Reading have been one of the dominant forces, in the National Basketball League Division One, over the last few seasons and have once again put together a talented roster that will undoubtedly be challenging for honours at the business end of this campaign. Meanwhile, Bradford find themselves starting the year uncomfortably near to the relegation zone and in desperate need of some wins.
The Rockets took first blood, with Ben Allison sinking the first shot of the game. However, this was quickly annulled by a Jason Swaine three-pointer and within the first couple of minutes the Dragons had opened up a 7-2 lead. Despite Reading pulling the scores closer, the home side managed to keep their noses ahead until the final minute of the opening quarter, when some slack passing and poor defending allowed the visitors to take an eight-point lead (19-27) into the first scheduled break.
However, the Dragons were unable to prevent their guests from increasing the lead to fifteen points and, despite a late push by the home side, it was still a ten-point ball game at the half time buzzer, with Bradford on the wrong end of a 37-47 score line.
Following the interval, both teams pretty much cancelled one another out for the most part of the third quarter, However, reminiscent of the opening period, Bradford stepped off the gas in the final 90 seconds of the quarter, allowing Reading to further increase the gap. The penultimate quarter finished with the visitors holding a commanding seventeen-point lead, 51-68.
It took Bradford until three minutes into the final quarter to add to their score, by which time the Rockets had opened up an unassailable twenty-five point lead and the game was effectively over as a contest. The Dragons did however manage to close the gap to a more respectable seventeen points, at the close of play. However, there was no doubt that Reading were well deserving of their victory, with the final scores standing at 71-88.
For the Dragons, Nick Moore was once again the top scorer, picking up twenty-four points towards Bradford’s total. Adria Rodriguez Vinas added fourteen points and Ricky Fetske ten points. Allison contributed a massive thirty-four points for the visitors, with an impressive seventy-five percent shot conversion.
Dragons’ head coach, Chris Mellor said, after the game, “We made too many mistakes with the ball in our hands. Twenty-three points against us from turnovers is just not going to give us a chance of winning against a team with their level of talent.”
The Dragons now move down one position in the league table, following Westminster Warriors victory over bottom team Tees Valley Mohawks, and they will now be keen to pick up a victory when Hemel Storm visit the Dragons’ Den next Saturday (6:15pm).
The scheduled National Cup Quarter Final game at Westminster Warriors was postponed on Sunday and will now take place on Sunday 17th January.
In other news, Dragons under 18’s took a heavy defeat, 84-57, away at Doncaster Danum Eagles on Saturday, whilst the under 14’s also took a hammering, 70-54 at York Eagles.
All photographs © ALEX DANIEL PHOTOGRAPHY