ON paper, Ribble Valley Knight’s game against Manchester League opponents Thornleigh, looked set to be a straight forward victory, but it was far from that.
Thornleigh are languishing at the foot of the Second Division, having lost all their games, with Ribble Valley showing decent early season form and lying joint fourth going into the game.
But on walking in to the sports hall it was apparent that this would not be quite so easy - with temperatures more akin to a sauna than a basketball game, Thornleigh were obviously using their home court advantage by trying to slow the opposition down through heat exhaustion!
As the game began, the now customary bright start by Knights saw them jump in to an early lead thanks to six early points from Mike Moss and back-to-back baskets from David Fearn.
Point guard Jon Marfleet had been running things well until two quick fouls meant he had to sit the remainder of the first quarter, and his replacement Adam Taylor wasted no time in adding his name to the scoresheet with nine points in four minutes, which saw Ribble Valley finish the period with a healthy 22-9 advantage.
The second quarter began brightly enough with Matthew Taylor demonstrating his long-range shooting skills through consecutive three-pointers as Knights extended their lead to 28- 11, but they inexplicably lost their ability to put the ball in the basket as a six-minute scoring drought saw Thornleigh close the gap to eight by the end of the half, at 31-23.
Needing to up their tempo, Knights began the second half with renewed effort and it paid dividends as the defensive intensity created some turnovers leading to easy scores for Geoff Bogle and Adam Taylor, and a 14-point advantage.
In the final period, despite some scrappy play, the locals managed to extend their lead to a virtually unassailable 19 points midway through. But once again indiscipline and miscommunication saw Knights go scoreless for four minutes, though fortunately Thornleigh were unable to take any significant advantage and Ribble Valley limped home to a 65-50 victory.
Jim Cooke, Patrick Simmons and Connor Ryan stood out on the night, but man of the match was Matt Taylor who netted 18 points with a great display of outside shooting.
Anyone interested in playing basketball is welcome to attend training sessions, with more information at www.ribblevalleyknights.co.uk