Nechells Sports Centre – Saturday 15 November

This weekend finally saw COB under-13’s play their first home matches, the first of two double headers this season. Coach Lacey expected nothing less than a comfortable win in from Saturday’s match against Leicester Riders, whilst the match at the second home venue, Dame Elizabeth / Cadbury Sports Hall, on Sunday against the unbeaten Derby Trailblazers, promised to provide a much more difficult proposition – however things did not turn out exactly that way.

Making my fashionably late entrance into Saturdays match, COB quickly raced into a 10-2 lead. The ease with which they were scoring may have led to some complacency, with a few mistakes coming in due to COB’s haste to boost the scoreline. The opposition however were unable to capitalise, going in at the break 20-7 down and unable to find an answer to Birmingham’s dominance. Lacey and Ashford scored 8 and 6 respectively, setting the tone for the remainder of the match, whilst Wallace-Steel put in some good work with a defensive rebound and an assist.

Coach Lacey’s pre-match plan was to build up a sizable lead by half-time before conserving energy rather that than having to chase, and understandably so with tomorrow’s fixture in mind. Leicester’s objective would have been to reduce the deficit by containing CoB and get themselves back into the match.

With the opposition having about as much luck as a space station landing on a comet without bouncing, the outcome of the second quarter was overwhelmingly in CoB’s favour. Faure-Lewis joined the party with a bang, adding to his basket a rebound, a defensive rebound and at least four assists in this period alone.

In one of the most complete displays of basketball we have seen, CoB took the quarter 21-4 to lead 41-11 at half time, with the highly animated Leicester coach grabbing and rattling his chair like Hulk Hogan having a second burst of energy in a WWF match up. The reality of the match was less glamorous as it took on the look of a training match (although one of the referees looked very much like a young Gareth Bale, I thought).

Forgetting about coach Lacey’s pre-match plan, I repositioned myself to the basket CoB be would be attacking in the second half and thought I would try to get some photos of our young stars destroying the net. I would have been more likely to catch some shots of CoB’s defensive stances, with the home team understandably slowing things down, to tie the third quarter 8-8, with Gill, Rupra and Patterson starring.

Having moved seats, I ended up next to the parents of the away team, with one of their dads in particular being overly vocal and unsporting, both in celebration of his own teams scores and any CoB errors. “Hmmm, the lesser spotted Hooligan breed of the indigenous Football Fan species” I thought – hadn’t these all been taken into captivity? Apparently a few rare examples of their dominant genes do remain in the wild.

The final quarter saw CoB step on the gas again, Lacey in particular taking advantage of his rest in the previous quarter, scoring or assisting in 8 of the 11 baskets cob sunk in the period.

The final score of 71-25 completed CoB’s biggest win of the season, amongst a great atmosphere at Nechells with at least four other club matches taking place there on the same day. But minds were immediately on Sunday’s match with Derby, and preparations for replenishment, rest and recuperation started now for the bigger battle ahead…

Scorers: Lacey 28, Faure-Lewis 10, Ashford 10, Wallace-Steele 6, Patterson 4, Gaynor 4, Moorman 2, Gill 2, McBrien 2.

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Riders fans scratch their heads as CoB’s Lacey dismantles their defensive setup