The Dragons opening weekend extravaganza had been disrupted by the postponement of Saturday's fixture against London Lions II, due to a minor Covid outbreak amongst the students at the Barking Academy, home of the Lions.
Despite a poor start to the season, the Dragons have been boosted recently by a run of four successive victories, broken only last week by defeat at current league leaders Solent Kestrels, In which a strong Dragons performance pushed the Kestrels all the way.
The Rockets, who are one of the longest established clubs in the English game and regular challengers at the business end of the season had also experienced a mixed start to the current campaign, sitting just two points above their Yorkshire hosts in the league table.
Still smarting from their L Lynch Trophy semi-final defeat, against Newcastle the previous evening, Reading were in mean mood when they arrived in West Yorkshire, taking a quick lead through Lewis Champion. Meshack Lufile then added a single from the line before American Power Forward, Ricky Fetske put the first points on the board for the Dragons.
The Dragons looked dishevelled, facing an uphill battle and in need of a response. And respond they did!
Micah Savery-Richards, stepped up with four points early in the second period, to which Jermayne Laing then added another two and suddenly the Dragons were back in contention, with the gap reduced to just five points (20-25).
Ben Dixon temporarily stemmed the Dragons flow, sinking a two point layup, two minutes into the period. But the home side had the bit between their teeth and a couple of layups from big man, Clayfell Harris, followed by a single from Laing and the deficit was down to two (25-27).
With just over half the period gone, Zach Gachette tied the game at twenty-nine apiece, and when Savery-Richards was sent to the foul line, he made no mistake to give Bradford their first lead of the game. The lead swung from side to side for the remainder of the period, but at the conclusion of the half it was the Dragons leading by a solitary point (38-37).
After the break, there was absolutely nothing to separate the two teams, who matched each other shot for shot, throughout the third period. At the end of that penultimate period the game was perfectly balanced at sixty three points apiece.
It was now all down to the final ten minutes and it was the visiting side that made the first moves with a 2 point layup from Lufile within the first three seconds of the final period and another from Prince Roniel Oguekwe to open up a four point lead.
But Bradford came back at them and regained the lead when Zac Gachette converted both his shots from the foul line.
With time running out, the Dragons reintroduced both of their three point shooters, Dave Walsh and Stephen Towell, to the court. An inspired move by Bradford’s head coach Coach Chris Mellor, as the momentum of play swung in the home sides favour.
First Fetske converted a two point layup, Gachette added a single from the foul line and then Towell hit a trey to pull the Dragons within three points. Jazdeep Bains responded with a trey for Reading, but then Savery-Richards hit another three pointer to cancel that out.
Gachette then added another single, to bring the Dragons within two points, and then Towell launched another successful trey and the Dragons had the lead once more. (84-83).
Reading responded with a two to take back control, but then it was the turn of Dave Walsh to land his shot from outside the arc.
Fetske added a couple of singles from the foul line and with time against them, the visitors were forced into making fouls in an attempt to regain possession. But the Dragons were clinical with the resultant free throws and despite another three from Bains it wasn’t enough to stop the Dragons from taking the spoils in their first game at their new home (93-90).
Ricky Fetske top scored for the Dragons with 23 points, whilst also adding 11 rebounds to record his customary double-double. But the official Calderdale College Player of the game award went to Micah Savery Richards, who contributed 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench. Gachette also contributed 20 to the Dragons total with Laing also in double figure on 14 points.
The games high scorer was Tyler Cartaino, who amassed 26 points towards the Rockets total.
Photographs © Alex Daniel Photography