DUNDEE DRAGONS V ST MIRREN WARRIORS
SCOTTISH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE PLAY OFF FINAL
SATURDAY 12 MAY 2018 THE PEAK STIRLING 4PM TIP OFF
Match Report by Kevin Rattray
The starting five, as it was for the semi-final, was made up of Ben Leitch and Rhys Colliar, Gemma Lumsdaine and Blair Marshall and Michael Mellon still in the unusual position for him at point.
As before the bench was made up of Murran Mackay, Mairi Simms, Ronny Robb and making his debut John Willans, and Paula Leitch making the touchline decisions.
Dragons started the match very strong, this does seem to be a feature of our basketball matches, maybe need to have a word with our rugby players.
Ben was in the middle of everything we were doing well and when he was being closed down Blair was finding extra space to chip in with multiple baskets, although a few fouls saw him being replaced by Ronny towards the end of the first half, but he would return.
St Mirren were working so hard as the match progressed but Dragons defence was steadfast and proving very difficult to break down with Ben’s outrageous three pointer adding insult to injury.
The first period was dominated by Dragons but the second quarter saw Warriors up their game and draw closer although by half time the score was
Dundee Dragons 30 13 St Mirren Warrors
The second half saw multiple changes with John making his debut for Ben and Murran replacing Rhys.
Warriors sensed an opportunity and immediately introduced their top five players and a full court press which we pretty much found impossible to break down, inexperience was now adding to a complete turn around of fortunes with Warriors now completely in charge and the press was hugely effective, driven on by an almost apoplectic and hysterical Warriors bench
Dragons were now in complete meltdown with arguments, indecision and uncertainty turning the game from a seventeen-point lead into a six point lead.
The end of the third period came, Gemma got everyone together, changed the line-up and the game was back on.
Dragons came out to the final quarter with a renewed sense of purpose, the press was now less effective, and Ben was drawing 2 and 3 players to him.
This could only mean one thing there was space for everyone else, John got in on the scoring, his first in a competitive match, Blair was back on and into the scoring but the biggest cheers of the final period came for Rhys; two baskets, that boy works so hard at creating space and scoring opportunities for others it’s always so thrilling when he gets in on the scoring.
Dragons were now in complete control and the Warriors bench went strangely quiet, this may not make me sound classy but that felt good.
Michael concluded the scoring and celebration began as the match ended with the score
Dundee Dragons 54 : 33 St Mirren Warriors
What followed was great respect shown by all Dragons players to all Warriors players and vice versa, to be honest this is probably the thing about the sport that I find most compelling.
As with the semi-final I also want to draw attention to some phenomenal play by some St Mirren players, again not in a patronising way, but Sarah McCaffrey was quite exceptional with her movement and shooting skills.
David Hird, who within 10 minutes had accrued 4 fouls, then showed incredible discipline for the rest of the match to avoid any foul play but still make a huge contribution, particularly during the third period when he was instrumental in the comeback.
The season saw Dragons Senior Basketball team finish with a 100% Development League record, an impressive statistic in anyone’s language.
Next season will doubtless see changes in the team make up as we introduce new players and maybe lose players to bigger and better opportunities.
From my point of view this, my first full basketball season, has been filled with joy and excitement and a respect for everyone who plays, coaches and volunteers.
I’m going to produce a player retrospective later this week which hopefully everyone will enjoy, expect it to be slightly flippant but always complimentary.
Onwards into the new season 2018/2019 should be fun.
DUNDEE DRAGONS V GRAMPIAN FLYERS
SCOTTISH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE
PLAY OFF SEMI-FINAL
SATURDAY 12 MAY 2018 THE PEAK STIRLING 10.30AM TIP OFF
Match Report by Kevin Rattray
Dragons arrived at the Peak with a heavy burden on their shoulders, a 100% record was going to be difficult to maintain as Grampian Flyers, Lothian Phoenix and St Mirren warriors had arrived with very strong squads and a determination to knock us down to earth.
Our first match, and a semi-final, was to be against our perennial rivals Grampian Flyers who we had narrowly defeated by 2 points only 2 weeks previously, a match I believe sent Sally and Paula into near heart failure with a final Flyers basket attempt coming back of the rim as the final hooter sounded.
Dragons match day squad saw us missing our first choice poin,t David Birtles, as well as Stephen Carling, Kevin Myers and the legend that is Ian “Toon” Hall.
The starting five was Ben Leitch and Rhys Colliar, Gemma Lumsdaine and Blair Marshall and Michael Mellon in the somewhat unusual position for him at point.
The bench was made up of Murran Mackay, Mairi Simms, Ronny Robb and making his debut John Willans, and Paula Leitch making the touchline decisions (ok Gemma was telling her what to do but still the pressure was palpable)
The match started at an intensity I frankly haven’t seen in any other Development League fixture this season, Flyers were here to win there could be no doubt about that.
Dragons started well with Ben getting the scoreboard ticking ably supported by Blair, but the Flyers stormed back at every opportunity matching us score for score and constantly disrupting Dragons attacking structures.
It was clear that there would not be many changes to the dragons line-up as the team worked as hard as they’ve ever had to and the fear was that too many changes would disrupt the shape and intensity of the team.
The first half came to an end with the dragons seven-point lead from the first quarter being maintained by a three pointer from Michael with the score sitting at
Dundee Dragons 25 18 Grampian Flyers
The second half saw Ronny introduced for Blair and Murran replacing Rhys.
The half started as the first half ended with Flyers throwing everything at the Dragons and Katie on the Flyers side-line imploring her side to give more, not sure how they could to be honest.
The 2 quarters went past in a blur with score after score, first Dragons then Flyers or Flyers then Dragons, my head was starting to spin to be honest so I turned to Paula to ask if it was like this at the previous match, no that was much worse, not sure how that could be!
Ben was still leading our scoring but Blair, Ronny and Michael were also getting in on the act.
I think I spent as much time looking at the clock to be honest, I’m sure it had come to a standstill but finally the time came the hooter went, yes! we had won with the score finishing
Dundee Dragons 51 44 Grampian Flyers
I really can’t emphasise enough about what a thrilling match this was and although I generally leave the other team to give credit to their players but as this was such a big match I can’t disregard how excellent Flyers played, not in a patronising way, but Austin and Wayne really drove the Flyers forward and could not have done more for their team.
This was particularly apparent with the scoring as after Dragons quick start every period was then tied, phew!
For us Ben of course, but well supported by Blair, Michael playing out of position, our two guards Gemma and Rhys who do so much of that unglamorous work as well as Murran and Ronny bringing energy and movement into what was an absolute cauldron.
It was time to move onto the final against St Mirren warriors who had defeated Lothian Phoenix in the other semi-final.