This game was such a close run thing there was no time to draw breath never mind take pictures, one of the Flyers team captured this at the end though!

Dundee Dragons welcomed a strong Grampian Flyers team for the final game of the 2018 Scottish Development League. With a depleted side missing Michael, David and Gemma, Ian Hall was once again coerced into a playing top and he, along with Ben Leitch, Ronnie Rob, Murran McKay, Rhys Colliar, Mairi Simms and Blair Marshall made up the Dragon’s squad.

The game started with both teams being evenly matched, however Ben’s on-point shooting pulled Dragons into a early lead. Baskets followed from Blair and Ronnie, and the team in the early stages looked strong and in control. Substitutions were made to the Flyers squad with Grant Wilson and Austin McKenzie being brought on to create more shooting opportunities. With the addition of these threatening players the Dragons started to look rattled and nerves started to fray but the Dragon’s defence held strong and the score was 16 v 8 going into the second quarter.

The Flyers started strongly in the second quarter with Austin stepping up and converting any opportunities that came his way into points. The Dragons side fought back and baskets were traded either end. An excellent couple of baskets by Rachel Gilbert for the Flyers pulled their score up but these baskets were matched by Blair who, ably supported by Murran and Rhys, found his way into the key.

With no change to the Dragons’ squad at the start of the second half the match kicked off impressively with a lovely play by Ben, Ronnie and Blair that resulted in an early basket. As the game went on Mairi Simms was subbed in and took her position within the Dragon’s defence. With another change of players by Flyers the intensity of the game began to increase and Ben started to find his every move stifled by the Flyers defence.  The Flyers were now playing with a real determination and were pressuring the ball at every opportunity. Coach Paula called a much needed time-out just before the end of the quarter to calm the Dragons down whilst Coach Fraser Govan on the Flyers side was whipping his payers up sensing a change of fortune.

The Flyers started the fourth quarter with a fierceness that challenged the Dragons from the start. The tension at this point was almost unbearable as the Flyers found their rhythm and started scoring basket after basket. With Wayne, Austin and Grant all pressuring Ben, the Dragons team started to feel the pressure and as Murran got quieter Ronnie got more vocal. This didn’t go unnoticed by the experienced reffing duo of Kenny Sanford and Garry Godsell,  but thankfully, and much to his credit, Ronnie kept his head and played on. With Ben being hussled at every turn the rest of the team had to step up and Blair, Rhys, Ronnie and Murran held on and fought hard to keep the lead that was slowly slipping away.

With the seconds counting down the atmosphere was electric. Coach Fraser Govan was jumping up and down willing his team on whilst coach Paula was nervously calling out instructions from the bench. In the final two minutes time-outs were called, Ben was keeping the Dragons team calm and focussed whilst Fraser, sensing victory for the Flyers, was plotting ways to just tip the scales in their favour. With 9 seconds to go there was just 2 points in it. Ben tried to hold the ball but was overpowered and with 3 seconds to go Flyers had the chance to go even with an inbound ball at their basket. Austin received the ball, took the shot and as it ricocheted off the rim the buzzer went much to the relief of the Dragons players, bench and supporters. Both teams had played their hearts out and the game ended Dundee Dragons 48 v 46 Grampian Flyers.




Match Report by Kevin Rattray, DDWSC Vice-Chairman


It seemed strange that we were on the road, Basketball season hasn’t quite finished and rugby hasn’t been a huge feature on training days but here we were and heading for two venues we knew well, just didn’t know how to get there, but more of that later.

Jay and Kirsteen set off early, they were also heading off to Basketball Women’s League in Nottingham after the two rugby matches, now that’s real dedication.

Mairi, Stewart, Ronny, David and I met at Gardyne campus to load up Mairi’s van with chairs, balls, tags and everything else we needed for the weekend, Michael and family were setting off from Cardenden a bit later in the day.

It would be great to report that the journey was smooth and uneventful, but sometimes good things come out of adversity.

Traffic ground to a halt at Broxden, yes not even past Perth and we were parked up, but it was ok as Stewart and Mairi resolved most of the issues with the Scottish education system, then moved onto international affairs as I munched greedily on the jelly babies provided by Mairi, I’m nothing if not a classy guy.

Suddenly we were moving again, waving to Ferris as we passed Findo Gask, then parked up again at Dunblane and the Castle Cary Arches, this was going to be a long day.

First comfort break came at “What’s it Called…Cumbernauld”, then we were off again next stop, where else but Tebay services, got to keep the tradition going, but we seemed to have lost David and Ronny.

Tebay arrived with Ronny and David catching up and it was now obvious why they were held up, David’s bumper and back door showed the damage that a little, badly driven, Clio could do.

Phone call to the insurance company followed as the players munched on the food of champions, fish and chips, maybe it’s the food of bowls or darts champions but was very welcome.

