Wasps Through to Third Round of Shield
Hull Wasps made it through to the third-round of the National Shield with a 75-66 win over Middlesbrough Lions on Sunday evening.
The Wasps bounced back immediately against the Lions after losing out 92-85 on the previous night’s league encounter. On that occasion the Wasps fell behind after a poor start and were always playing catch-up to a Middlesbrough side looking for their first ever victory over the Wasps in three years of National League existence and by half-time, the visiting Lions had opened up a 6 point lead.
It was very much an even contest throughout the second half with scoring runs from both sides, but the home side just couldn’t muster up enough of performance to overcome the deficit. Sloppy passes and sloppy defending cost them overall and the Lions came away from the Bonus Arena with 2 points.
A hurting Wasps side a point to prove on the Sunday and it showed. A much improved performance saw them clearly focused on the previous night’s defeat and they were determined to show their home supporters that they can get back to winning ways.
It was a close opening start but the Wasps fell behind once again, finishing the opening quarter 15-17 behind. The Lions were looking for the double and to the home crowds despair, looked as though it would happen with a strong performance in the second quarter which opened a 9 point lead going into the half-time interval.
Wasps came out like after the break with a renewed determination and with the home support behind them, they overcame the 9 point deficit to lead by 1 going into the final period.
Another tense final period set-up for one of the most entertaining games of basketball. Both sides were scoring at both ends in the opening minutes of the quarter but the Wasps, determined on bouncing back, opened up a lead and never looked back, taking a 75-66 victory and opening up a third-round tie against Division 3 Leeds Carnegie II on Sunday 13th September.
Following the double-header weekend, Wasps player-coach Matt Fawcett said: “On the Saturday, we failed to stop their two main players and it cost us down the stretch. They repeatedly took a double digit lead and we kept fighting back to tie the game but by the end of the game, their shots dropped in for them and ours didn’t.”
“On the Sunday we were more determined than ever to get back to form. We didn’t want anybody coming in and winning on our floor once, let alone twice!”
“The first half belonged to Middlesbrough. Even though our defence was better we couldn’t get our offence going. But at half time we switched to a 2-3 zone and they couldn’t handle it. We took full advantage of that and started clawing our way back into the game. During the final period we blew the game wide open through fast paced passing and some excellent shooting.
"We were extremely disappointed to lose on Saturday and, if I could, I would swap these results and take the league win. However we have now progressed to the next round of the Shield and we have to be happy of our progress. I’m proud of the team and the way they bounced back. We needed the win. It was important and it will give us some confidence back ready to carry on in the league next week.”
Returning captain, John Brignell led the line in both games for the Wasps scoring 23 and 27 respectively. Matt Brutnell was sensational in Sunday’s Shield win with 16 points and 18 rebounds.