Bears hit back to complete perfect weekend

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Ben Haigh shoots under pressure against Exeter Otters on Sunday.

WARWICKSHIRE Bears’ first team completed a perfect weekend with a hard-fought 53-50 victory over Exeter Otters on Sunday.

Following the individual achievement of Dan Gill, Ellan Fraser and the Bears’ women’s team, who all won honours at this year’s Stratford-on-Avon District Council Sports Awards, Bears won an exciting contest that went right to the buzzer.

As the ball came into play at the beginning of the game, the Otters showed why they had previously established themselves in the National League Premier Division, cutting through the Bears defence and racking up a sizeable lead in the first quarter to lead 19-8.

The Bears came out strong in the second quarter, but were unable to find a way to stop Jordan Bright, who kept the Otters in the lead whilst holding Bears at bay in the defensive end. Otters held a commanding 29-18 lead at the break.

Harry Draper in action for the Bears on Sunday.

The third quarter saw the fightback from the Bears who, having re-grouped, found an answer to Otters’ attacking force, whilst slowly chipping away at the score at the Otters’ basket, cutting the deficit to five points, 34-39.

In the final quarter, the Otters held the lead up to the final minutes of the game, when the Bears finally nudged themselves ahead through Dan Gill and Ben Haigh.

“That was a close call,” said relieved Bears’ coach, Tom Masterson.

“I’d like to thank Otters for such a great game that was fought all the way until the final buzzer.

“With Derek Hall and Ian Beach having to start the game, I think they were brilliant and helped us grind out a win.”

Jacob Robinson shoots from the free throw line.

Earlier in the day, the Bears’ third team suffered a 61-29 defeat to Jaguars 2. With coach Jacob Robinson giving Junior Para-sports Person Award winner Ellan Fraser her debut for the senior team, it was a fantastic effort fom the Bears, who were able to hold the Jaguars to a close score up until half-time.

After the break, Jaguars were able pull away, giving Robinson the option of playing the rest of the Bears’ bench.

Robinson said: “This was a tough game that we knew was coming, but as always Bears 3 pulled together to deliver a fantastic performance from start to finish.

“I am pleased to have had the chance to put Ellan in for her first senior match, and I’ve been impressed with the manner in which our developing players handled themselves against such fierce opponents.”

The Bears are again in action on Sunday when they welcome Sheffield Steelers 3 and 4 and Blackhawks at the Warwickshire College Sports Centre, Stratford Road, Henley-in-Arden B95 6AB. Action starts at 11am and entry is free.