Bury St. Edmunds Bulldogs hosted Mildenhall Pirates at Skyliner Sports Centre on Sunday having comfortably won the away fixture just eleven days earlier.
From the outset Bury were favourites to repeat the result with a strong squad matched up against the short-handed Pirates, and sure enough led the game from start to finish.
Coach Glenn Collins deployed the same defence which had proven successful in the first game, giving Mildenhall’s ball-handlers no time to organise their offence. This led to turnovers and quick scores for Bury, including 7 for Sykes and 4 each for Cowling and Read resulting in a 23-6 lead after one quarter.
The second quarter continued in a similar vein. Good inside passing allowed Sykes to score another 10 points while Ward and Laycock connected with 3-pointers from the outside. By halftime, despite Mildenhall’s best efforts, the Bulldogs had built an unassailable 46-16 lead.
Bury increased the defensive pressure as the second half began and attempted to play a faster offence. Rather than quick scores, however, this led to mistakes and just 4 points in the first 3 minutes. Coach Collins reacted by substituting all five players and reverting back to a more patient attack which got the scoreboard ticking over again. After three periods the lead had grown to 40 points (71-31) as the small Pirates squad grew tired.
Mildenhall scored the first points of the fourth quarter but five different Bury players then combined for a 17-0 run. Mildenhall’s second and final basket of the quarter was followed by 13 unanswered points from Captain Wise and player of the game Sykes to put the final gloss on a 101-35 win for the Bulldogs.
Top scorers were Sykes with 33 points, Steedman (16) and Wise (10).
Afterwards Coach Collins was quick to express his respect for the Mildenhall team: “We had a good win on their court recently and with only 6 available players they were really up against it tonight. We’ve seen other teams choose not to play in similar circumstances but these guys showed up and gave it their best which deserves great credit."
“Overall I was pleased with the work my guys put in tonight. Everyone got a chance to play and everyone played their part. If I’m being picky I would say we over-passed at times and committed silly fouls at others but the right intentions were there. We’re on a good run in all competitions and looking forward another home game next week.”