Not such a happy new year so far for the Ribble Valley Knights!

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RIBBLE Valley Knights would certainly like to turn the clock back to 2011 after a torrid start to the New Year in the Manchester Area Basketball League.

The first game of 2012 saw Knights visit lowly Our Lady’s and, despite the absence of two starting players, the locats competed well in the first quarter and trailed 19-17.

With their two missing players being sharp-shooter Matt Taylor and team leading scorer Adam Taylor, Ribble Valley had to look elsewhere for their points and Mike Moss and Simon Templeman stepped up to score a combined 13.

The second period begin as the first had ended, with the teams trading baskets, but then Knights suddenly went to sleep at both ends of the court and allowed Our Lady’s to compile a 10-0 run which meant that, despite six quick points by Mike Moss, Ribble Valley went in to the break trailing 41-30.

Once again the third quarter proved pivotal, with Our Lady’s extending their advantage as Knights could only muster a paltry six points. Despite a mini-rally towards the end of the game when Our Lady’s were giving their bench players some court time, the Clitheroe team were well beaten as they succumbed 78-60.

Man of the match was Moss, who, despite getting little help from his under-performing teammates, managed to keep Knights in the game with 33 points!

After such a poor result, expectations were not too high for the second game of the year as visitors were new league leaders, and by far the tallest squad, West Leigh, who destroyed Ribble Valley in the opening game of the season by 70 points.

The locals’ pride was at stake, and, as both teams started with aggressive man-for-man defense, scoring was sparse with West Leigh edging to a 9-3 lead. But midway through the first quarter the visitors seemed to get the measure of the Knights’ defence and began to exploit the huge size advantage, pounding the ball inside to their big men who stretched the lead rapidly, ending the first quarter with a commanding 28-7 lead.

Sadly for Knights this was to set the tone for the remainder of the game, with the combination of Knights’ misfiring offense and West Leigh’s intense defense, restricting the home team to a paltry 23 points whilst the visitors sailed past the 100 mark!

These two results drop the team to eighth place in the division and therefore currently out of play-off contention.

The schedule gets no easier for Knights, with back-to-back games, and in order to get back in the running for a play-off place, at least one victory is a must!

Anyone interested in playing basketball is welcome to attend training sessions.

More information is available at the website www.ribblevalleyknights.co.uk