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NWBA: Brewers 41 Wirral Raptors 52

28th September, 2022 | News | 0 comments

Their first home game of the season set the Brewers against a familiar foe – Wirral Raptors.

Coached by former Brewers boss Tom Griffiths and featuring a number of ex-Brewers, the Raptors have been formidable in the North Wales Basketball Association Senior League since they joined.

Last season they beat the Brewers by 50 points, but this is a new season for the Brewers under new Head Coach Adam Lloyd and they started confidently

With debutants Niel Gillard and Luke Sharland-Wong in the starting line-up, the Brewers took the fight to the Raptors, their trademark tough defence complimented by smart offence as the home side finished the first quarter up 14-11.

With Gillard and Wissam Elkak sharing the point and tough work inside from Joe Hughes and Dave Thomas the second quarter started well for the Brewers. 

But the Raptors began to adapt and they worked enough openings to swing the quarter in their favour. Going into half-time the Raptors led by three points 26-23.

At the break Coach Lloyd spurred his team to break their third-quarter curse and they responded, locking down on defence and running their plays to win the quarter and reduce the deficit to two points backed by a wall of noise from the home bench.

Elkak was impressive again, top-scoring for the second successive game with 11 points while Hughes – who bagged 10 points – was setting the tone among the forwards. As subs rotated in they kept things tight as the Brewers headed into the final quarter looking for the win.

But foul trouble plus some streaky three-point shooting from another former Brewer – Jordan Smith – took the game away from the home side in the final two minutes as it ended 52-41 to the Raptors.

“Tonight I was incredibly proud of the lads,” said Lloyd after the game. “No-one gave us a chance before this game, everyone looked at last year and the 50-point losses and said this was a given for the Raptors.

“But I believed we could win and I think if you ask them tonight they will tell you that was no walk in the park. We gave them a hell of a game.

“Special shout-out to Joe. He took the MVP award and it was well deserved. Every one of our lads worked hard and played well, but Joe found another gear in this game and it was fantastic to watch.

“We ran our sets well and they worked. The lads put all our hard work in the off season onto the floor and we almost came away with the result.

“If we keep doing what we have been and improving we will surprise some people this year. I won’t be surprised though, We’ve got a special group here and I think they are capable of putting together an exciting, winning campaign.”

Brewers Basketball is supported by LMC Lighting & Electrical Services, Pivotal Sound & Lighting and Quarry & Castle.