Lothian Phoenix Clinch Promotion18 May 2008, Sheffield
Lothian Phoenix travelled to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield for the GBWBA Play Offs on 18 & 19 May. The team had a clear task - to win two games and gain promotion to the second division.
Having finished second in the GBWBA Division Three North, Phoenix did not gain automatic promotion, but rather had to face off in a play off against the second placed teams from the South and Central Divisions. Their opponents were the West Coast Tornadoes and the Stratford Players.
First up was the Tornadoes. The Phoenix got off to a blistering startand finished the 1st quarter leading 24-9. By halftime the lead had been extended to 36-19, but it was the third quarter that sealed the fate of the Tornadoes as the Phoenix created a tempest of their own, led by a whirlwind 12 points of scoring from Rab O’Rorke. Simon Ramsay contributed a further 6 points, getting on the end of and finishing the Phoenix fast break.
By the end of the quarter the lead had been further extended to 60-29 and Coach Stevie Duff took the opportunity to rest his starting five and closed out the game with the bench players, who ensured a Phoenix victory with their tough defence and good execution on offence. The final score was 68-48 and part one of the task was complete.
Three hours later the Phoenix faced the Stratford Players, knowing victory would ensure their place in the second division in 2008-2009. The evenly matched teams slugged it out in the first half and Phoenix took an eight point lead into the intermission, leading 27-19. A third quarter comeback by the Stratford team cut the Phoenix lead to 6, but the Phoenix once again dug deep and re-established their lead going into the final period leading 42-31.
With an evenly contested final quarter, Phoenix completed part two of the task and won promotion to the second division north with a 52-39 victory.
Stevie Duff commented, “We had an excellent team performance this weekend and it is a great end to a great season for the club. The team deserve their promotion as the gains we have made in individual and team performance over the course of the season has been incredible. We will need to continue to work hard over the summer if we are to be ready for the step up to the second division next year.”
“Although it was a great team performance overall, the individual performance of Rab O’Rorke was amazing. 28 and 23 points respectively for the two games is a fantastic offensive shift by our top scorer for the season.”