Worle's winning run halted at Swindon
PUBLISHED: 11:26 13 March 2006 | UPDATED: 08:59 24 May 2010
AFTER a 10-match winning run, Worle travelled to Swindon and lost for the first time since late November
Swindon Cavaliers 62 Worle 54AFTER a 10-match winning run, Worle travelled to Swindon and lost for the first time since late November. However, Worle's defensive record remains the best in Division 2 and against Cavaliers at full strength on their home court, that aspect of Worle's play remained satisfactory. And for most of the game, Worle were ahead, but unable to drive their advantage home.Spencer Gilbert made the first reply to Cavaliers opening scores and two inside shots by Dennis Smilevich put Worle ahead. Cavaliers were competitive, however, and came back before Luke Davis sank two from the line to level again. Then Smilevich hit a three and followed with another inside shot. Russ Hayward also hit a three and Steve Walford made two free throws. Ukrainian Roman Hrypinyak added two inside and Worle finished the first quarter 21-16 ahead.So far so good, but that turned out to be Worle's best period. The play in the second quarter was not quite so controlled and the absence of Richard Green at point became more noticeable. Some of the shooting could and should have been better as Worle failed to make the most of the opportunities on offer. Marc Hartley scored inside early on and Hayward chipped in with some more later on. Apart from that, there was only one more score by Gilbert to show for the quarter, though the defence did a good enough job. Even so, Worle's lead was down to one, 32-31, at the half.In the third quarter, Worle's defence was effective enough to limit Cavaliers to only nine points, with four of those only coming in the last minute. Rebounding and defensive hustling cut Cavaliers' opportunities and this gave Worle the chance to open up a lead. This was done, but by nothing like enough. After two dead minutes, Hrypinyak scored inside and Smilevich added more. Hayward added two more keyside shots late on, and although the lead was extended, it stretched to five only at 45-40 with one period to go.This became clear as the game resumed and Cavaliers seemed to have taken some sort of tonic in the interval. They were invigorated and caught Worle off balance with a 14-4 spell, Worle having only two scores by Gilbert to show for the first eight minutes. That left Worle 54-49 down with the clock running out. Smilevich pulled two back, but it was too little, too late. Three players fouled out as Worle pushed for possession, but Cavaliers were able to run the clock down and make some points from the line.Smilevich top-scored with 19 points. Hayward (14) and Gilbert (11) also made double figures.Worle 83 Filton College 72Two days later, Worle bounced back with a victory over league leaders Filton College, who are a young team consisting of players who are regularly involved in National League Division 3 or Under-18 as Bristol Academy. But with their visit to Priory, Worle played their best basketball and also posted their highest league score of the season, though Filton was admittedly not quite at full strength.The first quarter was tight throughout. Worle opened with scores by Gilbert and Smilevich, but Filton pulled back and went ahead. Then Gilbert and Smilevich again put Worle in front and Hayward added a three-pointer. But then Filton began to open up a lead. Again, Gilbert sank a jump shot and Green drove through, but at 21-15, Worle might be left behind. Then another jump shot by Gilbert was followed by a free throw and as the buzzer went, Hayward sank a three-pointer and Worle had levelled at 21-each.The second quarter was the one that won the game for Worle. With superb defensive rebounding by Hartley and Smilevich, supported by Davis and Mike O'Sullivan, there were no second chances for Filton. Offensively, the quarter started slowly, but then began to move with Gilbert and Smilevich once more leading the way. Then Hayward sank his second three-pointer and Hartley and O'Sullivan made the most of a series of inside chances. Smilevich came back into the game and made a three point play followed by another rebound. Then Alex Briffitt and Hartley finished the quarter off to give Worle a 21 point lead, 50-29 at half-time.As the second quarter had belonged to Worle, so it seemed that the third would belong to Filton, who switched to the man defence Worle had been expecting from the start, but now found it difficult to adjust. The lead had been cut to 15 before Gilbert and Smilevich added Worle's first points of the quarter. Shortly after, Hayward made two from the line, but with two minutes left, the lead was down to four at 57-53. But that was as close as Filton came. At last Hartley scored inside and Smilevich also fouled his way through once more. Two more scores by Hartley and Hayward restored the lead to 65-54 with one quarter to go.The final period was a basket-for-basket affair with Worle just about maintaining the gap. A three-point play for Filton was matched by a three-point play by Smilevich. Hayward hit two more from the line as did Davis. Then scores by Hartley and Smilevich opened up a 16-point gap, 76-60, before Filton cut it back to 10 again. The Worle defence went into overdrive and Green fouled out but by this time, the pressure was on Filton to gain possession. Hartley stepped up to make two foul shots as Smilevich also picked up his fifth foul. Filton then sank a series of free throws, but as the seconds ticked away, Worle kept possession until Hrypinyak made a final lay-up.Smilevich made 24 invaluable points. Hartley, in his best offensive game for some time, and Hayward both made 15 and Gilbert made 14. O'Sullivan contributed a useful six. Now it is possible that the return fixture at Filton in three weeks time could be a league decider.