THERE was a mixed bag of results for Warwickshire Bears sides in Sunday’s British Wheelchair Basketball League home matches against opposition from three different clubs.
First up were Bears 3rds against Birmingham Phoenix (formally Blackcats), who returned to the league after pulling out from Division One two years ago.
The hosts produced a valiant display but were edged out 53-44 in Division Three Central.
The Bears line up featured their impressive junior players Ellen Fraser and Aaron Grant, who has been invited to the GB Under 22 trials for the squad for 2020. Also taking to the court was one of their newest team members Joe Preston, who scored an impressive ten points on his debut.
Bears held Phoenix up until the middle of the last quarter, but the visitors’ seasoned players were able to see their side home.
Bears coach Dan Smith said: “I can’t express how proud I am of the team. The team they faced today were playing Division One basketball only two seasons ago and to push them to the last quarter is testament to their performance.”
THE BEARS first team made a positive start to their Premier League clash against last season’s runners-up the Owls, another team brimming with GB international players.
The hosts trailed only 14-9 at the end of the first period but in the second quarter the visitors ramped up their defence and restricted Bears’ access to their basket, allowing the visitors to lead 31-15 at halfway.
The third quarter was the major downfall for the Bears as the Owls’ superiority in speed and fitness took full effect and allowed the visitors to establish a 52-21 advantage by its conclusion.
Bears coach Tom Masterson said: “I’d like to thank the Owls and their coaches Dan Johnson and Gary Peel for a fantastic game and another lesson in the fantastic standard of our sport at a semi-professional level.
“It’s hard at the moment for the team as they are not used to losing and by such a margin, but we need to keep working hard and stick together until the end of the season.”
BEARS 2nds brought some joy to the day’s fixtures as they extended their winning run to four matches with a 56-41 victory over Sussex Bears in Division Two South.
There was an outstanding display by the hosts’ Theo Pinnington and also impressive was Aimee Lane, who was promoted from the 3rds.
Bears 2nds coach Daz Peasley said: “It was another good win against a resilient Sussex Bears team. Special mention to Aimee Lane who stepped up a division and did a marvellous job for us.”
Bears women travel to Sheffield for the first round of the BWB Women’s League on Saturday and Sunday.
The Bears are still looking for additional sponsors to help the club in their endeavours to provide sporting opportunities for local disabled people. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tom Masterson on 07946 518354.