Magic have proved to be Bradford’s Achilles heel over recent seasons, with the Dragons not having had a sniff of a win against their red-rose rivals for quite some time. However, with Ricky Fetske returning to the Dragons’ line-up, following a forced two-week absence due to concussion protocol, the underdogs were confident of causing an upset.
But, the home side showed their intent right from the off, racing into an eighteen-point lead before the Dragons had put a single score on the board. In fact, it took four minutes of the game before Dragons’ veteran, Jason Swaine eventually sank the first basket for the travelling Dragons, quickly followed by a three-pointer from Marcus Gooding. Whilst Bradford held their own for the remainder of the opening period, when the buzzer sounded they were on the wrong end of a 28-13 score-line.
Sadly, it was a false hope, as Magic stormed their way back into a sixteen-point lead (66-50) by the end of the penultimate quarter and with the Dragons’ fire well and truly extinguished, the home side further increased their advantage to twenty-five points. The game ended 87-62, giving Manchester passage through to a semi-final fixture against Team Solent Kestrels, whilst the Dragons’ season was over.
With fifteen points, Rihards Sulcs once again topped Bradford’s scorers, with Fetske adding 11 points, whilst Gooding, in what may have been his final game for the Dragons, will have been disappointed with his tally of 8 points.
Bradford’s Head Coach, Chris Mellor, gave his honest opinion after the game, saying, “We got off to a terrible start, but second quarter we played well and got ourselves back in the game again by the half. The third and fourth belonged to them again and it was a disappointing performance to end the season. Credit to Manchester though, they played well.”
The under 16’s, having won their divisional title, fell to a 73-76 home defeat to Derby Trailblazers in their play-off quarter final game.
On their league championship achievement, Junior’s coach, Pawel Bohdziewicz said, “We knew what our goal was, right from the start and we believed that we could achieve it. All credit goes to the boys – not many people realise what a long way they have come to be where they are now. Each and every one of them has improved over the season and they have sacrificed themselves, not knowing what the end result would be. They accepted their roles and played for the team. In the final poart of the season it was clear to see that ‘We’ was above ‘Me’ and each single player deserves this championship title equally. For me as a coach, it has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in the development of these players.”
The Dragons also hosted their inaugural end of season awards event, in which American power forward Ricky Fetske picked up both the coaches player of the year award and the players player of the year award, in the senior’s category.
The full list of award winners is as follows;
Most Improved Player - Radu Anastasia
Most Valuable Player - Finlay Clark-Williams
Most Improved Player - Olufemi Bright
Most Valuable Player - Great Osobor
Most Improved Player - Oakley Hayley
Most Valuable Player - Joe Barrett
Most Improved Player - Stefan Wowczyna
Most Valuable Player - Calum O’Dowd
Most Improved Player - Wayne Mellor
Most Valuable Player - Danny Pullan
Player’s Player of the Year - Ricky Fetske
Coach’s Player of the Year - Ricky Fetske
Photograph copyright Templewood Photography