The next stretch of the journey was now more straightforward apart from the damp and dark A65 into Bradford, a misbehaving Google maps, an unchargeable Iphone and an elderly driver who can get lost in a car park!

Travelodge was ok, although I’m sure I heard someone telling Roxanne to put on the red light, apologies for the Arctic Monkeys reference, I’ll maybe start hiding these musical references in my match reports.

The area was not the best and I’m not sure we’ll be back!

Marks and Spencer or MacDonalds for breakfast then we were off to University Academy Keighley, which we found really easily, this was not the norm.

Slight delay to the start of the match, double booking with kids playing football, just gave us a bit longer to get moving and prepare for action.

Now we were ready and started with the 3 players from the match day 7 who were celebrating being announced in the Scotland squad for the Celtic Cup, Michael Mellon, David Birtles and Jay Anderson, they were ably supported by Ronny Robb and Stewart Squire, with Mairi Simms and yours truly on the bench, and of course Ryan Mellon, broken thumb and all, collecting and distributing tags in a blur of activity.

As well as Kirsteen Burns the queen of all things medical and tape, patching up and holding us all together

The match kicked with Dragons receiving and starting very quickly, although it was clear this was a different Keighley team from the one we had played previously as they covered the court well and shut down some of our attacking moves.

The score board started to tick with Ronny and Michael taking centre stage, and Michael converting from a variety of locations on the court.

The pressure from Cougars was telling though as attempts at intricate movements were closed down and pressure was exerted resulting in a few spilled passes.

As the half went on Dragons started to simplify their play and were now well on top and score followed score up to half time with the half ending

Keighley Cougars 0 30 Dundee Dragons

The second half saw changes being made with Mairi now coming into the action and the former coach rolling onto court to fill a gap.

This was now a very different game, one quick score came from Michael, but in spite of a variety of attempts from the Dragons, Cougars were holding firm and came close to getting on the score sheet as a deft kick was chased down but drifted long.

Defences were completely on top and Dragons swapped player after player to find a way through the stubborn defence but it wasn’t to be and the match finished

Keighley Cougars 0 36 Dundee Dragons

Great respect was shown from team to team as handshakes and hugs were exchanged, pictures were taken and we headed into the coffee shop for food generously supplied by the Cougars.

But hold on we had another match to play, thanks for the reminder Jay, memory issues? me?

Back outside to load cars and van and we were off to Bradford with Stewart on Google maps.

I’m not going to dwell on how we got horribly lost but when we came to a junction and Stewart said turn left and Mairi, now on sat nav, said turn right this elderly gentleman, who was now in desperate need of a comfort break, could have broken down and cried.

Of course we got there, and of course there was no time for a full warm up, but Michael gathered everyone around and we were off.

Dragons began with the same five who started against Keighley and stormed into a 12 point lead, through Ronny and Michael, and were looking very strong in defence and attack, could this be the start of a comfortable victory?

I can tell you now that no one thought that as this Bradford team started to open up our previously water tight defence, with some excellent passing, movement and pace.

Bulls pushed forward at every opportunity and started to build an impressive score and Dragons were having difficulty making any inroads or adding to the scoring.

The first half came to a bit of an abrupt end for the Dragons and we were now down

Bradford Bulls 22 16 Dragons (I think, but never checked with the ref)

Michael pulled the team together, we were not playing badly, but were making some errors in defence and attack, it was time to get back to basics, play out the sets and work attacking positions by moving the defence about as much as possible.

That’s what the second half brought with us staying in touch, sometimes only just, as Bulls built an impressive 14 point lead midway through the half.

It was make or break time for the Dragons, 2 matches in 1 day was that too much for them, would tiredness kick in.

Not a chance, this team found inner strength that I haven’t witnessed very often, they hauled themselves back into the match and registered score after score to bring within four points with a 5 minutes left to play.

Michael Ronny and Jay were all on the scoresheet and a moment of magic from David with a kick to the corner touched down by Michael.

Three minutes to play and Dragons are still behind, but there was time for one more bit of brilliance, Ronny score to the side of the posts conversion by Michael we were now two points ahead with 3 minutes to play.

All we had to do was gather the kick off, play out the set and push them back down field.

Kick off gathered, ball played to the left, we’ve carried it out of play and Bulls have a chance from 6 metres out with a set of six to play.

They crash in we crash them back, they try again and again and go for it on the final tackle, but no way through, ball is handed to Ronny who smiles, you’ve seen that smile, and only 60 seconds to play.

Tackle 1 to tackle 5 and we barely move up the court, tackle 6 and the ball is passed to Ronny, yeah he smiles again, kicks the ball long and the match is over.

Bradford Bulls 46 48 Dundee Dragons

The tension on the touchline was palpable, I think Deborah may have a video of the final minute, not sure I want to relive it though.

