Friday, 28 September 2007

The Last Blog - The End of the Raiders (03.05.2007)

"The Last Blog - The End of the Raiders"

Wrexham Raiders v Hope Lions
Welsh Basketball League

With Wrexham Raiders set to fold after after tonight following its financial problems, this was to be our last ever game together as a team... I don't remember ever wanting to win so badly.
We had the bare minimum five players compared to their full bench and while we got off to a good lead, we eventually tired and they pulled us back, going ahead at the half way point. We rallied in the third quarter then one of our guys injured his ankle, but stayed on to help out in defence.

Our tiny lead gradually began to evaporate as we moved into the last few minutes... each time one of their side fouled there was a huge relief as we got a quick breather. Looking at the others with a few minutes to go, I could see how much I wanted to win reflected straight back at me in their faces... we were only two points behind!... that was the last time I dared look at the scoreboard.

With the last few seconds counting down I got free on the right side of the court. A long and perfect pass from James our pointguard came straight to my hands at the half way line. (...Five... Four...) I steadied and took aim (..three... two...) up went the shot.... (

It's funny how time slows down when you're waiting for something to happen. Like everyone else I was watching the ball sailing slowly through the air. For ages I was still thinking about the shot... you always wonder what taking those last second shots would feel like when you see them on TV, but you're never quite sure... As the ball eventually arced and started downwards though, all I cared about was where it was going to land...

'it's on target... the length looks good... flippin' eck it's going to go in!!'.... bang!.. the ball clips the back edge of the rim and bounces out.

It was absolutely silent. I didn't know how many points we had been behind, but I couldn't bear to look at the scoreboard... From half court it would have been a huge three pointer and the thought that we might have missed out on the win by one or two points was unbearable.

It wouldn't have mattered. In the end we were four points behind... but that didn't make me feel much better. We'd lost games before, but this was different. We'd lasted out a season, no-one thought we would complete and in our last game we'd finally produced a performance we were proud of... Everything, from the look on the others' faces to the blood soaking into my socks told me we'd done all we could... everyone had performed and even I had put up my best numbers of the season with 12 points, but it just hadn't been enough...

It's not all bad though. We finished third in the league and having been 45th in the rankings for scoring early on, I ended up 27th which was much higher than I expected.
Of the five of us left standing at the end of the season, our two juniors have been picked up by a national league side's academy which is great, and ironically this last game had been against the team who picked up the option of our registrations for next season. After the game they confirmed they wanted the rest of us to join them next season, which was a big relief and a nice way to finish.

Thanks for letting me bore you guys all season, and thanks too for the support... (one last time) Go Raiders!

Many thanks to sponsors Wynnstay Hotel and Oswestry & District Sports Council

Sponsored by Lemsip Max (27.04.2007)

The Adventures of Slam Dunk Davey

"Sponsored by Lemsip Max"

Pioneers 90, Wrexham Raiders 84
Welsh Basketball League

Being about two stone lighter for this one I was hoping I might be a little bit closer to dunking, unfortunately my new found lightness came from a fortnight of vomiting, diarrhea and kidney stones, so by the end of the game just standing up was good enough for me.

I was just making up the numbers for this one, I was so tired and dehydrated I wasn't good for much but walking about waving a hand feebly in the air... the fact I scored eight points says more about how badly I've been underperofmring on the other nights than anything else.

Monday's game is the last of the season and my last ever for Wrexham Raiders as the team's financial problems mean they are being forced to fold. Hope Lions have picked up our registrations, which I think gives them the choice of keeping us or trading us on to another team during the offseason if we ask them to... we'll have to see what happens.

When Michael Jordan left the Chicago Bulls they retired his 23 shirt and hung it up above the basketball court... I'm thinking of retiring my shirt and hanging it on the telephone line in the carpark :)

This is easier than boring my mates individually, but if you don't want it just email 'BLOG-OFF' to david.lawson @

(C)2007 BASKETBALLBLOGS.ORG 27.04.2007

2 wins, 6 points, 322 bruises (27.03.2007)

The Adventures of Slam Dunk Davey

"Two wins, six points, 322 bruises"

Chester Filipinos 70, Wrexham Raiders 92
Welsh Basketball League

Wow those Filipino guys are wide!
Because of a querk in the fixtures, this game counted as two against a side we really should beat, but we hadn't pulled away after the first quarter and at the half way point they were three points in front, mainly beause of their huge number three who seemed to just bulldoze his way behind our zone defence.

