Bolton Bulls 19 - 48 Lothian Phoenix
03 Sept 2006

Reporter : Martin Dougan

It was a good win for Lothian in their first game against Bury and no doubt following their inaugural victory in the GBWBA League Division Three (North), confidence was running high in the dressing room of the Lothian Phoenix. However, the Phoenix’s next opponent, the Bolton Bulls, were a tougher and more established side than the previous opponents, having competed in the second division last year and being strong contenders for promotion again this time around. The newcomers certainly have their work cut out against the most formidable of opponents.

Looking at the Lothian bench five minutes before tip-off, it was clear to see that the determination and focus shown on the face of the visitor’s coach indicated that he was well aware that this would be a tough test for the fledgling Phoenix in only their second game in the league. A victory would be a significant accomplishment, defeat would put the fledgling team’s hopes of promotion on very thin ice.

In the first quarter the visitors got off to a great start by getting on the scoreboard first with a basket from Gary Smith. Midway through the first quarter and Lothian still hadn’t conceded a basket. This was all because the players seemed to be greatly organised and communicating well at the back causing a lot of turnovers which encouraged more fast breaks. The quarter ended 14-0 to Phoenix

In the second quarter both teams came out with the same tactics as the first and finally the home side got their long awaited basket with The Bulls number eight getting his team on track but that still wasn’t enough to stop the Lothian side from keeping their composure and keeping themselves ahead with an overall score line of 24-6 going into half time. Robert O’Rourke showed his worth with and impressive twelve points to himself at the halftime break.

During the break the Lothian side didn’t waste any time in keeping themselves motivated by performing their routine drills. The Phoenix half time team talk consisted of Coach, Stevie Duff, emphasising the need for the team to be ready for the inevitable pressing tactics of a Bolton team trying to regain a footing in the match. He warned the players of not becoming complacent and reminded them that the words of the much clichéd football commentators held true in this instance, “it’s a game of two halves”, you’ve got to win both to win the contest. The words of the coach left the Phoenix players in no doubt about what was required to keep their unbeaten record intact.

In the third quarter the Phoenix side yet again came out all guns blazing on offence and defence, frustrating their opponents with a commanding presence in defence and sharp movement on attack. Leading by example, Stevie Duff amassed a total of eight out of the ten points that were scored in the third period. The Bulls also managed to keep there game alive by getting a share of the baskets. The game entered the final quarter with score being 34-11 in favour of the new comers.

It was now the final ten minutes of play which didn’t seem to stop the tempo of the game with both teams moving well up and down the court and still managing to get points on the board. The home side certainly had there best quarter with eight points added to their tally and the Lothian side seemed to finish where they started getting the same amount in the last as they did in the first with fourteen points added to their score. The game finished with a 48-19 win for Lothian Phoenix.

Coach, Stevie Duff, commented after the game, “This has been an excellent start to the Phoenix’s first season playing competitive basketball. The team has certainly exceeded my pre season expectations so far. The challenge for us will be to keep this momentum going throughout the remainder of the season. For me, that is a great problem to have following our first two matches in the league. Rest assured, we will be working very hard at training in preparation for our next match and I will be pushing the players to further excel on the floor during training and in our forthcoming matches. 2 and 0 is great, but that doesn’t win the league. We need to continue to improve our performances if we are to be contenders at the end of the season.”


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