20-year-old Great Britain international Phil Pratt led the Cardiff Celts to a 76-34 victory over the Bury Bombers in a Division 2 clash at the Talybont Sports Centre today.
The Celts, who were unbeaten going into the tie – having won all three of their league games this season – started the match brightly with Pratt and Liam Holt combining to score the game’s first points. The Bury Bombers, who had lost two and won two before the encounter, replied through Hugh Anderson, who scored their first basket with an angled long-range effort from out wide.
Initially, the first quarter consisted of two point exchanges between Pratt and Hugh Anderson. As the quarter went on the Celts hit their stride with both Holt and Harri Jenkins supporting Pratt with some free flowing scoring. The Celts early lead was partially pegged back with some fine shooting from both Kate Parish and Hugh Anderson, but the Celts overall dominance saw them end the quarter with a significant 22-12 lead.
The Celts second quarter lead was extended in the first. Player coach Caroline Matthews joined the fray, giving the home side another attacking outlet. Matthews, a former Great British Paralympian who competed at Athens and Beijing, linked up well with Holt, Jenkins and the impressive Rhys Thomas, taking the game even further beyond the Bombers. Although Hugh Anderson provided some resistance, the Celts went into half-time with a considerable 36-20 lead.
It was in the third quarter where the Celts really stamped their authority on the game, scoring 20 points while only conceding three. Their tenacious yet disciplined defence proved difficult to break down, while the attacking exploits of Holt, Jenkins and Mo Khan took the Celts into an unassailable position.
With the outcome of the match set, the fourth quarter saw the game free up. Further scores for the Celts were met with some attacking joy for the Bombers – as the Celts defence tired. Pratt continued to be the Celts catalyst, both scoring and setting up his team mates – with Mike Carruthers and Owain Taylor getting on the score sheet. Anderson and Parish led the Bombers fight back, with Daniel Dickings, Paul Guest and John Rowncefield also scoring. Barry Anderson, the father of Hugh, also contributed, slotting a neat 2 pointer from close range. Yet it was a game dominated by the Celts, who came away with a comfortable 76- 34 win.
Player coach Caroline Matthews said: “We started slowly but we sorted out the issues we had early and came back very strongly. We ended up playing well and managed to secure a good win. It’s a great feeling to finish the first half of the year unbeaten.”
Bury Bombers points: Hugh Anderson: 18, Kate Parish: 6, Daniel Dickings: 4, John Rowncefield: 2, Barry Anderson: 2, Paul Guest: 2.
Cardiff Celts points: Liam Holt: 22, Phil Pratt: 18, Caroline Matthews: 14, Harri Jenkins: 12, Rhys Thomas: 4, Owain Taylor: 2, Mo Khan: 2, Mike Carruthers: 2.