Essex Rebels not without a cause - but Worthing Thunder edge win

Worthing Thunder won another thriller – by just a single point – when they travelled to face Essex Rebels at Colchester.

Hafeez Abdul starred for Thunder / Picture: Kyle Hemsley
Hafeez Abdul starred for Thunder / Picture: Kyle Hemsley

It looked on paper like it should be a comfortable two points but it proved very different.

In a game where neither side could gain a big advantage the lead changed many times and with Howard Crawford fouling out with only 19 minutes of court time, Thunder had a hard game.

The first period started at frenetic pace as both teams went at it from the start.

Thunder took a one-point lead into the break as Tom Ward coolly hit a trey on the buzzer. Ward had a fine game in what turned into a very scrappy match.

The second quarter produced much of the same as Essex piled on the pressure but Thunder were in no mood to fold as the defence held firm. At the halfway stage Thunder had increased their lead to 341-38) but it was developing into a game that was going to go to the wire.

The third period was also close run as the hosts upped the pressure. New signing for Essex Lee Hodges was causing Thunder problems but Thunder matched him with hard defence.

Hafeez Abdul and Jarred Dixon were scoring regularly and holding the defence together in the absence of Crawford and as the ten minutes ran out the quarter was tied at 17-17 so Thunder held a three-point lead of 58-55 before the final ten minutes.

The hosts as they turned the lead round early. Thunder started to capitalise on Essex turnovers, going on an 11-0 run to lead 75-64 as the quarter ran down.

Thunder began to ease off but it was almost their downfall as Rebels pulled it back to 75-74.

With one score needed by the home team to force an unexpected win things looked desperate for Thunder. Gritty defence from Thunder proved key as Essex failed to add to their points and Thunder held on to win and remain top of the league.

Bradford Dragons visit the Thunderdome this Saturday (7.30 pm).

Scorers - Hafeez 25 pts, 5 rebounds, 2 steals. Jarred 24 pts, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block. Tom 11 pts, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals. Zaire Taylor 7 pts, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal. Jorge Ebanks 5 pts, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals. Howard 3 pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block. Ishmael Fontaine 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals. Kevin Moyo 1 rebound.