Sharks II update

Ok so first of all apologies for the tardy nature of the match reports lately, but we are still here! More so than ever actually. With so much happening at the moment as the club continues to evolve and expand some of us are having to wear many hats to keep us on track (I'm saying nothing Sam!). This season sees the club enter 3 teams into the league for the first time since the mid 90s when I joined the Dartford Dolphins junior team. Clearly at lot of players and games have come and gone since then but many are still involved if not for the new Vets team then in the background helping to keep us running along.

As a consequence of finishing the 2017/18 season as Division 2 champions our reward was promotion into Division 1 for 2018/19. A great achievement but also just the start of a new challenge to see how we could mix it up with the big kids of the league. Many of these teams have been in the Division for a fair while now and have plenty of experience to boot. The nucleus of our team remains the same from last season with 3 additions due to the same number moving on.

A few games into the season now we thought it was time for an update as we continue to learn and find our way in the division. If at work you are only as good as your last job then I suppose in sport you are only as good as your last game. Luckily for us that last game was one to remember and so onto the report as a snapshot of our season so far.

Thursday 6th December

Dartford Sharks II   v   Maidstone Royals

This was one of the fixtures we had been looking forward to. Both teams new to the Division this season with the Royals a new all Lithuanian team entering the league at the deep end straight into Division 1 replacing the outgoing New House team. With mixed results for both teams so far this one was difficult to predict. The odds had already begun to stack against us though as we only had 6 of the squad available for the night. A call up for Andy from the Vets gave us a little more breathing space and another option off the lonely looking bench.

Royals had a near full turn out and were full of confidence following 3 Ws in a row. Apparently a couple of the players had even been celebrating the win before a ball had been bounced. 1st quarter begun and Royals were making shots for fun with 5 threes as we struggled to adapt to a change in defensive shape and looked a little out of sorts. Clearly a change had to be made to get a handle back on the game as we had fallen 16 points down very early on. 

Switching to a more familiar shape straight away steadied the ship as we looked to make amends for the unwelcome start. This was more like it. We were back in the game and starting to get steels and run the break. Royals were finding it difficult to keep pace and were forced to foul us to stop the easy buckets. Shooting 11 from 15 at the line in the first half we were starting to take advantage. Royals were still ahead though with some impressive displays from all around the arc.

3rd quarter was a bit more cagey and the lowest scoring one of the game as neither team wanted to give anything away. Unfortunately George picked up an injury early in the 2nd which meant his game was over for the night. The bench was now even lonelier though the noise from our few supporters was helping to spur us on and keep the energy up anytime we were beginning to tire.

11 points down going into the 4th and no need to panic but still a job to do if we were to get ahead. 1 minute down and 7 points back already with the score now at a respectable 49-53. The game was well and truly on and having worked that hard we were unwilling to let it get away again. Some solid defending led to a number of turn overs and Royals were picking up the fouls as we ran the break. One of their key attacking options fouled out as we discovered a new three point option in Mindy who had 2 in the quarter. 5 minutes to go and we were ahead for the first time in the game, just. It was still anyone's game but shooting 9 from 11 at the line we continued to push for the win. With only 6 players now we certainly didn't want overtime so we had to try to sew things up in regulation.

In a great show of character we succeeded in our quest with an outstanding 31-13 last quarter performance seeing us hold onto the lead and see out the game for our 2nd league win of the season. Fantastic game all!!

Final Score: Sharks II (73) v Royals (66)

Sharks scorers: Z Zaksas 24, M Zaksas 17, S Kabogoza 12, M Sabunas 11, A Demmon 5, A Stopford 3, G Brimble 1.

Next up: Wizards away...

December 9th, 2018 by Alex Stopford