Haywards Heath Panthers Basketball came close to winning it on their first appearance at the pre season Rosebowl tournament at Surrey Sports Park last weekend.
The tournament organised by Surrey Basketball pitted 10 teams from across the South East in a tough one day tournament.
An understrength Panthers squad wasn’t expecting much on their first appearance at the Annual Rosebowl but started strongly with a tough win against Sevenoaks Suns, followed closely by a 2nd win in an extremely physical encounter against Kingston SOB, with 1st time Panther Andrew Luther adding depth to the diminished Panthers squad and the panthers strong well drilled defence telling in the end.
Then following a long break the panthers went in to the 3rd game optimistically, their chances took a knock when injury prone big man Matt Nastys dislocated a finger early in the 2nd half further damaging the teams prospects and with only one other 6ft plus player in the team in Rob Allen genuinely short of height on the court, but they held on for the 3rd win with solid scoring across the team the team.
With the group close the Panthers went in to their 4th game against Woking Blackhawks Hunters still needing the win, with a now heavily taped up Nastys and after going down a 7 points early on the Panthers battled back with a well organised Zone defence and took the 4th win.
This led them to an unexpected Final competing for the Rosebowl against National League Woking Blackhawks Flyers, tired legs took hold in the final and despite a valiant effort by the Panthers they had to settle for runners up spot with the National league teams depth and organisation taking over and the Panthers losing 43 - 30.
A positive start to the season for the Panthers who will be looking to challenge for the Sussex League title this season, the Haywards Heath College based team are still looking for a sponsor for this season and any prospective sponsors or players can contact the team at HHpanthers@gmail.com or http://www.panthersbasketballclub.co.uk