Erks tipped off their defence of the Essex Met League crown with a victory over old local rivals Eastbury at Sydney Russell School. In the absence of the Erks national league contingent and with Coach Declan McCusker also missing on family duty, Gary Glennard took up the coaching reigns with a 6 man squad long, and in some cases wide on experience.
From the outset, the Tigers main threat Italian guard Ornella looked to drive and pull up and veteran Wood just looked to drive, both achieving a certain amount of success in the first quarter as the Tigers hung in at 9-10 with 7 minutes gone, provoking the first of Coach Glennard's "you lot are useless" timeouts of the new season. Suitably fired-up, the Erks embarked on a 12-0 run, with a couple of Gareth Sims treys adding to the usual first half barrage of mid-range jump-shots from Lee Atkinson.
Despite most of the Tigers squad having played against Atkinson for at least 15 years, it regularly takes at least 20 minutes before their sag-off zone makes the necessary adjustments to stop Atkinson being given the sort of uncontested mid-range shots that he makes in his sleep.
With Atkinson and Sims firing away from outside the Erks offence was somewhat one dimensional, but with Tigers struggling to score at the other end, the Erks were still relatively comfortable, taking a 28-15 lead into the half-time break.
The second half went to the script for the Erks, with Tigers once again struggling for baskets, only the occasional circus shot from Ornella and the odd drive to the hoop troubling the scorers. Erks centre, Richard Williams, returning to action after a couple of seasons absence, an ACL reconstruction and the addition of a couple of stones, protected the basket well on defence and pulled down the boards to enable Glennard and Dela Agbolegbe to get out on the break. As Tigers tired, Erks forward Martin Overare started to rack up the points as the spaces opened up and Gary Glennard started to find his shot and roll out the behind the back passes in a virtuoso garbage time performance as the Erks eased to a 72-35 victory.
Overare 18, Glennard 18, Atkinson 16, Sims 14, Agbolegbe 4, Williams 2
Ornella 18, Greenidge 8, Wood 7, Olver 2.
Report posted: 20/10/07