Monday, 8 October 2012

Tigers Tamed by Jets as Writer Gets Lazy at Titles

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 7 October 2012 at the Northgate Arena
Cheshire Jets 88 Mersey Tigers 64
British Basketball League
Number 12 on my courthopping list
Pre-match preparation
Nothing – this was an impulsive stop-off on my way back south. I vaguely knew that both clubs have been struggling to survive of late and had disrupted pre-seasons.  The BBL seems to be struggling to hold its own – for several seasons now franchises have been coming and going and changing ownership.  The team I watched most often, MK Lions, have suddenly become London Lions after years of trying to build a brand and will end up at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park next season.  I’m not following the league as closely as I did a few seasons ago so won’t pontificate further.  It doesn’t seem as healthy as it was a few seasons back.
This match in one sentence
A routine win for the home side who imposed themselves early on and then repelled Tigers’ first and only attempt to respond at the start of the second quarter.
So what?
Early days in the new season but Jets have one win and Tigers none, both from two games.
The drama unfolds

A Bland Centre (and a ref)
Jets’ James Hamilton is in his first season as player-coach but tonight he is injured and watching from the sideline.  Centre Alif Bland was making his first appearance for Jets and he made an iffy start as he missed two free throws.  Within minutes, though, he started living up to the crowd-pleaser credentials that had been promised pre-match as he scored three baskets including a reverse over the shoulder and a traditional slam dunk.  Good support from Gabe Haskins and Shawn Myers meant that Jets built up an eight-point lead in the first quarter.  Here’s a scene-setter clip including a nice score from Myers.  23-15 at the end of Q1

Tigers bit back (do you see what I did there?) at the start of the second and got back level briefly at 30-30 before their recovery was snuffed out and the eight-point margin restored with ninety seconds left in the quarter.  The teams traded threes then Phil Brandreth got 2 on the break, Myers got another and Neil Gillard one right on the buzzer to extend the lead at the half-way mark.  This 18-4 tear was decisive.  48-34 at the end of Q2

The “Tuck Shop” was swamped at half-time by a zillion hyped-up schoolchildren trying to buy sugary products but order was eventually restored.  In the third, by the time a Haskins triple opened up the score to 60-37, the game had long since lost interest as a contest.  Players with numbers but no names on their shirts came on for some court time so we knew that Hamilton was feeling comfortable.  67-42 at the end of Q3

Here is a clip from the final quarter as the score goes out to 83-62.  Creditable mention to Tigers’ debutant Gael Hulsen who impressed throughout.  Final score 88-64

The programme

Something random
Earlier in the day I’d spent a few hours looking at magnificent old lorries and buses (and a Popemobile) at the British Collection of Commercial Vehicles in Leyland, Lancashire on my way back from a weekend in Blackpool.  Booze, buses and baskets.  Plus, here's a quick but genuine plug for The Hayward Hotel in Blackpool for their superbly warm welcome and high standards!

Hopping for Moorfields Update
Nothing to report this week!
What Next?
Hitchin Town v Hastings in an FA Cup replay on Monday evening.

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