An apprehensive hush fell over the capacity crowd at MARS Stadium tonight as the proud Black Fish took to the court for a crucial Round 4 clash with traditional rivals Spectrum. After a forfeit and two heartbreaking losses, the season was on the line for the sentimental favourites.
There can be no greater demonstration of the tense atmosphere during the opening stages of this clash than the scoreline towards the end of the first half: 2-2. This was a watershed moment. And the Fish knew it. It is the mark of a champion team to respond at such a moment - and respond this grand team did. At once the crushing 'mystery' zone defence shut down the Spectrum offence more effectively than their waist-hip ratios were narrowing their coronary vessels, resulting in a spectacular display of insanity by every member of their team who had not yet reached VO2max. To quote the referee: "That number 22 is a fucking nutcase. The crazy fucker."
A panicked time-out by Spectrum was not enough to halt the offensive march by a rejuvenated Fish outfit. Fast breaks, offensive boards, flawless free-throw shooting (OK, by Nick Rodgers only), and high-quality niggling were all on display as the Fish drew away from their malodorous foes.
The second half was simply a procession as the mighty mighty Black Fish stormed to their first win of the season, 26-14.
Not even the late start next week will keep the diehard fans from flocking to MARS to watch the Fish tackle traditional rivals Lobetrotters.
After the euphoria and heartbreak of Round 2, there was an expectant air at MARS stadium for the Round 3 encounter between the mighty Black Fish and traditional rival The Fakers. The Fish were buoyed by the return of the Rodgers brothers from their overseas pre-season, and the official debut of talented youngster Nissen as a full-time Fish.
After a cautious start by both sides the Fakers established a slender half-time lead. Relentless defensive pressure by the Black Fish in the premiership quarter brought the scores to within a few points and forced a panicky time-out by a rattled (and unattractive) Fakers outfit.
Sadly for the large contingent of Fish fans sitting courtside, the Fakers drew away in a dramatic final few moments. Despite claiming a moral victory, the scorecard records another heartbreaking loss for the Black Fish, 22-29.
On a positive note, no major injuries were recorded. On an even more positive note, no Fishettes were present to witness the mincy free-throw efforts from their otherwise testosterone-laden men.
The Black Fish look forward to a capacity crowd for their Round 4 encounter with traditional rivals Spectrum.