Double Delight as Wasps Finish Season

12/03/2012 00:00

Hull Wasps completed their season with a two dramatic wins this weekend. An injury-hit Wasps side defeated Mold Magic 79-65, in front of their home crowd at the Bonus Arena on Saturday night before holding out for 66-64 victory at Bradford Maroons on the Sunday.

With fourth spot up for grabs, the Wasps set out this weekend looking to finish the job and set a new club record with thirty league points this season. But a sluggish first-half performance against the Magic made the task a lot more difficult as the home side found themselves down by ten points at half-time.

Missing their influential captain, John Brignell and forward James Rayner, the Wasps looked out of sorts in the first half.  It was a different story in the second half with the Wasps gradually chipping away at the visitors to reduce the deficit to just three points at the end of the third, 53-50. The Wasps finally found top gear to rally past the visitors in the fourth to take the game at 79-65.

With only eight players available for selection, Matt Fawcett took his side to a Bradford Maroons side with something to prove. After a disappointing season for last year’s division three side, the Maroons were looking to restore some pride at the expense of the Wasps.

A good strong opening quarter for the Wasps gave them a narrow 27-22 lead. But a poor second quarter allowed the Maroons to come back and take a 41-38 lead before half-time. The Wasps hit back again though with a stunning third quarter performance to take the lead again at 53-47 to set up an exciting final quarter. The Wasps, looking tired without their full squad, held on for the narrow 66-64 win to complete the double over the Bradford Maroons.

“I can’t express enough how proud I am of my players” said Wasps coach Matt Fawcett following both games.

“The guys have been terrific all season and the results this weekend have finished off what has been probably our best season so far. We’ve looked tired this weekend and we knew it would be hard to overcome the disappointment of last week’s result [against Liverpool]. But the guys dug in there for both games to get the results.

“It was fantastic to come back the way we did against the Magic. They were a tough side and their league position doesn’t do them justice. They have some good players and they were a bit unlucky in the final quarter but we took control and it was nice to do it in front of our home fans. They deserve it the most.

“Against Bradford we knew it would be even harder. Injuries have hit us hard in the past couple of weeks, and the game last night took it out of a few of the players. We only had eight with us including myself so it was tough but we fought hard and got the win.”

With the Wasps winning both of their games this weekend, Burnley must win their final game to leapfrog the Wasps into fourth. Both teams would finish the season on thirty points each with the same win-loss ratio. However, with the head-to-head at one game each, Burnley’s winning margin was much bigger and therefore means that they will take fourth position if they win next Sunday.

“We’ve done all that we can now and we must hope Bradford can do us a favour next week when Burnley come here” continued Fawcett.

“It would be nice to finish in fourth. I think we deserve it. We’ve been there since Christmas but we knew that the result against Liverpool was poor and sadly it may mean we miss out. It’s been an amazing season though and we must remember that. We will come back even stronger next year and once again go for promotion."