Harlow Hawks opened the 2017/18 season with a cup match win against East Herts Royals at the Leisurezone last Wednesday evening. A slightly new look to the Hawks line up this season with some new faces joining the squad. The Hawks seemed to play with more confidence compared to last season moving the ball well and playing good defence. A final quarter slip was perhaps the only blot on the match.
The opening games are always full of tension and nervy but it did not show from a solid opening quarter. R Allan, T White and R Norkeliunas started with back to back baskets but the Royals replied with their own six points back to back. The game looked set to be evenly balanced. However, it was D Cohen who stole the quarter scoring 11 points including two 3 pointers and great individual performance. M Niaz also opened his account for the game with a nice 3 pointer and Hawks were looking strong. The quarter ended Hawks 28 Royals 17.
Hawks kept their foot on the gas in the second quarter with Allan, White and Norkeliunas repeating the start of the first quarter with back to back baskets in this quarter, combining for 8 points. However, Royals went to the line three times in row on their attacks in the early minutes which stopped the Hawks momentum. But two 3 pointers from S Niaz and five points from Norkeliunas made sure the Hawks were still on top at the end of the quarter which ended Hawks 50 Royals 37.
The third quarter was quite mixed for Hawks which started well from D Cohen with two back to back baskets in the opening but it was the disqualification of R Norkeliunas later in the quarter which put a sour mood on the game. The Royals went to the line nine times and made no baskets in open play in this quarter which showed how the match was going. But three pointers from M Niaz and S Burgess meant Hawks kept their lead in the 20’s and points also came from Norkeliunas and White to add to their personal tally. It was looking promising for Hawks at this point in the game and the quarter ended Hawks 72 Royals 46.
But the fourth quarter was one to forget for Hawks, as Royals went on a 12 point run with no reply in the opening five minutes. This cut the lead from 26 points to 14 points and pretty poor display from Hawks during that period. All the Hawks had to do was hold on in the last five minutes, which they did. Scoring only six points in the fourth quarter including a 3 pointer from S Niaz but keeping Royals to only four points in the last five minutes. This meant that Hawks won the game but they will need to look back at the final quarter and the mistakes that were made in the first five minutes. The match ended Hawks 78 Royals 62 and Hawks move to the next round of the cup.
Written By:- Saul Friedner