It could have been billed “The Clash of the Titans” but the first big game of the season featured Trojans and Hawks with the result going the way of Coventry’s leading side.
Tile Hill Trojans are almost as old as Aylesford Hawks, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and their rivalry has spanned that time with first one, then the other reigning supreme. So, with a build-up which conjured up memories of some of the battles that have taken place over nearly half a century, they lined up at Hereward College, both defending unbeaten records.
There are no draws in basketball so something was going to give and it was not so much blood and thunder, but plenty of thunder as the two went head-to-head from the off. Trojans bossed things initially, racing into a 9-0 lead before Hawks found their range. Then the game came alight as the pair slugged it out. Sitting on a 34-19 advantage it looked good for the home side, but Hawks rallied to get to within six at 56-50 as former Trojans youngster George Poole now showing poise and power took control of the ball and Hawks stemmed the flow at the other end of the court.
Now it was all on the final quarter, but a fifth foul in the first minute put Hawks top scorer Ricky Fennell on the bench, and Matt Glover nursing a sore groin as Trojans seized the moment and cashed in. Richard Onions, having his best game for many a month led the charge as time closed in, and the home side finishing with a 16-4 period which saw the final score reading 78-56. Onions made 24 points with a massive contribution coming at the defensive end, and he was well supported with Ash Dickson’s 20, while beleaguered Hawks had Poole’s 15 at the top of their list.
With Trojans now clear at the top the focus moved to second place and Coventry College took that spot as Arden Griffins had their court closed at short notice. College played host to Trojans 2 and the gulf between them was emphasised in the result, with College taking a 76-49 win. The strong College side opened up a 40-19 lead by half-time and extended this by ten without reply to put the result beyond doubt as Vaidas Cerkunovas led on 27.
Tamworth Tigers have found comfort in Division One with several new recruits coming on board for their first season in the top flight for a long time, and their height, power and overall supremacy showed when they went to JM Grizzles who must be wondering what they have to do to get their first win on the board. Grizzlies were undone in the first quarter as three-pointers rained in at both ends, and Tigers grabbing seven to their hosts’ three to see the half-time score reading 37-30 in favour of the Staffordshire side before a surge in the third period took them clear and on to a 72-57 win.
Victories for Leamington Spartans and Cracovia Stratford saw them move up the table with Coventry Tornadoes and Ernesford Eagles being the respective victims in these two games, while a last minute effort from Iain Maxwell was off-target and that gave the points to Nuneaton Predators in the thrilling game at The Jubilee Centre in Division Two’s only fixture.