IT’S AS YOU WERE AT THE TOP!

 

The leading lights in the first division carried on where they left off with victories for Tile Hill Trojans 1, Aylesford Hawks and Coventry College.
Arden Griffins’ frustration continued with their home game against Ernesford Eagles called off, as was the other fixture between Warwick china Red and Tamworth Tigers, whilst Tile Hill Trojans 2 made it three from three as they won at Coventry Tornadoes.
In Division Two Team Rebels continued their good form with a ten point win over Nuneaton, whilst leaders Rugby Rage were hosting Tile Hill Trojans 3 on Friday night at Harris School.

The draw was made on Wednesday night for the first round of this season’s Handicap Cup competitions. Aylesford have declined to enter so, excluding them, the top eight sides in the Christmas league table go into the Bob Castledine Cup with the remaining teams joining those from Division Two plus the addition of Nuneaton Predators 2 making up the other tournament.
The full draw is as follows:

Bob Castledine Memorial Cup

Tile Hill Trojans 1 v Coventry Tornadoes
Coventry College v Cracovia Stratford
Tile Hill Trojans 2 v Tamworth Tigers
Leamington Spartans v Arden Griffins
The four winning sides will contest the semi-finals with the four losing teams playing in the Plate competition semi-finals.

Division Two Handicap Cup

Pool A Ernesford Eagles, Rugby Rage, Tile Hill Trojans 3
Pool B JM Grizzlies, Team Rebels, Nuneaton Predators 2
Pool C Warwick China Red, Nuneaton Predators 1, Westwood Rhinos
Each team plays the other members of its pool with the three pool winners plus the best runner-up going through to the semi-finals.
The two sides with the poorest record will play off for a place in the Plate semi-final with the winner of that game joining the other three teams.
All fixtures to be confirmed by Ian Pursglove.

HERE WE GO AS WE LAUNCH INTO 2019!

Everyone at Warwickshire Basketball extends their wishes to you and your family for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.
We are straight back into the action next week with a hatful of fixtures and a second-half of the season to whet the appetite as the Handicap Cup competitions are launched. So, we hope you had a great time and took advantage of the few days off to get fit for the New Year’s basketball – Warwickshire style!

A table-officiating course is being planned for mid-January and Warwickshire Basketball needs to get a list together of all potential applicants.
If you have members or colleagues who are interested enough to assist your club AND themselves by taking the course contact Niki Cross who is our organizer…………… niki.cross@warwickshirebasketball.co.uk

There is a meeting of the Executive Committee at The Citrus Hotel Ryton-on-Dunsmore starting at 7.00pm on Wednesday 9th January. The draw for the First round of the Warwickshire Basketball Handicap cup competitions will be made/confirmed at this meeting.

SEASON’S GREETINGS TO ALL BASKETBALLERS!

With no games scheduled now until January the Warwickshire Basketball office is closing down, so we take this opportunity to wish you a well-deserved Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
Our next bulletin will be on Friday 4th January when we will list the first games in the 2019 league programme and don’t forget you can get all the information you need on the Warwickshire Basketball website which will be regularly up-dated.
HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY!

TABLE COURSE COMING SOON

A table-officiating course is being planned for mid-January and Warwickshire Basketball needs to get a list together of all potential applicants.
If you have members or colleagues who are interested enough to assist your club AND themselves by taking the course contact Niki Cross who is our organizer…………… nikicross@sky.com

LATE LATE SHOW FROM GRIFFINS!

Arden Griffins at last made it onto their home court after a spate of postponed games and they came from behind late on to beat Aylesford Hawks.
Tile Hill Trojans 1 lead the way though with an unbeaten run after they demolished Leamington Spartans. There was a second successive win for Trojans 2, against Cracovia Stratford who had only five players available. Ernesford Eagles headed to Tamworth where the home side were superior throughout, and Tornadoes were too good for JM Grizzles as Coventry College maintained their good form against Warwick China Red.
Division Two saw Rugby fall two short of a century at Nuneaton and Westwood crash at home to Team Rebels

GRIFFINS LEAVE IT LATE BUT GRAB POINTS

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.

