The two teams had been locked in a battle against relegation last season, with both narrowly missing the drop, but Westminster nudging the Dragons down into twelfth position in the table, on points difference, on the final day of the 2015/16 campaign.
The Dragons were without Frenchman, Florent Levazeux, who had taken an elbow to the nose during a full-on training session earlier in the week, causing the 6’7” forward to sit the game out.
Bradford started the game at blistering pace, rocketing into a ten-point lead (32-22) at the end of the opening quarter in which the Dragons offence had caused no end of problems for their guests.
Into the third quarter, so often Bradford’s Achilles heel last season, and the home side showed no signs of letting up and put in their highest scoring quarter of the game to extend their lead to 25 points (93-68) at the end of the penultimate period.
With the game all but sewn up, the home team could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas in the final phase of the game. However, there was no slowing down as the team quickly notched up their third ton in eight days and went on to finish out the game with one-hundred and twenty-one points to Westminster’s ninety-three. The Dragons currently boast the most potent offensive record in the division, averaging over one-hundred points per game.
Marcus Gooding and Rihards Sulcs shared the plaudits as Dragons’ high scorers, with 28 points apiece, ably assisted by Ricky Fetske on 17 points, including a couple of show-piece dunks. Jon Jay Johnson scored a game high 38 points for the visitors, whilst Abraham Ekperuoh and Robert Musa Odia bagged 14 points each.
Dragons head coach, Chris Mellor commented, “We moved the ball very well again and couldn’t have played much better offensively. Defensively we weren’t great and the game was too free flowing for my liking but it’s a win and sets us up nicely for a big double header, next weekend.”
Bradford face another league and cup double, next weekend, as Worthing Thunder visit the Dragons’ Den on Saturday evening (6:15pm) followed by another home tie against Lancashire Spinners, who have already visited the Den on two previous occasions in the opening weeks of the season, this time in the National Cup fourth round, on Sunday (4:15pm).
Dragons’ under 18’s defeated Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows, 69-63, at Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College on Sunday, as part of a double header that also saw the under 14’s beat Cheshire Pheonix Juniors II, 90-31. The previous day, the under 16’s had beaten Doncaster Dunum Eagles, 95-65, at the same venue, whilst the under 14’s also took the home win (102-62) against Cheshire Wire White, to make it a 100% winning weekend for the Dragons.
In other Dragons’ news, the board have announced that Deborah Krajniewski has resigned her role as Chair Woman, for personal reasons. Krajniewski will continue in her other role as Division One Team Manager, whilst Club Secretary, Steve Valentine, will step up as acting Chair to the end of the season.
Photographs © ALEX DANIEL PHOTOGRAPHY