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.
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.