HAWKS SINK CLAWS INTO TIGERS TO TAKE POINTS

Tamworth Tigers almost pulled off one of their best wins for many a year but were
beaten 65-61 by Aylesford Hawks in a gripping contest at The Rawlett Centre.
The Warwick side are on a good run with just one defeat so far in their 50th campaign, but they
have been robbed of the services of their leading scorer Ricky Fennell who has a serious knee
injury. They also travelled to Tamworth with some players arriving late due to motorway
congestion, and took on the improving Tigers who are certainly earning their stripes since their
promotion to Division One. And it was the home side who dominated the early stages, racing into
a 23-11 lead as Hawks struggled to find their range.
They did eventually get going and had reduced the deficit to one at 25-24 by half-time before
Tigers roared away with four three-pointers in the third quarter. Back came the Hawks who were
now beginning to fly but their play became a little ragged as a flurry of fouls gave Tigers freeshooting
opportunities from the line. However, the home side were flagging and had their own
problems with leader Lukasz Bolda in foul trouble.
He departed with his full allocation of five just inside the final quarter, when Hawks found their
match-winner in George Pool who brought groans of admiration from the Tigers’ bench with a
quartet of triples himself to put Hawks two up. Man of the match Calvin Moore pushed one
through the hoop to ease Hawks ahead inside the last minute and they hung on the take home
three more precious points with Moore leading on 22 and Pool adding 21 whilst it could have been
so different if Bolda, who led Tigers on 28 had stayed around a little longer.
One unwanted record was bound to go as Tile Hill Trojans 2 finally manage break their losing
sequence when they hosted also winless JM Grizzles from Warwick. Trojans had doubled their
opponents’ total at 32-16 before half-time and after a poor third quarter from both sides, Grizzlies
looked as if they could upset the apple cart as they closed to 46-43, but Trojans hit the next three
baskets and that was that. former Grizzlies junior Ben Linnett sparkled with 19 points for Trojans
with Ricky Kular hitting a purple patch in the middle to lead Grizzlies total on 9.
Coventry College were held by Ernesford Eagles for a while, but the league’s leading scorer Vaidas
Cerkunovas put paid to any thoughts Eagles had of landing the points as he added another 38 to
his impressive season’s tally as College took it 73-57, despite 24 from Ben Clarke at the other end.
The showdown between Arden and Trojans 1 was called off when the Griffins’ court was made
unavailable at St Peters, so Trojans 3 took advantage by having veteran Trevor Robinson available
for their home game against Westwood Rhinos in Division Two. Trojans won 54-49 as Robinson
chipped in 15 points, but was bettered by Mike Buckley’s 16, this being matched by Rhinos’ James
Todd as Rhinos just fell short after a good fight-back in the final quarter.

SECONDS AWAY – BUT THEY LOSE ON POINTS!

With their first team unbeaten and topping the league Tile Hill Trojans 2 were hoping they could get onto the victory trail themselves when they travelled the short distance to Woodlands, but Warwick China Red had other ideas.

The match was played, as usual with China Red, at a fast and furious pace, but the students from Warwick University had to fight all the way before coming from behind to beat Trojans’ seconds 64-56, a win which they did not look like achieving as the game entered the final quarter.

It had been nail-biting all through, but Trojans had sneaked ahead to lead 44-39 and they looked to be in control as China Red floundered. But it all turned in two minutes as the home side’s shots began to drop and suddenly it was the visitors’ turn to panic as they now trailed 44-51. Egis Baliunas pulled them back with a strong inside game but their hosts went again and desperation crept into the Tile Hill play. But they made it four points down with three minutes left and it was game on once more, but that was where Warwick China Red found that the net was in receiving mode and they saw themselves home with a late flurry.

Baliunas hit 18 for Trojans as Nolan and Zhuang shared 30 for China Red who finally got their elusive first win.

JM Grizzles also went in search of their opening victory and almost pulled it off against Cracovia Stratford, before falling 56-58 to their local rivals. Grizzles coach Ian A’Kempis was most unhappy with his side’s second period performance which brought them just three points, and cost them the lead as Stratford took control to move six clear going into the final quarter. Grizzles hit hard to grab the initiative at 52-48 but missed free-shots and a burst of activity at the other end saw Stratford return home with the points.

Tamworth Tigers took their full squad to Tile Hill where Trojans 1 showed their class to thwart the offensive play of their visitors. Coming out of the trap like greyhounds to lead by ten after five minutes, Trojans stalled and were pegged back as Tigers made it 27-21 before their offense was shut out and the home side made a run which brought the interval scores to 40-23. Then it took Trojans almost seven minutes to notch their first points of the third quarter before normality returned to Hereward College and they regained control of the Tiger’s hoop to ease home 68-44.

Arden Griffins visited Leamington for the first time and showed Spartans why they are up there with the best at the top of the division. Griffins won 92-58 with a super show from their leading scorers. Paul Roberts landed another five three-pointers, taking him to over forty for the season and his 23 point haul was well supported by Sam Workman and Luke Hatfield who both grabbed 19, while Michael O’Neill had a good spell to land 12 for the league’s newest club.

HAWKS GROUNDED AS TROJANS SOAR

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.

GRIZZLIES JUST SHORT

A narrow two-point last minute defeat left JM Grizzles still without a win in Division One, after a pulsating game at The Bridge.
Arden Griffins showed Leamington Spartans the art of three-point shooting as they powered in another 12 on the way to defeating their hosts, but early leaders Tamworth Tigers came unstuck at unbeaten Tile Hill Trojans 1. Warwick China Red picked up their first win at the expense of Tile Hill Trojans 2 with the other two games being called off.
Division Two have just one game this week after Westwood cried off their fixture at Rebels. Tile Hill Trojans 3 go to Rugby tonight (Friday) looking to topple the unbeaten league leaders.