Bury St Edmunds Bulldogs, sponsored by Gascoynes Accountants, faced a depleted Colchester Cobras side in their return to Suffolk Division 1 action – welcoming back Welsh international Brandon Marshall to replace the absent Jack Teagle - and took full advantage in a game they led wire-to-wire.
A 20-3 five minute run to open the game saw every starter get onto the scoresheet while Ashley MacDonald was a nuisance for the Bulldogs defensively, however, as Coach Arron MacDonald made a wholesale five-for-five change, the Cobras made one of their best runs of the game, with the first quarter ending 26-13 to the hosts.
With Limbu the only Cobra to get onto the scoresheet during the second quarter, Bulldogs put the game beyond doubt before half-time, with Lewis Tebbit, Billy Smith, Jason Sykes and Matt Spurling joining MacDonald with multiple scores during the frame.
Bulldogs again struggled after making wholesale changes, as the game went scoreless for several minutes, before Marshall, Patrick Laycock and Oli Cowling fuelled a 6-2 run to see Bury into the half ahead 56-21.
Coach MacDonald juggled the lineups in the second half, and saw his side hold Cobras to only twenty points, while adding 45 of their own. Amongst the highlights were a trio of blocks and post scores for pivot Adam Maddison and some fantastic ball movement leading to a long-range score from Jimmy Steedman, as the Bulldogs ran out to a 102-41 win, in which none of their players registered more than 20 minutes of playing time.
Smith (18 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists), MacDonald (17 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals) and Sykes (13 points, 2 rebounds) were the leading scorers for the Bulldogs, with Ashley MacDonald being named Player of the Game.
“It’s tough to get a read on where we are right now” said Coach Arron MacDonald, “we’ve not played – or trained – nearly enough to have a feel on what kind of team we are heading into a crucial stretch of the season.”
“What we did see tonight was good effort from the lads in stretches and a willingness to make an extra pass to get an open shot, as we registered 32 assists on our 44 scores – which was something we have been emphasising. It was great to see everyone contributing to the win at both ends too - as every player registered at least six points and worked hard defensively."
"It was really important to me that we played the game the right way, and paid the other side the respect of playing them as hard as we could - we've been on the other end of scorelines like that in the past, but aside from that, I have the utmost respect for their Coach, Dave Girling, who has coached several of our players at National League and for Suffolk. So I was pleased that the game was played in the right spirit."
“Player of the game was a tough call – but I felt Ashley edged it over the others based on his defensive intensity and efficiency. Although Billy likely would have had a triple-double in his normal playing time, Ash could have had a quadruple double owing to his somewhat prolific steals total; and managed to shoot over 70% for the game, including 50% from three - it was a monster performance."
Up next for the First Team are BT Lasers on Sunday 10th March at Skyliner.