National Cup

COB Rockets 78-81 (Over Time) West Bromwich Albion

The Rockets almost pulled off a memorable cup shock in the season opener against local rivals and recently promoted to Division 3, West Bromwich Albion. Showing great cohesion the Rockets started well with Ronald Oberia and Emmanuel Bradshaw connecting from downtown and last season’s MVP Matt Catlow proving a real handful inside. Albion kept in touch but it was the Rockets who held a 25-17 lead at the end of a frenetic first quarter.

The second period saw the visitors turn up their intensity as COB struggled to convert offensively. With Catlow, Bradshaw and Oberia all picking up 2 fouls, it was Rockets junior Aleks Djukic who helped to keep the scoreboard ticking over. However by the time the half time buzzer sounded the game was tied 38-38 with everything to play for in the second half.

Both teams struggled to find rhythm at the start of the third stanza. During an edgy period it was Albion who gained momentum with several Rockets turnovers leading to easy transition points and helping them build a 58-48 lead.

It was another Rockets junior in Matt Tomlinson who gave Coach Williams some much needed impetus and slowly cut into Albion’s lead. Scores from Catlow, Oberia and a big 3 from Funganayi Chogugudza saw COB claw the visitors back before veteran Ezran Little tied the game up and send the home crowd wild with delight. A missed Albion jump shot in the final seconds saw the game go into overtime at 74-74.

After an early Albion score in the extra period, the Rockets took the lead on a Little score. Following a couple of good chances to extend the lead Rockets were left to rue the missed opportunities as the Black Country team kept composed at the free throw line to seal the win 81-78.

Plenty to be positive about for Rockets Head Coach Danny Williams though with the season’s opening league fixture approaching next Saturday at home to Derby Trailblazers (4.20pm) at Nechells Wellbeing Centre!