Monday, 29 February 2016

February 2016

With no updates for a while I am going to try and put something on at least once a month covering the sporting events I have attended. In reverse order find write ups of 

Sunday 28th February 2016
National Basketball League Division 1
@ Braunstone Leisure Centre, Hamlin Road, Leicester

Admission / programme: none

This was my first attempt at photographing the sport of basketball, and I used local side the Leicester Warriors as guinea pigs as it were. It was as expected a very difficult sport to shoot with it being a very fast paced game and played in tight surroundings on a small court. I do intend to persevere with this and plan to photograph at least one more Warriors home game this season.

37 photos can be viewed online @ and any feedback is appreciated and welcomed. 

At the start of play the Warriors sat in 9th place in the NBL Division 1 table with their visitors one place above them occupying the last play-off place. After an early exchange of baskets the Leopards took control and outscored their hosts in the opening three quarters to build up a lead of 38-57 after thirty minutes. It wasn't until the final quarter that the Warriors brought their 'A' game and scored an impressive twenty seven points. The deficit was too big a hurdle to pull back and they fell just five points short. Theo Rothstein led the way in both the scoring and rebounding for the home side with 18 and 14 respectively. For the Leopards the top scorer and re-bounder came off the bench, as Justin Hitchman hit nineteen points and Jamie Hayes had ten rebounds. With regards to assists no player on either side had more than four. 

Saturday 27th February 2016
Midlands 1 East
@ Fenley Field, Lime Tree Avenue, Rugby, Warwickshire

Admission: none
Programme: free from the bar

My choice game this afternoon was a short drive south to the town that brought the sport of rugby union to the world, Rugby. The ground is located in the south-west suburbs of the town and it took around forty minutes to get to from my home in Leicester. The entrance is down a narrow drive and it opens up. There are, like a lot of rugby clubs several pitches and a clubhouse on site. The main one is located next to the clubhouse and changing rooms, and there is a stand that straddles the half way line.

Bottom of the table OL's secured a bonus point victory over their mid-table opponents with five tries - four of them in the second half. They opened the scoring early on in the opening few minutes with an unconverted try and a penalty. But come the end of the half and NOS had match the scoring and the sides were level @ eight at half time. The second half was pretty much one way traffic as OL's scored twenty two unanswered points - four tries with only one successful conversion, before a late consolation try from the visitors. This victory for OL's coupled with the two sides immediately above them in the table, Newark and Matlock both losing, this gives them a fighting chance of avoiding relegation to Midlands 2.

49 photos taken at the game can be viewed online @ 

Saturday 20th February 2016
National League National Division
@ Prenton Park, Prenton Road West, Birkenhead, Merseyside

Admission: £17
Programme: £3
Badge: £3

This trip up to the north west was arranged a while ago to catch up with a Cheltenham supporting friend of mine. I booked the Friday night off from work before Christmas and it was left to my friend to sort his train tickets out, and in order for him to get the best prices I picked him up from Crewe and dropped him off at Stafford. After we stopped off for lunch at The Dee Hotel in West Kirby - about eight or nine miles away, we headed to the ground at got there just after 2pm. We parked up at the ground and this cost £5, and this made for a straight forward exit after the game. The ground is a decent affair with it being all seated and it holds around 17,000 when full. Today the attendance was just over 5,000 with over 300 making the trip north from Gloucestershire. 

Both of these teams were relegated from the Football League to the top tier of English football's Non-League pyramid system last season, and both are looking at making an instant return. Cheltenham sit top of the table and are in a scrap for the title with Gloucestershire rivals Forest Green Rovers. With only one side going up automatically, the next four sides will compete in the play-offs to see who joins them. Tranmere, after a slow start to the season have moved up the table, and at the start of play sat in fourth place. With this in mind a close, tight game was expected, and this proved to be the case. The only goal of the game came on three minutes through Cheltenham's top scorer Danny Wright. Neither side dominated the remaining eight-seven minutes and both had their chances and in truth a draw would have been a fair result.

Sunday 14th February
BBL Trophy Semi Final 1st Leg
@ Leicester Community Sports Arena, Charter Street, Leicester

Admission: £11 (advance)
Programme: £3

This was to be my only Riders game in February and their second game at their new home - the 2,400 capacity venue on the northern edge of the city centre. 

These two teams had already met several times already this season and I saw the Riders ko the Sharks by just two points in the BBL's cup competition last year. With this mind and the Sharks on an impressive run a close, tight game was expected by myself. This turned out to be the case but I didn't expect it this close!!! To put it mildly a tie in basketball is a very rare event, though due to this semi-final tie being decided by an aggregate score over two legs no overtime was played.

Leicester generally led for the most part of the game but never built up enough of a lead and it was the Sharks who scored the final five points of the game.The Riders were led by Treyvonn Wright in terms of points scoring and rebounding with twenty two and ten respectively. For the Sharks Jerrold Brooks hit twenty four points, while Antone Robinson had twenty points and nine rebounds. 
Also with it being my birthday just four days afterwards my wife Angela paid for a signed Riders jersey - I've just got to get it framed now.

note...the Riders won the second leg by just four points three days later in Sheffield, and then beat Newcastle in the final on Saturday 27th.

Saturday 13th February
Midlands 1 West
@ Peel Croft, Lichfield Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

Admission with programme; £5

Peel Croft in the brewing town of Burton upon Trent is an historic ground located right on the edge of the town centre. It has been around since the late nineteenth century, and was first used by Burton RFC themselves before being taken over by long defunct Football League clubs Burton Swifts and Burton United. When the latter folded the rugby club moved back into the ground and have continued to play here since. There have also been rumours in the past couple of years that the ground would be sold for retail development - this would be a shame but no surprise also. There is an Asda supermarket behind the ground and a Halfords and a Pets at Home on the opposite side of Lichfield Street. 

Car parking for spectators is down the left hand side and there is a very old stand that runs along three quarters of this side. On the other side is the social club, changing rooms and another stand. On the outside the social club does not look much, but appearances can be deceptive. Inside it is clean, tidy and spacious. There is also a seperate kitchen area that was serving hot food and drinks, and at sensible prices too - a hot dog and chips cost £2.50. 

Both of the two teams are stuck in mid-table after they were both relegated from National 3 Midlands [Level 5] last season. A tight first half in which the visitors went in at the break with a one point advantage (14-15). A converted try and a penalty for the hosts were the only points scored in the second forty minutes. 
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