League champions Tile Hill Trojans took a big step towards winning The Championship
Shield as Arden Griffins endured a nightmare first half before crashing to a 99-63 firstleg defeat.
With St Peter’s School being closed for the Easter holidays, both legs are being played at Trojans’ Hereward College headquarters, and Griffins will be hoping they perform to a higher standard when the two meet for the return fixture.
Whilst the home side were in devastating form, their visitors had one of those nights when everything, from passing to shooting went wrong, and they were rowing amongst themselves well before the end as they tried desperately to create a “damage-limitation” situation. Trojans, who have been a revelation this season following the return of Ash Dickson, motored into a 26-11 firstquarter lead with Dickson grabbing 16 of these, and when Griffins came back briefly in the second period, he and his fellow Trojans took off to build a massive 64-27 advantage at half-time.
A crisis meeting during the five minute break did little to help beleaguered Griffins as they fell further behind at 76-29, and it was not until the final period that they found their range from the floor to close the gap slightly. By this time, Trojans had become careless and some sloppy passes gave Arden the chance to gain a little respectability before the end.
Dickson closed on 33 with Joel Stephenson on 18, while Sam Workman also hit 18 for Griffins. The return will be somewhat different as both sides will have changes to their line-up and Griffins will have to go for it from the first tip.
With Division One all but wrapped up the chase for honours has centred on the Second Division, where second-placed Coventry Phoenix won comfortably at Warwick Bears winning 76-51. Warwick China Red were outclassed at the hands of Trojans 2 who completed their league season with a 53-35 win.
Henley Hurricanes blotted their copybook when they pulled out of their away game at bottom of Division Three Trojans 3, and as a result, the veterans landed their first league win of the season although not in a manner they would have preferred. Time is of the essence now as the league matches have to wrapped up by the end of the month so a 20-0 default was the only option.
Henley were however, able to travel to Tamworth where they took the points in a dramatic finish which saw Tigers pull back from 13 down with five minutes remaining to take the lead, only to turn the ball over giving Hurricanes the chance they wanted to snatch the win 69-67.
Rebels, who have had to face a player shortage virtually all season, came good against a weakened Westwood Rhinos, and ran out 66-48 winners, but despite this Rhinos finished as runners-up in the Division.