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NATIONAL League basketball was on the menu at North Berwick Sports Centre when East Lothian Peregrines met Edinburgh Kings. There was a considerable personnel gulf between the two sides, Kings having the luxury to rest star Australian forward Brett Jeffries and still have a side containing four internationalists in their twelve man squad - whilst the Ps only had seven players in total! The game got off to tense start with both teams being defensive and the Ps showing they were not going to be pushed around by their opponents. The Flockhart Brothers opened the scoring for Ps with Simon Flockhart (no relation) responding for Kings. Gavin Dunn defended well and did not allow Kings Captain Kevin Anderson any shooting opportunities. Q1 ended with the Ps leading 16- 15.

There was no let-up in Q2 as the 200 local fans got behind the Ps and there was a special cheer for Sean Hume when he opened his account. Forward Peter Lyons was also playing hard at both end of the court which was proving slippy for the players due to a drip from the roof ! Commonwealth Games guard Laurie Costello was also finding his range but the Ps continued to thwart their opponents and went into a 29 - 22 lead before the Kings hit back through Simon Flockhart and sneaked ahead 30 - 29 at the interval. One disappointing feature of the first half was the ten turnovers incurred by the Ps.

The crowd had been thoroughly entertained and were looking forward to the second half in the hope of a major upset but this was short-lived when the Ps lost the ball six times in the first three minutes of Q3 when Kings Coach Danny Costello put a full court press on that resulted in guard Richard Foxley being under intense pressure. Kings racked up the baskets especially through Gareth Lodge who made up for his quiet first-half and the Ps had little response and Q3 was lost by a massive 22-6. With a 19pt advantage Kings were able to play their bench and Spaniard Lopez , who only played in the second half took full advantage with 15 points. The Ps, although tired, maintained their competitive spirit but could not cut the deficit and the game ended 77 - 49 in favour of Kings. Top scorers for Ps were Campbell Flockhart 11, Sean Hume 10 and Peter Lyons 9 whereas Kings' points were from Simon Flockhart 29, Gareth Lodge 15 , Costello and Lopez 12 each. Peregrines Coach Steve Duff will be pleased with the first-half performance of his players and when he finally gets all his team fit can look forward to improving in the second half of the season although the Ps will be in the lower half of the National League split. A big thanks for Friday's game must go to North Berwick Basketball Club's officials and to the staff of North Berwick Sports Centre for organising and staffing the event magnificently

 

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NORTH Berwick Sports Centre will host its first senior men's National Basketball League on Friday, November 24, when East Lothian Pergrines host the Edinburgh Kinds (8.00pm). This landmark clash was made possible through some great partnership working between North Basketball Club, North Berwick High School and East Lothian Council. This group has managed to come together to put a funding package in place which has led to the installation of a pair of state of the art, remote controlled, ceiling retractable baskets. North Berwick Sports Centre has been without a regulation basketball court for almost a decade. Eight years ago the baskets originally installed when the sports centre was first opened were deemed to be unsafe and so were dismantled and removed from the building. That was bad news for the local high school as it meant NBHS was the only high school in the authority without local access to a regulation basketball court. With the formation of North Berwick Basketball Club in 2000, basketball was again on the agenda. The club has lobbied hard for an improvement in basketball facilities during their six years. Stephen Duff, East Lothian Council’s Senior Sports Development Officer, commented, " North Berwick Basketball Club have worked very hard over the years to continually improve their capacity for provision at the sports centre. The club is led by a well organized and efficient committee and is lucky to have the services of an extremely committed and motivational head coach. The club’s ability to access external funding and their commitment to the cause has made them a very easy partner to work with." The basketball club was awarded a £5000 grant by Awards For All and East Lothian Council and North Berwick High School have also made contributions in order to pull a financial package together which has led to the new baskets being installed. Marie Caie, Head Coach of North Berwick Basketball Club, commented, " We planned to arrange an exhibition match featuring the East Lothian Peregrines to celebrate the installation of the new baskets. Little did we know that we’d be hosting the biggest match of the Peregrines season so far." The Peregrines v Kings game will most certainly be a sell out. Tickets can be bought in advance from Law Cycles in North Berwick or from NBBC committee members. Alternatively, tickets can be booked in advance by calling Stephen Duff at the Sports Development Office on 01875 619068. Tickets prices are family £5, adult £3, child £1

 

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WHEELCHAIR Basketball side, Lothian Phoenix, recorded their second win in a row in their first season in the British Wheelchair Basketball League, Division Three (North), by beating Bolton Bulls. The match report of the game is featured in our new and exciting publication. The coverage given to all sports in The Pink2 is truly remarkable and the links to national associations and other relevant websites, such as Sky Sports, opens the door to a mountain of information and other features. Go through the catchlines on the home page and start reading all about sport, all sports, for that matter. If you enjoy sport, you will enjoy yourself totally with all that is currently featured in The Pink2.

