The Dragons travelled to Leicester having already beaten their hosts in all three of their previous meetings this season and knowing that one more victory against the Warriors would secure them their first ever appearance in a major final.
The Dragons started the game with true Yorkshire grit and determination and, with the score at 15-26 going into the first break, it certainly looked odds on that the 100% record would be maintained.
However, Leicester turned things around in the second quarter and by the time the teams entered the locker rooms, for the half time interval, Bradford were on the wrong side of a two point deficit, 43-41.
J.P. Davis top scored for the Dragons with 17 points, Rihards Sulcs adding 16 points and Jason Swaine 14 points.
Dragons’ head-coach, Chris Mellor admitted that his team were “just not good enough over the 40 minutes” and that they “were second best on the day.”
Leicester Warriors will now face Manchester Magic, who beat Derby Trailblazers 99-76 in the other semi-final game, in the National Trophy Final, which will be played in Leeds on February 21st.
The previous evening Bradford had travelled up the A1 to Newcastle to face division one opponents Team Northumbria. This was the third meeting between the two teams this season, with them having taken one victory each from the previous two.
Bradford led by three points at the end of the first quarter, increasing this to four by the half way point of the game. However, the game was lost in the third period, when the Tynesiders opened up an eight point advantage of their own.
The travelling Dragons couldn’t recover the deficit and at the end of the game the hosts were ten point victors, at 88-78.
Davis took his regular position at the top of the Dragons scoring statistics with 25 points, whilst Rihards Sulcs bagged a further 13 points and John Bantock netted 11 points.
Mellor said, “We played a good first half, but as the game progressed their size hurt us near the basket and having three starters fouling out didn’t help out cause.”
Elsewhere for the Dragons, the under 18’s also suffered back to back defeats, at home to QE York Knights, 62-91, on Thursday evening and away at local rivals, Leeds Force, 105-74, on Sunday afternoon.
The under 16’s were also beaten at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Junior Saints, 98-80. However, the under 14’s produced the one bright moment of an otherwise miserable weekend for the Dragons, overwhelming the York Eagles, 114-28, at the Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College.