THIS week saw Ribble Valley Knights travel down the A59 to take on Preston Pride, but hopes of revenge for an early season two-point defeat were shattered.
In their previous meeting, Knights had been ahead for almost all of the match, and then a combination of poor substitutions and sloppy play late in the game by Ribble Valley saw the visitors from Preston steal the points in the very last seconds.
This time it was Preston who began stronger and, with Knights’ shots not dropping, you got the feeling it was not going to be their day.
With more shots bouncing out than falling through the basket, the Ribble Valley team were held to a paltry six points in the first quarter as Pride jumped out to an 18-6 lead.
The second period was a much closer affair, with the Clitheroe side edging it by a point thanks mainly to some good three-point shooting by Adam Taylor, but still they trailed 29-18 at the half.
So a strong third quarter was required to get Ribble Valley back into contention, and early baskets from Matt Taylor and Simon Templeman edged them closer to their hosts.
But then midway through the third period, Knights’ defensive intensity lapsed and Preston went on a 10-0 scoring run that helped them extend their lead to 49-29 after three quarters.
In basketball, a 20-point margin is by no means insurmountable, even with only one quarter of play remaining.
However, Knights’ defence was tiring and Preston were finding it ever easier to get to the basket for easy scores, so when Pride started the final period with a 14-2 run, it was sadly all over for Knights.
The final scoreline of 43-77 perhaps flattered Preston a little, as Ribble Valley had numerous good shots that just rimmed out and which, on another day, may well have dropped in.
But nonetheless, Pride earned their victory and proved that their early season triumph was no fluke.
Despite the result there were some good performances from Knights, with Simon Templeman just edging the man of the- match honours for the Ribble Valley squad.
Anyone interested in playing basketball is welcome to attend the club’s junior or senior training sessions.
More information is available on the team’s website – www.ribblevalleyknights.co.uk