NOW IT STARTS TO GET TOUGH!

The future of the Division One trophy rests in the hands of the top three sides – Trojans, Griffins and Hawks who play each other in the next few weeks.
Griffins had to overcome a bruising encounter with Tamworth Tigers as Trojans had it much easier against Warwick China Red as the games featuring Aylesford, Leamington Coventry College and Trojans 2 were all called off.
Battle-weary China Red (PICTURED) play their third game this week when they go to Stratford tonight as Ernesford Eagles entertain JM Grizzlies who won against China Red on Wednesday.
Tile Hill Trojans 3 made victory number four for their season with a win over Team Rebels who had defeated Nuneaton Predators earlier in the week. Westwood Rhinos found the going tough when they hosted Rugby Rage who kept their unbeaten record going in style.

YOUNG TIGERS GET READY TO ROAR…..
Back in the day, Tamworth Tigers were strongly featured in every competition run by Warwickshire Basketball. They then slipped off our radar but came back a few years ago under different management. Now, as part of the regeneration of basketball in the town Tamworth, Tigers are involved in the launch of THE GRASSROOTS BASKETBALL ACADEMY this Sunday. Tigers have really established themselves back in Division One this season and are clearly looking to the future by trying to attract youngsters to our great sport.

The Grassroots Academy launches at 12noon at Landau Forte Academy – see details in the picture opposite, but for further enquiries please contact 07985 737011 or 07825 082559.
On behalf of Warwickshire Basketball THE BEAR FACTS wish Tamworth and Tigers every success with their new venture.

DURREL FOSTERS AN INTERNATIONAL CALL-UP…..
Our congratulations go to Durrel Foster (pictured) a Finham Park student and Coventry Elite Under 16 player who has made the Welsh Under 15 squad of players, invited to turn out for their Country in a tournament in Sweden in May.
According to Coach Marcus Garvey, Durrel has made great improvements this season and will hopefully make the team for the European championship later on in the season.

YOUR HELP NEEDED FOR CHARITY EVENT …..
Ian Pursglove is trying to raise money for this great cause by inviting you to donate directly to his fundraising page as he attempts to complete one of his athletic feats. If you were to consider just 10p a mile that would be be £20 towards a great cause – 200 miles in on a bike?
Please feel free to share with those you work with and help Ian to raise even more. You can donate at.- https://www.justgiving.com/Ian-Pursglove
Just Giving sends your donation straight to Care of Police Survivors and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more.

GREAT DISCOUNTS AT POWERLEAGUE – WOODLANDS
Dec Connolly has told us that for all of our Clubs’ players, athletes, gymnasts, parents or associates, POWERLEAGUE are offering memberships for just £9.99/month, with no joining fee. This includes full access to the fitness suite and all classes in the Studio!
If anyone would like to take up this offer, they will need to speak to Ruben Costa by calling 02476 856870 or emailing ruben.costa@powerleague.co.uk.
Please reference ‘Woodlands Club Offer’ when enquiring.

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.

TIGERS ROAR INTO CUP FINAL!

Tamworth Tigers are heading for the Handicap Cup final following their victory over Coventry College, where they will meet Tile Hill Trojans 1 after their win against Leamington Spartans.
Tigers brushed aside College in their semi-final at Rawlett after a sensational start saw them add 17 to their 20-15 handicap without College troubling the scorers. The visitors then recovered but the damage was done and Tigers go in search of cup glory following their promotion last season.

Westwood Rhinos secured victory in their Round Robin game at Nuneaton Predators 1, pulling back a ten point handicap in Jack Ford’s final match before leaving for a spell of duty in the Falklands, and Grizzlies had to climb back from twenty down as they hosted Team Rebels at The Bridge. Grizzlies managed to get their noses in front at the end of the third quarter before Rebels resistance collapsed. Eagles meet Trojans 3 tonight – Friday.

COMMITTEE MEETING NEXT WEEK…..
There is a meeting of the Executive Committee of Warwickshire Basketball next TUESDAY 5th March at The Citrus Hotel Ryton-on-Dunsmore starting at 7pm. Final plans for the remainder of the season will be among the items to be discussed along with confirmation of the Annual General Meeting date and venue.