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LOTHIAN Phoenix beat Bolton Bulls 48-19 to record their second win in a row in the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball League (North), writes MARTIN DOUGAN. Following their opening success against Bury in their inaugural game in the Division Three (North) League, confidence was running high in the dressing room of the Lothian Phoenix prior to the start of their second test. However, the Bolton Bulls, were a tougher and more established side than the previous opponents, having competed in the second division last year and being strong contenders for promotion again this time around. It was clear from the determination and focus shown on the face of Scottish coach, Steve Duff', that he was well aware this would be a tougher test for the fledgling Phoenix in only their second game in the league. A victory would be a significant accomplishment; defeat would put the fledgling team’s hopes of promotion on very thin ice. In the first quarter the Scottish side got off to a great start by getting on the scoreboard first with a basket from Gary Smith. Midway through the first quarter and Lothian still hadn’t conceded a basket. and the first quarter ended 14-0 to Phoenix. In the second quarter both teams came out with the same tactics as the first and finally the home side got their long awaited basket with The Bulls No 8 getting his team on track but that still wasn’t enough to stop the Lothian side from keeping their composure and they increased their lkead to 24-6 going into half time. Robert O’Rourke showed his worth with and impressive twelve points to himself at the half-time break. The Phoenix half time team talk consisted of Coach, Stevie Duff, emphasising the need for the team to be ready for the inevitable pressing tactics of a Bolton on the restart. Duff warned his side against complacency and reminded them that the words of the much clichéd football commentators held true in this instance, “it’s a game of two halves”!. He added: “You’ve got to win both to win the contest!” The words of the coach left the Phoenix players in no doubt about what was required to keep their unbeaten record intact. In the third quarter the Phoenix side yet again came out with all guns blazing on offence and defence, frustrating their opponents with a commanding presence in defense and sharp movement on attack. Leading by example, Stevie Duff amassed a total of eight out of the ten points that were scored in the third period. The Bulls also managed to keep there game alive by getting a share of the baskets. The game entered the final quarter with score being 34-11 in favor of the new comers. In the final ten minutes of play the tempo of the game continued with both teams moving well up and down the court and still managing to get points on the board. The home side certainly had their best quarter with eight points added to their tally but the Lothian outfit finished well on top with a 48-19 win. Duff, commented after the game: “This has been an excellent start to the Phoenix’s first season playing competitive basketball. The team has certainly exceeded my pre-season expectations so far. The challenge for us will be to keep this momentum going throughout the remainder of the season. For me, that is a great problem to have following our first two matches in the league. Rest assured, we will be working very hard at training in preparation for our next match and I will be pushing the players to further excel on the floor during training and in our forthcoming matches. Two wins out of two is a great start, but that doesn’t win the league. We need to continue to improve our performances if we are to be contenders at the end of the season.”

 

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IT is not only football that is back in action with the very active wheelchair basketball in East Lothian back in full swing after the summer break. Stephen Duff is the wonderful and enthusiastic correspondent for this sport and he has contributed this match report of their opening national league game between Lothian Phoenix and Bury Blue Devils. Lothian Phoenix won this game 48-19. Stephen said: “Well, the Lothian team finally got their first long awaited season underway on Saturday against the Bury Blue Devils. Two minutes before tip-off you could really feel both a tense and anxious feeling surround the court which undoubtedly was coming from the Lothian bench. After all it was now time for this new team to put theory into practice and to keep themselves positive so that they could get that promising start the fledgling Phoenix players all wanted to ignite their inaugural season in the GBWBA Third Division North. In the first quarter both teams got off to a slow start and within a couple of minutes Lothian found themselves on the back foot with Bury’s number 23 breaking the dead lock to put his team 2-0 up. However, Michael Jordan analogies aside, it didn’t take the visitors long to get rid of those pre match nerves, answering back with a run of thirteen straight points before letting the home side deliver their second basket. In this quarter Lothian seemed to be using zoned defence which Bury found difficult to breakdown. The quarter finished 15-4 in favour of Lothian.

The game seemed to be becoming a bit one sided with Lothian only conceding one basket the whole quarter and troubling their hosts by adding another twelve points to their score. The half time buzzer sounded and the new comers looked comfortable with a 27-5 lead. Just before the second half was due to start I looked over at the Lothian bench and saw that Stevie Duff seemed happy with his team’s progress so far but never at any point did he look as though he wanted to stop there signalling clear instructions to his team for the second half. In the third quarter Lothian changed to a half court pressure defence which resulted in the league rookies conceding ten to their rivals but Lothian still finished on top with twelve in the third. There wasn’t a lot of action in the fourth with both teams only managing six baskets between them. The game ended 48-19 to Lothian!”


 

Player/Coach Stevie Duff managed an impressive fourteen points for the contest, but it was the overall team performance that left the assembled scouting parties from the rest of the division with the quandary of how to stop the impressive newcomers. He added: “This was a great start to this new club’s first season in the GBWBA Third Division North. To start the campaign with a win is absolutely fantastic. Tomorrow in Bolton will be a tough test for us. The Bolton team played in the second division last year and will be formidable opponents. It might be that our toughest test of the season has come a little too early for us, but based on today’s performance, I am sure we will be able to put up a good show. The spirit demonstrated by the players today was top drawer. They did exactly what was asked of them and exceeded my expectations going into our first game. Based on this performance, the Phoenix future looks bright. I’m very proud of the team.”

 

 

 

 

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