Nene Valley 74
Barking & Dagenham Erkenwald 71
Adrian Leclair drives past his defender.
Erks' Dave Churches grabs another offensive rebound.
Nene Valley triple-teams Adrian Leclair.
Declan McCusker completes the lay up.
Gary Glennard was not happy with Nene Valley's Stewart after being called for a foul.
Steve Herd and Dave Churches play "D".
Ed Bailey reflects on one of his three fouls.
Steve Herd (#9), Dave Churches (#14), Ed Bailey (#12), Robin French (#7), Adrian Leclair (#6), Declan McCusker (#4), Gary Glennard (#8).
All images Copyright 2005 Peter Horrell
Last year's Cup winners suffered a second defeat on Sunday night at Nene Valley. Overall it was a close game with neither side able to exert control over the other however the deadlock was broken with two minutes of the game remaining when Nene Valley's Stewart was sent to the line after being fouled attempting a trey. He coolly converted all three shots, extending the hosts lead 67 - 72, then, after Da Silva added another two points, Erks had it all to do with a minute remaining.
The way the game had ebbed and flowed, there was still a chance for Erks especially when Steve Herd stepped up to the foul line to shoot two foul shots. Unfortunately both attempts were unsuccessful and, although Steve and Adrian Leclair added a further two points each, time finally ran out for the Erks in this year's campaign.
At the start it seemed, despite missing forward Martin Overare and speedy guard Dela Agbolegbe from the line up, Erks would have enough strength with new point guard Adrian Leclair in their line-up. Adrian has already impressed with his aggressive play and ability to score at will and this was his first opportunity to show his game in the Founder's Cup competition. With Dave Churches, Ed Bailey and Steve Herd making up the backcourt and Robin French together with veterans Declan McCusker and Gary Glennard in the frontcourt, probably the only thing that could upset them would be a fast running game.
Erks' opponents, Nene Valley, were coached by Dave O'Hara (Founder's Cup organiser) and comprised twelve mostly younger and leaner players. The fact that Coach O'Hara had twelve players available was seen as a distinct advantage at the start since Coach McCusker only had seven to select from. However, fortunately for the Erks, this numerical and perceived age advantage was not a significant factor at the end.
Erks started the game encouragingly with Adrian Leclair hitting seven quick points including a three pointer. Dave Churches and Ed Bailey also found offensive success taking the visitors to a 15 - 9 lead. Unfortunately for Erks, the hosts responded with an 8 point run and ended the quarter 18 - 19 in front.
The second quarter was a similarly close affair with neither side being able to take advantage. Nene Valley hit four treys while Dave Churches showed his outside game by draining four treys of his own which took the score to 35 - 37 at the half.
Into the third quarter and Erks became increasingly frustrated by the apparent lack of fouls being called. The fact that only four fouls were called in the first half may have been something to do with it. This led to a technical foul being called on Gary Glennard and gave the game a bit more of an edge. Adrian Leclair and Dave Churches continued scoring however and at the end of the quarter the game was tied at 54.
The older Erks were definitely still in the game at the start of the final quarter and would have been expected to take the win however another technical foul, this time called on Declan McCusker, swung the advantage back to Nene Valley. Dave Churches responded with another trey and both teams continued scoring to tie the game at 67. Finally Da Silva added another two, Stewart was fouled attempting the trey and Erks suffered a second loss.
In retrospect, Martin Overare's absence may have been significant since he adds another offensive presence. Dave Churches scored an excellent 33 with Adrian Leclair adding 24 however Steve Herd was the only other Erk to hit double figures (10). Robin French is also one to watch for the future and his confidence will grow as he plays more. Defensively the Erks were solid but Nene Valley were able to convert a number of offensive rebounds into points which kept them in the game. Nene Valley also hit seven three pointers which definitely helped their cause.
Erks' final game is on Sunday December 18th against Shab Niaz's Harlow Hawks team. Tip off is 13:30 at Sydney Russell. Coach McCusker will be keen to welcome Shab back to Sydney Russell but send the Hawks away with a loss. It should be an intriguing match up.
Dave Churches 33 (5 treys), Adrian Leclair 24 (2 treys), Steve Herd 10, Ed Bailey 2, Declan McCusker 2, Gary Glennard, Robin French.
Report posted: 14/11/05