For a second consecutive Sunday, City of Birmingham Rockets came within touching distance of eliminating Division 3 outfit Team Wolverhampton from a knockout competition, only to be cruelly denied once again in a nail biting finish.
The Rockets led by five points going into the final quarter of the National Shield 1st round encounter at the Wolves’ Walsall base, and held a one point advantage going into the final minute. Ronald Oberia again top scored with 16, and Ferris Murray played an important role in the match and won two late free throws. However the failure to convert these proved expensive, as a foul at the death could not stop Wolverhampton retaking the lead. The home team hung on for the final few seconds to progress, 59-58, to the second round.
The Rockets themselves entertain Mets II next weekend in their second league match, following defeat in the opener against Derby on Saturday. Coach Danny Williams was left scratching his head as a lacklustre final quarter saw his team turn a two point lead into an 82-89 defeat. Oberia again starred, with 26 points, and Funganayi ‘Nashy’ Chugugudza was also singled out for praise.
“Nash was really positive, he was aggressive, he was attacking the whole time, he was really positive defensively as well” commented Coach Williams, “We just weren’t committed enough to getting it finished, there’s a lot of end of game stuff which is a concern to me, because we’ve got a lot of experienced players in our program”.