Bradford Dragons’ visited table topping Hemel Storm on Saturday evening and pulled off an amazing second-half comeback to take the win, 67-77. However, the following day, last seasons league and cup double winners, Team Northumbria, strolled into the Dragons’ Den and left with the points following a convincing 59-87 victory.
The first score of the game went in the Dragons’ favour, with Oliver Hylands sinking his jump shot, for two points. But, it wasn’t long before the hosts struck back and got themselves ahead through a Tom Adorian free throw, followed up with a brace of three-pointers from AJ Roberts and although Bradford managed to tie the scores, they were unable to stop the Storm from pulling back ahead. With eight minutes played the home side were nine points clear (19-10). However, a couple of lay-ups from the Dragons’ big American, Ricky Fetske, limited the damage to only five points at the end of the first period (19-14).
As the game closed, the Dragons had claimed an incredible, but well-deserved victory, 67-77, subjecting the early season pace setters to only their second defeat.
Sulcs headed the Bradford scorers with 18 points, also taking 12 rebounds to record a double-double. Swaine capped another assured performance with 16 points whilst Gooding came from the bench to add 13 points to the winning tally. For Hemel, Roberts picked up the game high, with 25 points.
The following day, the frailties of the Bradford roster were beginning to show, with Hylands unable to play following the previous days head injury, forcing Saipe to return to the Dragons’ bench, despite him clearly not being in good health. In comparison, the visitors to the Den, Team Northumbria boasted a stacked bench, having one of the largest rosters in the division.
The home side were never really in the race, as the visitors swept all four quarters, ultimately resulting in a convincing 59-87 away victory.
Gooding headed the Dragons scorers, picking up 16 points, whilst fellow American, Fetske, recorded a personal double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Taco Bell Player of the Game, Laing, contributed ten points to the Dragons’ total, as did Latvian, Sulcs.
Northumbria’s Malcolm Smith took the game high, with 24 points, whilst Blayne Freckleton also contributed 19 points for the match winners.
A reflective Chris Mellor, commented on the weekends action, saying, “At Hemel, we weren’t great in the first half but, after the break, I thought that we were very good defensively and everybody contributed in different ways to help us get the win.
“Against Northumbria, we started badly, and we just didn’t match our energy and effort from the night before. Being fifteen down at the half, we needed a decent start to the third, but it got away from us early. We played a poor game, whilst they (Team Northumbria) played well.”
The following weekends scheduled fixture has been postponed, due to Manchester Magic’s continued involvement in the National Cup. However, this game will now be replaced with a home fixture against Reading Rockets (9th December, 6:15pm). Any tickets that have already been purchased for the Manchester game will be automatically transferred to the Reading fixture.
Around the club, the under 14’s were narrowly beaten, 50-56, by City of Leeds Black. Harris Manson scored 14 points for Bradford and Rory Hopson also contributed in double figures with 12 points.
The under 16’s had no league fixture, however they travelled to Mandela Warriors for a friendly game, in which the Dragons took a narrow, 44-45, victory.