Final kudos to Mairi she never played in the Bulls match, but here is what she said to me during the second half:

I’m not going on, you can’t take any of these guys off, they are playing great and it’s too close to make any changes.

Great hospitality followed with lots of rugby chat, no I don’t remember much about it or the uneventful journey home apart from trying to get out of Bradford, man do they have a lot of roundabouts and speed bumps.

Lessons to be learned.

Keep it simple and believe in ourselves.

Work hard and trust the team

Don’t let Stewart Squire anywhere near Google Maps!

Next match will be the Semi-Final of the Plate Competition, draw will be made week commencing 23 April, fingers crossed for a home draw where we can get a big Dragons support on the touch line.







Match Report by Kevin Rattray, DDWSC Vice-Chairman

vs st mirren warriors

Dragons welcomed St Mirren Warriors to Dundee for a decisive fixture in the Scottish Development League which followed very quickly after our double victory over Lothian Phoenix.

The club had made little fuss over the fixture but everyone on the sidelines knew that a victory would secure top spot in the development league.

The squad was changed for this match, I seem to say that a lot, with Ben Leitch returning after his time at the GB Under 23 Training Camp, as well as Mairi Simms returning from holiday, but unfortunately we were shorn of the services of Michael Mellon off to Invictus Games Trials, Ronny Robb off to Paris with Scotland Wheelchair 7’s to play France, Murran MacKay training hard for the London Marathon Festival and Stephen Carling still working out of town.

The squad assembled for the match with the exciting addition, under the clubs latest “non-youth” strategy of including Ian Hall and Kevin Rattray alongside Mairi Simms on the bench, no need to do the maths the average age was clearly close to 60.

Gemma’s comprehensive warm up, ok we’ll start in 10 minutes, 10 minutes later, maybe give them another 5 minutes, 5 minutes later, ok definitely we’ll do it in 5 minutes.

Was still a really good warm up and thanks due to Shayne McVicar for his help to get people moving.

The match started right on time with Gary Godsell, in glorious orange, that’s a lot of alliteration, alongside Owen Allan with both ably supported by table officials Sally Lumsdaine and Owen Leitch.

Dragons starting five consisted of Gemma Lumsdaine as guard working with Blair Marshall, Rhys Colliar working with Ben Leitch and David Birtles at point and the 3 reserves previously noted raring to get involved, well at least 2 of them were.

Dragons jumped into an early lead through Ben Leitch quickly finding space in tandem with Rhys Colliar and slotting multiple baskets before Warriors began to show with several baskets of their own and were working so hard to upset the rhythm the Dragons were trying to establish.

The first half settled into a steady stream of Dragons baskets from Ben, Blair and David with Warriors slotting several baskets of their own ensuring that there would be no complacency from the home team.

The first half drew to a close with Mairi replacing Gemma for the final couple of minutes and the score finishing at  Dundee Dragons 30 St Mirren Warriors 8.

The start of the second half saw Gemma’s brave experimentation kicking in as Ben was replaced by Ian Hall, making his debut.

St Mirren’s change was almost palpable as they switched to a full court press which the Dragons really struggled to break and the scoreboard started to tick in the favour of the visitors throughout the third quarter, with Dragons living off of a few scraps of possession.

With David close to being fouled out changes were made late in the quarter to steady the ship with Ben back in play.

The final quarter started with Warriors now only 15 down but with Dragons starting 5 back in play they started to find their shape and shooting skills with Ben and Blair to the fore, David adding to the score and the biggest cheer of the day reserved for another basket from Rhys this season, the work he and Gemma do is very often unnoticed but I’m sure Ben and Blair will tell you they couldn’t do what they do without the work of their 2 guards.

Dragons were now in control of the scoring, and even though the Warriors press was still effective it was now being broken much more consistently.

The Dragons surged towards the end of the match with Ben’s 3 pointer attempt slightly closer than Michael’s previous efforts but still without success and the final buzzer sounded with the score

Dundee Dragons 58 St Mirren Warriors 31

We concluded with food, drinks and general banter and many of the women who were in attendance stayed on for Jen Scally’s Women Warriors session.

Next match is our final home match of the season against Grampian Flyers on Saturday 28th April, be great to have as good a support as we saw yesterday.

Apologies for locking spectators out before the match but hope everyone enjoyed the result.

Thanks due at the end of the day for Garry and Owen who’s refereeing meant we all learnt something, and to Sally Lumsdaine and Owen Leitch for timekeeping, scoring etc.

Paula and David Leitch for helping with food, drinks, setting up, dismantling equipment and generally being fantastic Dundee Dragons.

Would like to give special mention to Gemma who has lead the senior basketball team on this fantastic league run and deserves all the credit she receives.

I will reflect on the season once we have finished all of the league fixtures and play offs and produce a full season report, and as a message for Tina let’s get next season organised!