Dartford Sharks 1 at Bromley Fury 1

Tuesday night saw the Sharks travel to the leafy and slightly pretentious environs of Bromley to face off against the Fury for the first time this season. Timetabling and distance conspired to rob the Sharks of energy in the early going. Bromley, however, were full of enthusiasm, and immediately started to crash the offensive glass, a pattern that was to continue for the rest of the game. The referees also showed that they intended to call a tight game, discipling Andy Denmon for the flirtatious way he was sporting his jersey, and reprimanding Dan Fraser for passing the port from left to right, or something. The Sharks looked somewhat hesitant in the first, and shots that had been falling last game died on the rim or rolled out. The quarter ended with the Sharks ahead by a point but the mood of the two teams still quite disparate.

The Fury pulled away in the second quarter behind the shooting of their number 10, who scored five baskets in the frame. The Sharks starters doggedly plugged away behind the play of Arthur Braknys and Kieran Long. Despite the frustrating start, team spirit remained good and players tried to play for each other. Communication however continued to be an issue, and still more offensive rebounds were (frustratingly) lost to the furious Fury.

After a short halftime both teams seemed energised as the scoring pace picked up somewhat. The consistent scoring of Bromley’s Agent Zero was matched by a balanced attack from the Sharks, with Jono Hayward finding his touch to finish out the third quarter with four consecutive baskets. As the fourth quarter started it become clear that while down, the Sharks were unbowed and determined to close the nine-point gap. Commitment to communication and defence started to show and the Sharks made up some ground. The Bromley bench quieted, and cracks began to show, the Sharks at last able to capitalise on these and ignite their hitherto absent fast break. Jono Hayward and the athletic Malcolm Wellby scored and hustled, but as the clock ticked down it was Albus Braknys who most put the pressure on the Fury, scoring ten points including three bombs from downtown to close the gap to six. The Moose lumbered through the primordial forest of Bromley’s defence to score two more baskets and to whittle down the lead further, and big man Zolt knocked in some Krafty jumpers of his own to make it a three-point game with under a minute remaining. Three missed free throws showed how rattled Bromley were, but on the other end the Sharks at last ran out gas. Crucial turnovers exacerbated by critical no-calls preserving Bromley’s narrow lead as time ran out. Overall, Bromley played an assertive, committed game and should be congratulated on the win but for the Sharks the vastly upgraded team spirit and dogged resilience to fight back to within striking distance were both noticeable improvements when compared to last season, and they will no doubt look forward to Bromley’s visit to Dartford later in the season.

November 7th, 2017 by Malcom Wellby