Game of the Week: Bradford Dragons v Leeds Carnegie
Our Game of the Week is a second round Men’s National Cup match-up that features a West Yorkshire derby between Bradford Dragons and Leeds Carnegie.
The game, being played on Sunday evening at Bradford College, is a repeat of a Men’s National Trophy pool match played in September where hosts Dragons took the spoils with a narrow 68-67 win.
Dragon veteran Vance Silcott scored a game-high 24 points in that game and the power forward is happy with what he sees so far in his team:
"We are gelling together well. It's only been three games but it feels like we have been together a lot longer. Everyone is really positive which is always a big plus," he said.
Bradford are indeed starting well this season with a perfect 3-0 record in all competitions and look to be strong contenders in the top division.
They also have a deep squad with several players capable of giving coach Chris Mellor a big night on the scoresheet. In their three games so far this season three different players have top scored – Silcott, Rihards Sulcs and Daumants Pabrieza – while guys like Ricky Fetske, Bobby Edmunds and Dut Malek have also hit double figures.
Coach Mellor is excited by the prospect of another match with Leeds Carnegie. He said, "We've had some great battles in the last few games, with each one coming down to the closing moments. I feel both teams are fairly evenly matched talent-wise so once again the team that gets the key stops, executes better and holds their nerve will come out on top."
Leeds have lost their opening two Trophy games (albeit by single digits) and will look to turn things around against their rivals on Sunday evening.
Coach Matt Newby has several returning players to his squad for 2012/13 including Armand Anebo, Henry Wilkins, Dave Ajumobi and Jack Stannard and in new signing Robert Marsden they have a proven scorer.
"The games between us and Bradford have always been close since we were in Division Three," said Newby. "Chris Mellor always puts together a tough team, we’ve already had a one point game against them this season and the games between us have always been close.
"I have been pleased with the progress the team has been making in the past few weeks and feel that we’re moving in the right direction," he continued. "The schedule sees us play Bradford at least four times this season, so this local rivalry will provide some great games."
Sean Clifford, a Carnegie player, said, "‘Bradford are always a tough team to play against. We came close in the National Trophy game a couple of weeks ago and we’ve been looking better and better in practice. Everyone is always a bit more motivated for this local rivalry and I can’t wait."
Leeds defeated Division 3 side Sefton Stars in the opening round of the National Cup while Bradford dominated Division 4's Stockport Spartans.