanges brought very little, Trojans exploded and rattled in 13 points before Griffins responded, but there was no holding Ash Dickson as he converted virtually everything thrown to him and took his side to a 27-13 first-quarter lead. Griffins’ hot-shot Paul Roberts was being shackled by Trojans’ Alex Hernandez Rico and was finding the going tough as the Spaniard prevented him getting many shots away. When the second period began it was once again the home side in control, but suddenly the tide turned as Arden found the target to set Trojans floundering as scoring, that had been easy became difficult and the fight-back was on. Started by Jerry Sanghera and complemented by Sam Workman, Griffins piled on the pressure and brought it back to 41-37 just before half-time when the question around the court was who would be in charge after the break.

Trojans opened well again as Mark Larner came good to glide home some graceful lay-ups. He and Dickson led the offensive line with Austin Dickson and Hernandez Rico providing the defensive tenacity as the tension and physicality mounted. Workman had to leave the court feeling under the weather, then Roberts finally found the net for only the second time, but it was Trojans who asserted themselves once more to take their lead to twenty at 71-51. Sanghera came into the picture again, but this time it was only a token as the men in red kept their cool. At the end, Roberts downed only his second triple, before Ben Okenwa wrapped things up for the home side.

Hopefully, when the two do battle next time, they will both have a full squad, but the victory means that, barring a slip up against one of the other sides in the division – and they have to go to Aylesford yet, the fifth title in seven seasons could be just around the corner.

Scorers:
Trojans – Ash Dickson 29, Larner 20, Okenwa 13, Austin Dickson 8, Hernandez Rico 6, Robinson 6, Bello 0.
Griffins – Sanghera 20, Workman 16, Roberts 13, Forrest 8, Mirza 5, Quinn 2 Samuels 1, Cordon 0.

FLYING HAWKS REJOIN TITLE RACE

Aylesford Hawks soared back into contention for the league title with a brace of victories on the road and now sit in second place behind the unbeaten leaders Tile Hill Trojans 1.

Hawks won both of their games, at Ernesford Eagles and Warwick China Red by thirty points and were in control from the first tip, particularly at Woodlands where Warwick China Red were no match for the five-time Champions, and the league’s oldest Club are desperate to make it six as they celebrate fifty years of local play. They raced into a massive match-winning 30-6 lead to leave the University students gasping, and the pace, set mainly by the flying Ricky Fennell was relentless. It understandably slowed after this initial burst, but China Red had no answer to him and colleagues Matt Glover and Calvin Moore – the trio responsible for 67 of the total which saw Hawks win 77-47.

It was not quite the same at Bilton School where Ernesford, normally hosting at Grace Academy in Coventry were entertaining, and the game proved to be just that. Hawks, for once were pegged back after their quick-fire start and although Eagles could not match them, they gave a good account of themselves, trailing by four just ahead of the first break. But Hawks then took off and flew into an impressive 43-24 lead by half-time with Fennell again the driving force behind their offensive play. It continued after the interval with Aylesford having most things their own way and Fennell, who had slammed 34 against China Red, added a further eight three-pointers on his way to 38 to send Ernesford packing. The action contained twenty-one triples, four of them coming from Eagles’ debutant Suluman Charley to go with the three downed by their top scorer Ben Clarke in his 20 points.

Eagles fared much better when they took on Cracovia Stratford and did everything right – until the last few minutes when they let slip a six-point lead to go down 62-65. Jamie Summers was consistent throughout for Stratford to finish on 32, but no points in the final five minutes cost Eagles an unexpected victory.

Tile Hill Trojans 1 had little trouble at JM Grizzlies where they grabbed a 100-49 win, despite being without their leading scorer Ash Dickson. Instead the honour of leading Trojans offense went to younger brother Austin and he excelled with a superb 34 point haul, 21 coming in the first half when Trojans raced into a 52-30 lead. After the interval they turned it on again to run up a 23-6 quarter and hit the hundred mark with the last scoring shot of the game.

Leamington Spartans consolidated their mid-table position with a hard-earned 63-51 win at Trojans 2. There was little between the pair until the third quarter when Spartans offence clicked and they rattled in a 15-0 burst to seal the game. An even point spread saw Michael O’Neill, Adrian Ungereanu and Claudio Rossi equally sharing 36 and Ben Linnett leading Trojans with 16.

Division Two strugglers Nuneaton and Trojans 3 without a game when their fixture was called off with a cricket net stuck across the Jubilee Centre court. Westwood Rhinos did make it though, and they crushed Team Rebels 50-29.

SPARTANS SPARKLE IN HANDICAP CUP WIN

Leamington Spartans were the toast of the town after knocking the holders and favourites Arden Griffins out of the Handicap Cup.
Spartans were only formed in the summer and applied for Division Two status but in a big shuffle, this division was merged with the top flight, and, after being thrust in with the big boys, they have more than acquitted themselves. But the Handicap Cup is a great leveller and, armed with their thirty point start, they set about preserving their debuting status in the competition against Griffins, who boast two of the league’s leading scorers in Luke Hatfield and Paul Roberts.

Spartans have fielded a full complement of players so far, but were robbed of the services of leader Claudio Rossi in the opening half with an ankle injury, but the rest gave their all for the cause and none more so than Michael O’Neill who calmness personified at the free-throw line at the end to win it for the home side. Griffins set about their task with earnest and pulled back nine before Leamington had troubled the scorer, but once they managed to get going, they stemmed the flow and stopped the “hot-shots” to lead by two additional points at 58-26.

They were clinical from the line, dropping in six from six on the way to a half-time lead at 67-34. Roberts and Hatfield came out bombing in the second-half and they took the game by the scruff of its neck, closing the gap to twelve at 77-65, and setting it all up for a grand finale. But once more Spartans stopped them and Roberts failed to find the target in the last ten minutes as the pressure increased. It was back to two with a minute left, then one as Leamington tried to keep the ball and hang on to a famous win. Then O’Neill was fouled and went to the line with seconds remaining. They both went up and in to give Griffins the ball but now trailing by three, and with a last chance to take it to overtime. They drove, shot, rebounded and tried again but failed to penetrate the hoop and Spartans had won it 90-87.

O’Neill only scored six points but what an important contribution he made, particularly in those dying seconds as Leamington took their place in the semi-finals, leaving Arden to try again – uncharacteristically in the Plate competition.

Tile Hill Trojans 1, conceded forty, but had no trouble in brushing aside Coventry Tornadoes and the league leaders were in total control from the off, pressurising Tornadoes to hit them with a 34-2 opening quarter. Ash Dickson led the charge with 40 himself as Trojans recovered the handicap and took the lead on the stroke of half-time at 59-57 as Tornadoes floundered. Things got worse for the Hereward visitors who lost Tom Knibbs with a knee injury as Trojans cashed in, with Farouk Bello getting more court-time than usual and repaying coach Robinson with 21 points as Austin Dickson backed up his brother with 19.

Coventry College took apart Cracovia Stratford, pulling back their fifteen point handicap in the first quarter to go ahead and steam away from there to win 92-72 with Vaidas Cerkunovas grabbing 41. Tamworth Tigers make up the semi-finalists following their 75-64 win at Trojans 2. The home side led 20-0 on handicap and Tigers hunted them down with Lukasz Bolda firing them as he made 35 of their points.