Thunder travelled to last season’s division two champions Essex Rebels full of hope for victory on Sunday. However things did not go as anticipated as a lethargic Thunder struggled against a rejuvenated Essex side bouyed by the return of key man Sam Newman.
Thunder’s veteran starters held their own against the youthful starters for the Rebels, but an 11-point lead evaporated to just four as the first break arrived.
Thunder’s 23-19 lead quickly disappeared in the second quarter as the younger, faster Rebels ran riot. Losing the period by 25-10 meant a non-competitive Thunder were struggling as the halfway interval arrived.
Down by 44-33, it was going to be a long afternoon for the Worthing favourites. The third quarter was at least a closer-run period but Thunder could not close the gap.
As the teams seemed content to trade baskets it was a decent ten minutes for both sides but with Thunder trailing by 63-51 at the final break it was not looking good. Thunder were completely outgunned in the last 10 minutes as the Rebels maintained their barrage of treys and fast offensive tactics.
As the period progressed Thunder introduced players off the bench but whatever they did it was not going to be the team’s day. Losing the period by 31-18 meant a final score of 94-69, a 25-point defeat.
One man who did show up for Thunder was American Howard Crawford with 16 points and 15 rebounds during the game. Crawford has improved as this disjointed season has progressed and is now showing as one of the top import players in the league.
The next game for Thunder is the semi-final of the L Lynch Trophy in which they take on this season’s top side Solent Kestrels. Three defeats in past meetings means it is time for a reversal of fortune in Southampton on Sunday.
Scorers: Taylor 17 pts. Crawford 16 pts (15 rebounds, 1assist, 2 blocks). Richardson 16 pts (5 rebounds, 1 block). Ives 5 pts (4 rebounds). Ballone 3 points. Goddard 3 pts. Fontaine 3 points. Sunderland 2 points. Farrell 2 pts. Ward 2 pts (7rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block).