Bury St. Edmunds Basketball Club’s senior men’s side travelled to the University of Nottingham to compete in the club’s first ever Senior National League game, in Division 3 East.
The first quarter was played at a frantic pace, with Adam Ball scoring the Suffolk side’s first ever points in the competition, before Notingham began a three-point barrage. Bulldogs were able to make use of their size advantage on the glass to stay in the game early, but ended the first down 33-26. The defences controlled the second, as Notts extended their lead by only two at the half, 47-38.
A nightmare third quarter saw the hosts open with a 12-0 run and whilst Billy Smith found his range and kept the offence ticking-over as the half went on, Notts made a staggering 70% of their three’s in the second half, to pull away to a 112-73 win. Smith (23) and Ball (15) led the scoring for Bulldogs.
Not even 24-hours later, the Bulldogs hosted Division 2 side Derbyshire Spartans in the National Cup at Skyliner Sports Centre.
Bury again started brightly, with Ball, Vytautas Girdzius and Ed Spurling helping the team get into their groove on offence, whilst Brandon Marshall and Denby Ablard aided Smith on the glass. However, the Spartans soon found their range, and took a 16-23 lead after one, before dominating the second to stretch their lead to 24-49.
A different side came out for Bulldogs after the half, with Ball the instigator as he notched seven straight points, and others soon followed, with Matt Spurling, Ashley MacDonald, Tom Guerrero and Oli Cowling all showing flashes, whilst Smith, Ablard and Marshall protected the rim for the Bulldogs.
While the Suffolk side won both second-half quarters, they’d found themselves in too great a hole at the half, and fell to a 63-82 loss. Ball (16), Smith (14) and Ablard (11) led scorers for the Bulldogs.
“It’s been a tough weekend.” Said Head Coach Arron MacDonald “but we fully expected that to be the case. We’re short a few players and there’s some very tired and bruised bodies limping away from today – but we’d committed to being a National League club, and sometimes that means two games in 24 hours, and travelling up and down the country in-between, we’re not going to shy away from those kind of challenges – we would never have committed to playing at this level if we were.”
“We can already see the growth through eight quarters of basketball played, we’re starting to see a team emerge, but we know that we’re not the team we’re going to be, yet. I’m extremely proud of the heart the lads showed through that second half against Spartans, when it’d have been easier to fold – and it’s that pride in the shirt and support of one another that makes me believe we’re going to be okay.”
Up next for Bury is a trip to Anglia Ruskin University on Saturday 19th October.
For more information about basketball in Bury St. Edmunds or to join West Suffolk’s longest-running club, visit www.burybasketball.com or find us on facebook, twitter or Instagram at @BuryBasketball.