DUNDEE DRAGONS V GRAMPIAN FLYERS
SCOTTISH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE
SATURDAY 28 APRIL DUNDEE AND ANGUS COLLEGE GARDYNE CAMPUS 2018
MATCH REPORT BY SALLY LUMSDAINE
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.