WALKING BASKETBALL BACK AGAIN THIS WEEKEND!

Walking Basketball is taking off in a big way Fortnightly meetings are run by Trojans in Coventry and the next one is this coming Sunday 3rd March at Woodlands starting at the earlier time of 9am and going through to 10.30.

The cost is £5 per person and all are welcome.
If you fancy trying it out – AND GETTING A SWEAT ON – contact Mike Maddox (details on Contacts page).

TORNADOES’ COACHING COURSE COMING SOON…..
Coventry Tornadoes are advertising a Level 1 Coaching Course on Saturdays13th April and 11th May. The sessions take place at Woodlands Academy and will run from 9am to 5pm on both dates. The cost is £125 and is being organised by Sport Structures who can give more information by contacting them on 0121 455 8270 – education@sportstructures.com

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.

HAWKS FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS!

The tension is mounting as the hunt for points goes on and Aylesford Hawks fired themselves back into contention with two wins in four days, thanks largely to the scoring abilities of Ricky Fennell and Matt Glover.
Hawks have lost three times so far and are chasing unbeaten leaders Tile Hill Trojans 1 and Arden Griffins who have just one reversal. These two meet at Hereward College on Monday and an away victory would throw the title race wide open.
Meanwhile, Trojans 1 made life equally as difficult for JM Grizzlies as Hawks did at Warwick China Red. Leamington Spartans left Trojans 2 on their backs at Hereward College and Coventry College had to call off their trip to Tamworth on Wednesday night due to logistical problems. After last week’s fixture at Bilton, Ernesford Eagles return home to Grace Academy tonight where they entertain Stratford.
In Division Two Rugby Rage are still unbeaten at the top but lost Matt Berry in last Friday’s win over Team Rebels after he broke a bone in his right hand. Rebels had a bad week, going down at home to Westwood Rhinos too.

Friday 15th February

LEVEL 2 COACHING COURSE…..
Warwickshire Hawks are running a Level 2 Basketball England Coaching Course next spring at their Moreton Morrell home and aspiring coaches can get the qualification completed by enrolling onto it.

Warwickshire Basketball needs more qualified coaches in our leagues and this presents a great opportunity for all.

For further information contact Alex Birch details on the poster or e mail – alexbirch07@yahoo.co.uk

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.

TORNADOES QUIT WARWICKSHIRE LEAGUE – BOMBSHELL!

Coventry Tornadoes’ players are reeling following the notice issued to them by owner Paul Adams informing them that he has quit the Warwickshire Basketball League with immediate effect!
“Tall Paul” (pictured) sent out the notice earlier this week saying that he could not continue to run the side and cited lack of commitment, payment issues and shortage of players.
He said how sorry he was to have come to this decision and would be happy to support players if any of them wished to transfer to other clubs. This posed a problem to The Executive Committee for the deadline for transfers and registration passed last week but it was decided at on Wednesday that any players wishing to move to another club may receive special dispensation and should contact Warwickshire Basketball for approval. Paul is also looking to bounce back next season stronger and better equipped
THE BEAR FACTS understands that the remainder of Tornadoes’ operation will continue as normal…………….Under league rule 3g Tornadoes’ results to date have been deleted.

DEADLINE DAY TRANSFERS…
Following the demise of the Coventry Tornadoes men’s team several players have already been given permission to transfer to other clubs. They are:
Michael Junior Stokes from Tornadoes to Cracovia Stratford
Sam Perry-Huggins from Tornadoes to Team Rebels
David Olah from Tornadoes to Team Rebels
In addition Radhouen Foudhaili has registered to play for Leamington Spartans and Suliaman Charley has been registered for Ernesford Eagles.

HANDICAP CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW…
THE DRAW FOR THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE BOB CASTLEDINE MEMORIAL HANDICAP CUP SEES LEAMINGTON SPARTANS TRAVEL TO TILE HILL 1 AND TAMWORTH TIGERS HOSTING COVENTRY COLLEGE. (More details next week)

SPARTANS STUN HOLDERS!

