Thunder out to avoid shock at struggling Lancashire Spinners
Worthing Thunder will not be taking Sunday's trip to National League Division 1 basement boys Lancashire Spinners lightly as the race for a top-three finish intensifies.
Thunder just about got over the finish line to beat Hemel Storm 78-72 in a scrappy contest that saw Worthing claim the head-to-head, which could be vital at the end of the season.
However, other results meant that Thunder remain fourth.
And up next for coach Daniel Gayle is a trip to the north-west where they face a Spinners side that look doomed for relegation having lost all 18 of their regular season games and are 12 points off the pace.
But Gayle insists that Spinners’ record counts for nothing and his side must be ready for anything to happen when they arrive in Bury on Sunday.
He said: “Spinners haven’t lost all their games by big margins, they have been close in a lot of them,
“They will have their full squad too so we can’t take anything for granted.
“I want us to play with pride, professionalism and discipline on the day.
“I don’t want to be the first team that lost to Lancashire this season. It’s important that we focus on our strengths and play together.”
Thunder hardly got out of second gear when they played Lancashire back in November, winning 90-69 but captain Brendan Okoronkwo knows that circumstances have changed since that game and that Spinners will be a tough prospect.
Skipper Okoronkwo said: “We can’t take Lancashire for granted. Things have changed since we last played them.
“For us, we are fighting for a spot in the top-three and we have to win all our games now.
“The run-in for us is a tough one and it will be good to get this one out of the way as it’s another early start, another long trip up near Manchester to play a team that has nothing to lose. Sometimes that can be an advantage for them. We have to play with poise and be together as a unit.”
It was Okoronkwo that guided Thunder to their latest win, although not the most memorable of victories, he led the way with 21 points in last Saturday’s home win over Hemel.
A 9-0 Worthing run in the third quarter proved vital as Thunder’s slender lead grew into double-digits heading into the fourth and final quarter.
Hemel, who won the National Cup last month, narrowed the gap to just two points but never seemed able to threaten a Worthing side, who despite not playing at their best, secured the win ahead of the trip to struggling Spinners on Saturday.