Ipswich Basketball Club tame the Worcester Wolves 86-70
- Credit: Archant
Despite Ipswich’s rapid rise as a team to be taken seriously in the Senior National League, there has been one constant thorn in the team’s side – Worcester Wolves.
It was the Wolves that were the only team to beat the team two seasons ago in Division Four, and to add to it they were the team that knocked Ipswich out that season in the play-off semi-final.
Last season, after both teams were promoted to Division 3, Ipswich led the league for much of the season, only to lose to Worcester at Copleston in the season’s penultimate game, meaning the Wolves stole the title from under the Suffolk side’s noses.
So, when the teams met on Saturday, it was fitting that Ipswich faced their fiercest and most respected rival in a game they simply had to win, after back-to-back losses.
The scene was set for another barn-storming afternoon at Copleston, but in truth the game didn’t really live up to the hype. After a competitive first quarter that saw the visitors lead early before the hosts took control, Ipswich won the second quarter 28-5, a run that meant that Ipswich held a 50-22 lead at the half-time break.
With several players under the weather, and Worcester clearly ready to get things over with and get home, Coach, Drane was able to hand out extended court-time to his bench and hand out a couple of debuts to James Borg and young 6’10 Laurence Watsham. The game had the feel of a glorified scrimmage, with neither team playing anywhere near full speed in the second half.
They have two more games against each other this season, one more at Worcester in the league and on February 2, when Ipswich host their rivals from the Midlands in the Patrons Cup semi-final at Copleston.
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Things did heat up in the second half but for the wrong reasons when Worcester’s Calvin Morant-Hudson, showed his frustration and was ejected from the game for two unsportsmanlike fouls, the first for a dangerous challenge on 18-year-old Ipswich high-flyer Luke Mascall-Wright.
The scoreline suggests the game was closer than it actually was.
The Ipswich lead was in the 20’s for the majority of the second half, but a late sequence of three-pointers while the Ipswich bench was gaining some experience made things look a little closer than it actually was – although captain Tom Sadler had the last laugh, as he chucked up a long three on the buzzer that he looked almost embarrassed to make.
Coach Nick Drane said: “That wasn’t the Worcester we were expecting and I take nothing for granted – when we go to their place it will be a battle, they are a great organisation and have some excellent players and staff in Chris Lowe and Andy Cahill.
“They seemed to be missing some guys who have been promoted to their BBL team which is a great advert for their programme. Take nothing away from our guys today though, we were awesome in that second quarter which effectively killed the game off.”
Ipswich top scorers were Sadler with 19 points, Leigh Greenan with 14 and Josh Johnson 13.