Warwickshire Basketball League Champions Tile Hill Trojans 1 were unseated as they faced their title rivals Arden Griffins in a foul-ridden opening game of the new season.
Whilst it is too early to see whether or not it will once again be a two-horse race as per last season’s campaign, the odds are that both sides will be fighting it out in the home straight along with Aylesford Hawks possibly the dark-horses in a potential photo-finish. Hawks opened their campaign with a convincing win over newly-promoted Rugby Rage, with a stunning performance from the returning Joel de Lara Bond who showed his side the way with 30 points in a game which Hawks dominated throughout as George Pool added 18.
Tamworth Tigers were quick out of the blocks against Trojans 2 who recovered from a wretched start to get to within seven at the close, despite being 24 down inside the second-half. But the real drama took place at Hereward College where Trojans sprinted into an early lead as Griffins struggled to penetrate the Tile Hill hoop, but the visitors switched their defensive play and Trojans began to force shots. Paul Roberts who hit just under a hundred three-pointers last season was on form again and landed four in the first half as Trojans stumbled and Griffins went in with a 46-36 lead. Some harsh words from player/coach Trevor Robinson seemed to galvanise the home side who hauled it back to 45-48, but then they took the wrong course and Griffins cantered away to lead 63-47 with just one quarter remaining. Scott Owen tried desperately to rally the Reds and they took heed of his drive to get back to 61-69, but just when they needed it, everything caved in for Trojans who lost Ash Dickson and top-scorer Mark Larner as the fouls mounted up, then Austin Dickson rolled an ankle to add to their misery. Griffins saw their opportunity and grabbed it to head off once more and the margin, which had at one time been down to a short-head, ended up with several lengths between the two as the race for the line ended with Griffins on the romp at 77-68. Luke Hatfield (pictured) put in 20 points and Roberts 19 for Griffins with Larner on 17 and Owen 15 for the beaten favourites who now have to remount and go for glory in the remainder of a long season.
In Division Two there were wins for Nuneaton Predators 1 and Trojans 3 who were six down with two minutes of their game against Nuneaton 2 before a flurry of fouls gave them the chance of victory which they took amidst smiles of relief. Coventry Tornadoes, re-entered the league after falling apart mid-way through last term had a scare at Westwood Rhinos where they led by thirteen going into the final quarter, before Rhinos made a super-charge and took a two-point lead thanks to man-of-the-match Jack Ford, but Michael Stokes sealed things for Tornadoes from the foul-line in the last minute in a breath-taking finish.