Leamington Spartans stunned the Bob Castledine Handicap Cup holders Arden Griffins by knocking them out!
There were no shocks at Hereward College though as Trojans 1 eased through against Tornadoes, followed by their second team who fell short against fancied Tamworth Tigers,
Coventry College were 20 points too good Cracovia Stratford meaning that the semi-finalists are Tile Hill 1, Leamington, Coventry College and Tamworth.
In the Challenge Cup, Nuneaton 1 were also giant-killers as they edged out Warwick China Red by a single point to go one up in their round-robin event. JM Grizzlies were in form at Nuneaton 2 with the final tie of the week taking place tonight at Rugby where Ernesford Eagles are the guests.

COMMITTEE MEETING NEXT WEEK….
There is a meeting of the Executive Committee on Wednesday 6th February starting at 7pm. It takes place as usual at The Citrus Hotel, Ryton-on-Dunsmore.

WARWICKSHIRE HAWKS – SEASON BEST PERFORMANCE…..
Warwickshire Hawks were impressive as they defeated City of Birmingham Rockets at Moreton Morrell to go level on points at the top of National League Division Four with three other sides including Rockets who have lost their last three games.
It was a tough uncompromising affair with neither side able to establish any sizeable advantage, but a superb second-quarter spell of defensive play restricted Rockets to just nine points as Hawks took a 29-26 half-time lead.
After the break it was all things even as Ash Dickson led Hawks home on 18 and Curtis Hadley chipped in with 17.
Hawks were without the injured Mark Larner and had two others nursing strains and sprains by the end.

 

TRABLIKS FIRES RUGBY TO NINTH WIN

Former All-star Guntars Trabliks rolled back the years as Division Two leaders Rugby Rage, despite fielding an under-strength team, managed to grab all three points against Westwood Rhinos.
Rage were without three starters and their coach but began with aplomb at The XCEL Centre, racing into a 17-8 lead as their hosts floundered, and they had increased this to 34-18 when Rhinos finally managed to get their act together, reducing the deficit to ten just inside the second half. Trabliks and company stemmed the flow, but Rhinos, with Mike Kearsley in fine form came back again to within five this time at 44-39 before the pair hit stalemate as they countered each other. Holding onto their lead Rage kept their cool but Rhinos kept pegging away as the final minute arrived, then the buzzer halted their charge as they went down 69-61 with Trabliks making 32 for Rage and Kearsley 26 for Rhinos.
The other game in the second division saw Tile Hill Trojans 3 chalk up a rare win and it was second-placed Team Rebels on the receiving end as veteran Trevor Robinson landed 32 points in his side’s 69-50 success.

Trojans first team marched on at the top of Division One and, despite being short of players and their usual high standards, they overcame Ernesford Eagles 72-42 in a match which lacked sparkle, particularly in the second quarter which Eagles won. It was Trojans’ second-half performance which saw them home as they powered from 39-30 to 70-37 with Austin Dickson and Scott Owen dropping in seven three-pointers between them as they supported the game’s top scorer Ash Dickson who made 23.

Arden Griffins experienced few problems as they kept up the pressure at the top with a 93-51 win over JM Grizzlies. Griffins hurtled to 34-16 in a free-flowing fixture at St Peter’s School, and brushed aside their visitors challenge as they coasted home, led by Sam Workman on 25 and Luke Hatfield who made 23.

It was a similar story at Coventry College where leading scorer Vaidas Cerkunovas was back in form with 42 points in College’s 98-54 win over Coventry Tornadoes. Tamworth Tigers had to work for their victory though, as Trojans 2 held them at bay for three of the four periods. It was then that coach Darren Mortiboy brought his star player back from the bench and left it to Lukasz Bolda to run riot in the final quarter. This saw Tigers home 73-58 and Bolda finished with 31 points as Ben Linnett countered for Trojans with four triples in his 16.

Aylesford Hawks found dual match-winners in the form of Matt Glover (30 points) and Ricky Fennell (29) as they took maximum points from Cracovia Stratford, despite another fine 28 points coming from Stratford’s Jamie Summers. Hawks shot into a 30-10 lead and never looked back as they eased to an 88-69 win. Warwick China Red made it two from two as they added the scalp of Leamington Spartans to their tally with a 62-45 success at Newbold Comyn. It was once again the opening quarter which proved Spartans’ undoing as China red went fourteen up and were never caught.