IT WAS a disappointing week for Warwickshire Bears as all three of their sides in action were beaten.
In the British Wheelchair Basketball League Premier League, Bears lost 86-31 to Sheffield Steelers on Sunday.
After suffering a heavy defeat to the Steelers earlier in the season, this was going to be an even bigger test for the Bears as the Steelers welcomed back GB international women’s player Amy Conroy to bolster a team which also featured Harry Brown, Jim Palmer and James MacSorley who helped GB to victory in the World Championships this year.
In the first quarter the Steelers took a firm grip on the Bears, playing a pressing game which led to very few chances for the Bears to score at the Steelers’ basket.
Steelers used their exceptional speed to build a healthy 21-4 lead at the end of the quarter before, with the comfortable lead already built up from the hard work in defence, the Steelers reverted to a zone defence, which gave the Bears more opportunities to put some scores on the board.
It was 42-19 at half-time and then 61-25 with a quarter remaining as Steelers continued to impress.
The last quarter was all about pride for the Bears but there was nothing they could do to halt the visitors’ momentum.
Bears coach Tom Masterson said: “I’d like to thank Steelers and their coach Kev Hayes for a fantastic game and a lesson on how far we still need to go to be able to compete at this level.
“I can’t fault the Bears as they are amateur players up against paid professionals and they gave everything, but Steelers is the club we should be looking at as the standard we want to be.”
EARLIER in the day Bears 3rds were beaten 58-44 by Steelers 5ths in Division Three Central.
After conceding defeat to the same opposition earlier in the season, the Bears were looking to overturn that result but once again the strong Steelers team held out to secure victory.
The Bears side, which included a large number of junior and developing players, held its own against well-drilled opposition and fought to maintain a close score.
Bears coach Dan Smith said: “There was some great basketball played by both sides. We saw the introduction of new player Joe Preston and Michelle Quested scored her first league basket. It’s onwards and upwards for the rest of the season.”
BEARS Cubs took on their first Lord Taverners Junior League event on Saturday.
Although defeats ensued against CWBA Juniors (80-40) and North Wales Knights Juniors (57-30) in the Welsh event, Bears came away with the pride and passion which have come to characterise their performances.
This was the first competitive basketball for a number of the Bears Cubs, who received praise for their efforts.
Coach Masterson said: “I’m immensely proud of the Cubs. These were their first competitive games and some of the team had to play two games back-to-back with no rest.
“This is just the start of a long career playing wheelchair basketball and also a start for the team. The exciting thing is they will get better in time and so will the team.”
The Bears return to action when all three teams host games on Sunday (11am). Entrance is free for all spectators at Warwickshire College Henley-in-Arden Sports Centre.