Arden Griffins, the nearest challengers to Coventry’s Tile Hill Trojans 1 had to pull out all the stops against Aylesford Hawks before winning 96-79 to maintain their title hopes.
Hawks had skipper Ricky Fennell back in their ranks despite nursing a knee injury which had kept him out for two weeks, and he is hoping that the Christmas break will give it time to recover before the league matches resume. Fennell is key to good performances at Hawks, but the team were certainly no Christmas turkeys as they battled to contain Griffins’ hot-shots Paul Roberts and Luke Hatfield who rattled in nine three-pointers between them as the game ebbed and flowed.
It was 20-19 at the end of the first quarter and 42-44 by the half-time interval. With nothing to choose between them Hawks went two up at the final break before Griffins turned on the taps and scored two to every one of their visitors with the result making the game look a little one-sided. But this was not the case. Griffins’ captain Jack Forrest said afterwards that it was a great game for the neutral and certainly not as comfortable as it looks. Hawks finally ran out of steam and managed just one point in the final two minutes, when Arden were on the charge. Hatfield led with 25 as Roberts added six triples in his 22, with George Pool landing 20 for Hawks.
Meanwhile, leaders Trojans met up with Leamington Spartans for the first time and put their hosts to the sword with a resounding 90-47 win. The league’s newest club struggled from the off as Trojans, with three national league players in their ranks stormed out of the blocks to lead 27-10, and their tough defensive play coupled with an impressive offence took them to 46-19 by half-time. Spartans gave as good as they got in the third quarter before Trojans took the initiative in the last ten minutes to pull away again. Austin Dickson led for the Coventry side with 26 points and Richard Onions made 25 as former Trojan Michael O’Neill led Spartans with 14.
Coventry College finished one short of the hundred against Warwick China Red with Vaidas Cerkunovas starring once again landing 40 of their points. It was a tough ask for the University students to compete with the experienced Coventry side and it showed as the home side won all four quarters, virtually doubling their opponents’ score in each one before going onto land the points 99-49.
Both Coventry Tornadoes and Tamworth Tigers enjoyed home victories, with Tornadoes leaving JM Grizzles languishing at the bottom of the league still searching for their first win. Grizzlies are not being helped by their inability to score free-shots and their 7 from 21 attempts was a poor return as Tornadoes landed two-thirds of their shots to seal a 75-60 win with a flurry of baskets in the last four minutes. Michael Stokes led on 25 with Tom Anderson on 23 and Ashley Dawson headed the Grizzlies’ list with 14.
Rugby Rage head to the Christmas break unbeaten at the top of Division Two and their latest victim were Nuneaton Predators who were no match for their guests, as were Westwood Rhinos who fell to Team Rebels 48-70.