Match report by Peter Barron- Head Coach. The Jets travelled to Kirkby Ball Hall to play the Vikings on a beautiful Sunday morning and after a long wait outside for someone to open the hall we all arrived inside the venue looking good. When the Vikings assembled for one of Sue Conroy’s motivational team chats they looked like the new "Twin Towers" of Liverpool.
The Jets looked a little intimidated by the height, showed great nervousness and also appeared to have forgotten all the training session from the day before and so the battle of the giants began and the excellent Scotty Davies took the first 2 baskets and Dave Connor following up before Caroline Ballard-East got the Jets on the board with an excellent pick & roll with Dave Robertson. And then both teams traded baskets and the author could not continue this report without mentioning the excellent Arthur Davies lay up on the left with right hand spin and it was like watching him back in Ardee in Ireland some 20 years ago when he was playing in an Irish Tournament. 3 of the Jets players missed their free throws, which didn’t help the cause, and Dave Connor finished off the Quarter with his free throw.
The Quarter Finished: 15 – 10 to the Vikings The 2nd quarter was a very balanced one and both teams scored exactly the same points with Caroline Ballard-East stealing the show for the Jets who started to get their act together but still let in simple baskets against a now tiring Vikings. The Quarter Finished: 27 – 22 to the Vikings This was a very exciting quarter for the Jets with Dave Robertson scoring the first 2 baskets and putting one point between the Vikings and Jets and things looked good for the Jets as they clawed back the game and would not lie down to an exceptional Vikings performance but then the Jets forgot the gameplan and their positions and the experienced Vikings took advantage of this and started a to creep away again in the points scoring and the quart was very even with the Vikings scoring 15 to Chester’s 14 points and this was an excellent quarter for the game of wheelchair basketball as both sides came out blazing. The Quarter Finished: 42 – 36 to the Vikings The last quarter was the Dan O’Connor quarter for the Vikings as he was exceptional and a great potential for the future. He got 3 fast breaks without reply for the Vikings and their backs were up now and they could see the winning post and still the Jets fought away and Dave Robertson attempting some 3 pointers but this was not his day and so Chris Doyle scored 2 brilliant Baskets from outside the key and still the Jets fought hard against the now buoyant Vikings team and bench. Chris Doyle proved to the Chester Jets team that the coach made an exceptional signing in her capture and finished the game as the Jets joint highest Scorer with 16 points. The Quarter Finished: 54 – 48 to the Vikings Scorers: Jets: C.Doyle 16, D.Robertson 16, C. Ballard East 8, B.Flanagan 6, A. Jackson 2. Vikings:D.O’Connor 20, S.Davies 18, D.Connor 11, A.Davies 4, M.Spofforth 1 Jets Team - Anna Jackson- Captain, Billy Flanagan, Dave Robertson, Christine Doyle, Caroline Ballard-East, Rob Allerston, Ian Powell, Andy Hickey, Dan Spencer Peter Barron, Chester Head Coach said afterwards this was a great game of Wheelchair basketball and the Jets while motivated were a little intimidated with the Vikings height and passion they showed in wanting Victory more and their coach, Sue Conroy was very good in the way she prepared her team. I know we lost the game but at stages in the game I saw what I have been trying to achieve in the team and that is to put more fight into our game and the never lay down attitude and I assure other teams who will now write off the Jets, do it at your peril as we still haven’t seen the best of the Jets.
The Jets had as many shots as the Vikings but didn’t put them away and this will have to be addressed if they wish to continue their promotion push and I will be looking for more training sessions and better shooting in future games. The loss of Pete Grimes through before the game didn’t help Chester’s cause as he is an excellent player and a real workhorse in the team. I also believe the Jets will reverse the scoreline when the Vikings come to Darland for the return match later in the season. The loss to the Vikings was further felt in the Chester Jets camp with the bad news that their highly experienced player Billy Flanagan aggravated an old injury and will be out for the rest of the season and this is huge loss for Chester’s next game in Scotland against Lothian on Sunday 12th November