Brave Bobcats beaten by lofty Tigers

BASKETBALL: Ipswich Bobcats 37 Thames Valley Tigers 66. Ipswich Bobcats put up a brave performance against Thames Valley Lady Tigers before letting a 24-22 interval lead slip to crash to a 37-66 defeat when the sides met in the Women's National Conference.

BASKETBALL

Ipswich Bobcats 37 Thames Valley Tigers 66

Ipswich Bobcats put up a brave performance against Thames Valley Lady Tigers before letting a 24-22 interval lead slip to crash to a 37-66 defeat when the sides met in the Women's National Conference.

Bobcats started in confident mood and their crisp passing and tight defence belied their lowly position against a Thames Valley side riding high in second place in the Conference table.

Both sides played very tight defence in the first quarter and the scores were restricted to 4-4 apiece after six minutes.

A three-pointer from Kayleigh Read fired Bobcats ahead and baskets from Laura Shemming and Kirsty Clark ensured that Bobcats held a 12-10 lead as the match went into the second quarter.

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Thames Valley rallied with baskets from the impressive Susan Bocock and a free throw from England international Claire Wiseman, but a three-pointer from Line Brodie kept Ipswich in front at 15-13.

The defences remained on top, but the introduction of Wanda Maynard-Morris had immediate effect – the Thames Valley forward scoring twice in as many minutes to give the visitors a 21-20 lead with two minutes of the quarter remaining.

Bobcats' dogged first-half performance saw Angela Orvis score a long-range basket before Shemming wrapped up a 24-22 interval lead with another accurate shot from mid-range.

Thames Valley had only taken two offensive rebounds as Bobcats cleaned up on the defensive boards and Ipswich coach Elaine Miller praised her team for their rebounding, which had been instrumental in their first-half success.

With Kirsty Clark already picking up four fouls, Bobcats' task in the second half was always likely to be more daunting and Thames Valley started the third period strongly.

Former Bobcats Lily Mallett and Catherine Brownsell both scored for the Lady Tigers as the

visitors outscored Ipswich 10-2 in the first five minutes of the quarter. A basket by Charlotte Dunne at the end of a positive drive provided brief respite, as Thames Valley piled on 11 unanswered points to win the quarter 21-4 and take a commanding 43-28 lead.

Bobcats' plight worsened when Clark fouled out trying to defend a drive by Wiseman. Two baskets by Shemming at the start of the fourth quarter gave Ipswich a lifeline, despite trailing 32-45. A three-pointer by Caroline Ayres and a lay up by Wiseman helped Thames Valley restore a comfortable lead at 52-32 and any hopes of a Bobcats revival were finally dashed when Shemming fouled out trying to defend Bocock.

Thames Valley dominated proceedings thereafter, with former Spelthorne players Wiseman and Ayres scoring at will. A late consolation basket by Kayleigh Button secured Bobcats' first points in the last five minutes as Thames Valley ran out comfortable 66-37 winners.

Bobcats make the long journey to Cardiff on Saturday, when they face bottom placed UWIC Cardiff Flyers in another Women's National Conference fixture. The match tips off at 6pm.

Ipswich Bobcats players and scorers: L Shemming 13, K Read 7, L Brodie 5, C Dunne 4, K Clark 3, A Orvis 3, K Button 2, H Wood 0, K Banns 0.

Thames Valley Lady Tigers players and scorers: S Bocock 20, C Wiseman 12, C Ayres 11, L Mallet 10, W Maynard-Morris 8, I Mesterhazy 2, C Brownsell 2.

Women's National Conference Results: 71 London 71 Nottingham 53, Ipswich 37 Thames Valley 66.

Bobcats Cadettes 49 Solent Stars 63

Ipswich Bobcats Cadette team were hoping to get back to winning ways when they entertained the Solent Stars, but despite a very bright start they finally went down 49-63.

The Bobcats youngsters started very brightly, taking a 10-4 lead and early control of the match with baskets from Natalie Field, Lauren Lindsay, Lois Nunn and Kirsty Moore.

That prompted the Solent coach to call a time-out to rally his team. However, Lindsay and Field continued to dominate proceedings at the scoring end by adding a further ten points and the defence pressurised the opposition into unforced errors as Bobcats took the first quarter 23-14.

The second quarter was in total contrast with the Bobcats only managing two baskets from open play and giving the ball away far too easily.

Coach Fay Greaves tried to ring the changes as all the players got court time. However, this was to no avail and as half-time approached the lead had been reduced to only four. The Bobcats held a 31-27 advantage as the half-time buzzer sounded.

If the home side thought the second quarter was bad there was worse to come as the Solent Stars increased the pressure.

All the Bobcats could manage was one field goal from Nunn and four points from the free-throw line from Brownsell and Lindsay in the third period.

In the meantime Solent had notched up 21 points from the excellent Alexander and Carr. This created a complete turnaround as the Bobcats now trailed 37-48 going into the final quarter.

Solent put the game almost beyond doubt with eight early, unanswered points in the closing stages. Despite a spirited fight-back and points from Field and young Kerry Moore, Solent hung on to a comfortable 63-49 win.

The Cadettes' scheduled home game against Exeter on Saturday has been postponed and will be played later in the season.

Ipswich Bobcats players and scorers: L Lindsay 14, N Field 14, L Nunn 7, R. Brockman, E Bogg, Kerry Moore 10, V Brownsell 2, Kirsty Moore 2, L Maddix and R Chambers.

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