Bradford Dragons experienced mixed fortunes at the weekend with a loss at Thames Valley Cavaliers (101-61) in the league on Saturday evening, but bounced back to beat Manchester Magic (91-80) in the third round of the National Cup on Sunday afternoon.
The Dragons travelled to Uxbridge College on Saturday without a win, so far, in the National Basketball League, whilst Thames Valley had also struggled to find their form from the previous two seasons with just win from their opening three matches.
Bradford got off to the worst possible start, shipping the first eight points of the game in the first couple of minutes of play. Clayfell Harris temporarily put a stop to the Thames Valley dominance, scoring a two-point layup, but that was followed by another eight points unanswered for the host team.
Struggling to find their rhythm, the Dragons shipped a massive 35 points in the opening quarter and only managed a meagre ten of their own.
However, having been on the wrong end of a 94 to 50 mauling against the Trailblazers, in the traditional pre season opener, the L Lynch Trophy Group stages, Dragons’ fans could have been forgiven for expecting a similar story to unfold in the Dragons’ Den This time around.
Dragons took first blood when Dave Walsh laid up for two in the opening minute of the game. Derby responded with two baskets of their own only for Zach Gachette to level the game for Bradford. The two sides went basket for basket throughout the opening quarter and Despite the visitors opening five point advantage with two minutes of the period remaining, a Dave Walsh three-pointer followed by a first basket for Olufemi Bright meant that there was nothing to separate them at the first scheduled break [20- 20].
This early opportunity to extract revenge was, in effect, a repeat of last season’s opening fixture, albeit on that occasion the Dragons were on the positive end of a 67- 81 score line. However, subsequently the Newcastle side went on to enjoy a relatively successful first season in the top flight, finishing a very respectable fifth in the league table, six places above Bradford.
The Dragons travelled light, up to the North East, with only three players on the bench. But that didn't stop them from putting the first points on the board, a two point layup by new signing Zach Gachette.
The National Basketball League resumes for a new season this weekend, with the Bradford Dragons facing an away trip to Team Newcastle University in Division One tomorrow evening (6pm start).
But it has not been easy for Bradford to even get to this stage.
It has been quite a turbulent close season for the club, with uncertainty regarding their venue (still not 100 per cent confirmed), finances and, at one point, not knowing whether they would even be in a position to start the season.
The club will once again be running on a shoestring budget and the uncertainty has meant they are now playing catch up with other clubs in the division.
The Dragons have already played three games, in the traditional pre-season curtain raiser – the L Lynch Trophy group stages.
Just like last season, Bradford found themselves in a group with Derby Trailblazers, Team Newcastle University and Myerscough Basketball.
Game one, which took place in mid-September, saw an understrength Dragons side lose 94-50 to Derby, but they ran Newcastle far closer in game two.