Sharks II Rosebowl Roundup: The Group Stages!!

With a tough draw in the Medway Cup and Plate earlier in the year and after just missing out on top spot in Division 2 to New House, the Rosebowl competition comes along at just the right time for us to try and win something in what has otherwise been a great season for Sharks II. We found ourselves drawn into Pool A and against some familiar opposition and interesting handicaps!

Game 1 - Wednesday 19th April, Away v Guru Nanak, 35 points up.

Having already met Guru in the Cup this year we were relishing the chance of a rematch as our previous meeting had lots of positives to take into this game. Both teams were missing a couple of players and we needed a better defensive performance to keep our depleted squad in the game. The game started at a decent pace as we looked to extend the lead early on and a handful of steels from the twins helped us get on the way.

A strong effort in defense was helping us to build momentum in the front court as Guru struggled to claw back any of the deficit. Mindy picked up a couple of early fouls so was rested but this failed to stop our flow in what was maybe our best team performance of the season to date. Leading by as many as 40 points late in the game surely there could be only one winner tonight, and indeed there was as we notched up a well deserved W to get our campaign off to a flyer.

Final score: Guru Nanak (87) v Dartford Sharks II (112)

Sharks scorers: Zaksas Z 30, Zaksas M 15, Trubicinas 11, Stopford 9, Smith 7, Sabunas 5

Game 2 - Monday 8th May, Away v Tonbridge Knights, 10 points down.

Another road trip to the back of beyond was the venue for the first of our 2 games this week. After almost 3 weeks without a game however, we couldn't match the performance of the Guru game as at times we looked quite rusty. Although with just 10 points to catch up the confidence was high from our previous meetings in the league.

Early in the 2nd quarter an inspired and unanswered three 3s in a row meant we took the lead for the first time in the game. Credit to Tonbridge though as they kept it tight for the remainder of the game only letting us pull away at the very end. A low scoring effort all round and not one for the highlight reels but another W none the less. Wojtek would foul out late on as he was determined to make an impact on the game somehow after missing a few weeks due to injury. Could this be the beginning of a resurgence from the big man?  

Final score: Tonbridge Knights (51) v Dartford Sharks II (57)

Sharks scorers: Zaksas Z 22, Sabunas 10, Plail 9, Zaksas M 8, Allen 3, Stopford 3, Trubicinas 2

Game 3 - Thursday 11th May, Home v Maidstone III, 50 points down.

With 50 points to catch up it was clear we would need a herculean effort to get anywhere near that target and even then it would most likely take the whole game to get there. The game started at a blistering pace and we applied the press from the off catching up 17 points in the 1st quarter alone. So far so good.

Having beaten Maidstone 101-50 in the league already we knew we had it in us, but it always feels more imposing when you're chasing the game. The press was maintained but the 2nd quarter was shared 14-14 meaning we had it all still to do after the break.

A season high 39 from Zygimantas and a notable 18 from the Polish Hammer helped us along the way as we caught up another 22 points in the 3rd. Surely we couldn't do it, could we?? It was within sight and our press which had been relentless throughout was kept on. Into the 4th and with a combined 19 free throw attempts between the teams someone would inevitably foul out soon. It was Zygis this time who'd bow out the game in the last couple of minutes but not before we had taken the lead. Another great performance which secures a place in the Quarterfinal and W number 3!

Final score: Dartford Sharks II (93) v Maidstone III (87)

Sharks scorers: Zaksas Z 39, Kiersztyn 18, Zaksas M 16, Sabunas 11, Trubicinas 4, Stopford 3, Allen 2

Game 4 - Thursday 18th May, Home v Bromley I, 20 points up.

The last of our group stage games was against a first division Bromley I team who we hadn't met this season and were somewhat of an unknown quantity to many of us. The pre game discussion with our 'friend' Mr Turner was of how it was still possible to have a 3 way tie in our group and of all the connotations that could leave us with to work out the next round. The only answer we could come up with to avoid this situation was to win the game and top our group outright.

The game started and Bromley hadn't travelled well with only 5 players making it to the Shark Tank. So few in fact that we for once had more supporters than they did players. Smelling blood the sharks opted to again apply the press hoping to capitalise on our extra legs. 1st quarter down and we had extended the lead to 39-10. Bromley were struggling and we were thinking about the next round already. Soon after that though and Mindy picked up an injury that would mean his game was over. A little unbalanced maybe now and Bromley caught 7 points back in the 2nd.

A slightly uneventful 3rd saw the quarter shared at 12-12. We were ahead 64-42. Bromley were losing the game even without taking the handicap into consideration. Some may have been thinking about making an early exit to beat the rush but no one told this to Bromley. On paper the game was won but luckily for Bromley the game wasn't being played on paper but right here at the Shark Tank. From out of nowhere the shark attack had suddenly all but stopped. Bromley were looking like a reborn team who had just subbed 5 on 5 off with their double who was having one of those games we all play the game to have.

Our supporters were scratching their heads in disbelief as with just a couple of minutes to go nothing was a given for the Sharks any more and Bromley had all the momentum. Bromley had narrowed the gap to 69-66 with less than a minute to go and weren't going to roll over and die. Mazvydas hit a huge 3 with time running down to put us up by 6. It would prove the decisive blow and mean we top the group with W number 4 even though Bromley hit another equally good triple right at the death. 

Final score: Dartford Sharks II (72) v Bromley I (69)

Sharks scorers: Zaksas M 15, Plail 12, Zaksas Z 11, Kiersztyn 6, Smith 3, Trubicinas 2

May 24th, 2017 by Alex Stopford