WARWICKSHIRE Bears returned to action at the weekend, albeit with a convincing 71-29 loss to CWBA in the British Wheelchair Basketball League Premier Division.
In a game live streamed by the BBC in front of a crowd of more than 200, the Bears battled hard against the visitors from Coventry, but they found it a hurdle too far against a side brimming with Team GB talents.
The visitors raced into the lead with some high-intensity basketball that simply stunned the Bears.
Peter Cusack ran the show for Coventry, whilst Jake Robinson was successful with a number of long-range three-pointers, helping accumulate a 35-4 lead for the visitors at the halfway point.
The second half of the match was better for Bears, for whom Daz Peasley enjoyed much more of the ball and Dan Gill also managed to chip in with a few points.
However, against a side which could call upon members of the Team GB women’s side and a number of the under 23s, it was always a losing battle for the Bears.
Head coach Tom Masterson was open about the difference in quality of the two sides, but felt he could not be too dismayed after his side’s valiant efforts.
“We were totally outclassed but when you see the team we were up against, I can’t be too hard on my team.
“As the rookie side, this season has been tough, but we are working hard to learn from this experience and to strengthen as a team.
“Looking beyond the score, this was about more than a game and I am so proud to have been able to showcase our brilliant club.
“Hopefully this will really put us on the map and attract some new players for the future.”
Meanwhile, in Division Two South, Bears 2nds enjoyed far greater success against Norwich Lowriders in a 56-20 win.
They proceeded to dominate the court at the University of Birmingham Sport and Fitness club, edging the first quarter 8-4 but beginning to find their rhythm in the second, leading 25-12 after some consistent shooting.
The Bears were devastating going forward in the third quarter and wreaked havoc on the Lowriders’ basket, firing themselves into a 46-16 lead.
Whilst the final quarter was not quite as intense, understandable with the game already won, the Bears secured a comfortable win and managed to get some fresh faces rotated into the play.
Coach Peasley, who appeared in the thick of the action for the first team after the 2nds game, was pleased by the performance after initially struggling to come out of the blocks.
“It was a bit of a slow start but I’m not sure if that was the new venue or the occasion, but we eventually woke up and got a good win against a good side,” he said.
Bears’ first and second sides are in action on Sunday when both visit London Titans.