Match Report: L Lynch Trophy – Newcastle

Newcastle 92 v 88 Reading Rockets

Without A J Basi still recovering from Achilles injury coupled to Jaz Bains playing with a back injury this semi was always going to be a tight affair and so it turned out going right down to the wire, well the last 18 seconds!

Having won the tip Meshack Lufile opened Rockets account and Tyler Cartaino opened his personal account on way to a double double at half time. Rockets enjoyed a 16- 5 early lead so Newcastle took a time out and ended the quarter with a 9- 2 run to leave Rockets with a slender advantage of 25 -23 with a buzzer beating treble as the opening quarter ended.

As one of Newcastle’s key players suffered a nose bleed right at the end of the first quarter, the start of the second period was delayed by over 12 minutes waiting for court to be cleaned . This disrupted the momentum but Rockets remained focused with a 11 -3 run where they enjoyed a 36- 27 lead. This was ended with 3 from 3 from the free throw line for Newcastle who continued to cut the deficit to 6 pts. However with Sam Toluwase enjoying assists from captain Ben Dixon and Jaz Bains coupled to Cartaino draining a treble, Rockets extended their advantage to 11 at 42 -31. They took a similar advantage to the dressing room at half time thanks to a buzzer beating wide treble from Dixon at 56- 43.

Sam Toluwase increased Rockets lead with the opening possession of quarter three before the first of a barrage of trebles from Newcastle including three back to back as they found their outstanding shooting ability. Cartaino and Meshack Lufile stopped the rot and though Newcastle finished the period with a brace of trebles, Rockets went into the final quarter still 71- 66 ahead.

Cartaino struck a treble and Lufile a score giving Rockets a 78- 68 lead inside the opening 3 minutes of the final period. However Newcastle came on fire as they drained trebles from all around the arc ,4 in a row to level the game on 82 with 3.47 remaining. Reis Pinnock was secure from the penalty stripe to edge Rockets ahead but another Newcastle treble saw them take the lead. Rockets responded and the game was tied again on 86 with 1 miinute 10 secs left on the clock. Toluwase edged Rockets ahead again but another Newcastle treble edged Newcastle in front with 38.5 secs left but Rockets had possession. Unfortunately for Rockets the ball bounced off a Rockets player’s foot going out of play giving possession back to Newcastle. Newcastle capitalised with their seventh treble of this quarter alone and a four point lead which Rockets couldn’t counter in the remaining 18 secs .

This was a great advert for the sport but a heartbreaking defeat for Rockets 88- 92 The final will now be between Derby Trailblazers and Newcastle at Worthing Leisure Centre on Sunday 2nd Jan at 4 pm. Tickets available on line.