All images Copyright 2007 Peter Horrell
The reigning Essex Met champions were stunned by Forest, as shorn of their national league contingent and missing the inspiration of coach Declan McCusker, their ageing squad surrendered a 12 point third quarter lead amidst a hail of turnovers and some matador defense that allowed lay up after lay up for an enthusiastic Forest side who thoroughly deserved their victory.
The school side, led by big man Strike and with eye-catching performances from guards Pardo and Pennock, at times ran the legs off the Erks, who perhaps persisted with a man to man defence too long, once it became clear that the speedy Forest guards were getting into the lane with ease and also that some of the Erks contingent (average age at least double that of Forest) were either exhausted, saving their effort for the offensive end or are incapable of playing any help defence.
The game was close for much of the first half, as Pardo lead the attack for Forest and Martin Overare scored at will for the Erks, however a late burst of defensive effort gave the Erks a 36-29 halftime lead. That lead had stretched to 12 midway through the third quarter, before the Erks, presumably assuming the game to be won, started to throw careless passes across the top of the key and allowed the rangy Pennock to make move after move to the basket, most of which he finished with aplomb.
As Forest took the lead at the start of the fourth quarter, the Erks offence started to stagnate, as shots were hitting the front of the rim, drives to the hole were more in hope than expectation, and the space for Martin Overare started to disappear as Forest, scenting a victory, played with more intensity. Ultimately, the Erks were unable to get sufficient defensive stops to claw themselves level and Forest were able to run out the final seconds to claim a famous victory.
Forest: Pardo 21, Pennock 21, Strike 19, Odesemi 6, Hill 5, Risk 2
Erks: Overare 26, Atkinson 12, Sims 12, Lee 8, Agbolegbe 6, Glennard 3, Williams 2
Report posted: 11/11/07