After trying to make the zone defence work for three quarters and with the game still finely balanced, we changed and kept four men doing a zone defence, me staying one-on-one with the big fella and our point-guard James hanging back beyond the halfway line to stop them catching us on the break... They're not the tallest of people, but damn they're wide. I've still got the bruises from where the no.3 ran into me, backed into me and landed on me (I think he may have jumped up and down on me a few times as well for good measure), but it worked. James cut out their fast breaks, I managed to stop the big guy getting the ball so he only scored a couple and the other Raiders caught fire, scoring over 40 points in the last quarter.

Annoyingly the big guy camped out in our half looking for fast breaks, so I didn't get too near the basket in the second half and had to be content with another woeful six points!

If anyone wants a good laugh, I've borrowed a giant wooden Oscar from work which we had made for our Christmas parade float. I'm hoping this will give me a bit of practice at shooting over someone or cutting around them, but it don't half look silly playing against a giant gold Oscar behind an old cowshed...

...I found an old T shirt of Guy's in the shed so I've put that on it... it's very surreal. I thought of printing out a picture of Michael Jordan's face to put on it, but I'm worried being beaten at basketball by a piece of wood might be more than my already battered ego can stand.

Any idea's whose face I should use?

This is easier than boring my mates individually, but if you don't want it just email 'BLOG-OFF' to david.lawson @

(C)2007 BASKETBALLBLOGS.ORG 27.03.2007

A Zen Guide to Basketball (20.03.2007)

The Adventures of Slam Dunk Davey

"A zen guide to basketball"

Wrexham Raiders 76, Hope 70
Welsh Basketball League

I didn't realise I could get worse.... blimey! Forget 'stepping-up'... last night I'm not sure I even 'turned-up!'

We got the win and the others played really well... if you ignore our shooting (...which come to think of it is pretty important)

Big thanks for the advice people gave me, there was some really good stuff which I'll defintiely be using, though my favourite was my zen guide to basketball from Surfing Buddah Chris, which was actually really useful. I don't know what you've been smoking over there in Iraq matey, but If I can just master that levitation business, it'll be slam dunks all the way. Keep the advice coming, it's much appreciated.

Oh yes... the game...Tried putting up more shots, but they seemed so rushed that I don't think I actually scored a single point. To make matters worse, I was hitting shots from all over the court in the warm up, so they were epecting more than a big fat ZERO. In the last quarter when the game was close, I just put my energy into defending and rebounding to set the others up.

With such a small squad at the moment, our runthroughs are done against imaginary oponents and all the rest of my shooting is done without anyone infront of me... I need a plan to get more practice at being defended. The only positive was a new role in the centre of defence, where I was a little bit small, but quick enough to turn them over a few times.

This is easier than boring my mates individually, but if you don't want it just email 'BLOG-OFF' to david.lawson @

(C)2007 BASKETBALLBLOGS.ORG 20.03.2007

At Last a Win (08.03.2007)

The Adventures of Slam Dunk Davey

"Riding high on a one-game winning streak!"

Wrexham Raiders 79, Rhyl Pioneers 62
Welsh Basketball League

Phew... you could feel the relief at breaking the run of losses (we'd actually lost again since I last wrote), even against a team who were... well... a bit rubbish, but that made it even more important... if we'd lost to them that would have been bad! Still, it was only our defence that pulled us through, we're not exactly lighting up the scoreboard.
I could do with some advice from my sporty mates. I've hit a bit of a frustraiting period. With so many of our first teamers away, I've had a rare opportunity to see something of the court other than the bench, but the coach and captain have both had words with me, frustraited I'm not "stepping up" and scoring more points.

No-one can tell me how exactly you 'step-up' though. Despite working hard, I'm being swept along with the game rather than grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and have a real influence. It feels like there's a set of gears I'm not using and I've no idea how I get at them. Some of you guys must have come across something similar... send help!

This is easier than boring my mates individually, but if you don't want it just email 'BLOG-OFF' to david.lawson @

(C)2007 BASKETBALLBLOGS.ORG 08.03.2007

I Spy Another Beating (23.02.2007)

The Adventures of Slam Dunk Davey

"WANTED: 70's platform shoes (8inch high or over) suitable for basketball, ring Dave on 01691..."

Hope Lions 90 v Wrexham Raiders 82 Welsh Basketball League

I spy with my little eye, something that looks like another flippin' beating...!

With a couple of our Wrexham team's big name players back for this game I thought Big George and I were destined for the bench again and packed myself a cushion and a magazine, but surprisingly they let us start the game. Settled in with a couple of easy baskets and got into a nice rhythm, but old George was getting shoved around... I didn't even know you could move the guy without a forklift!

They brought us off after the first quarter off and replaced us with the big-guns, but for some reason things didn't click and the missed shots turned into turnovers. While we waited on the bench, George and I decided once we got back on, none of their team was going to touch the ball again - we were going to get to every rebound!

Okay so maybe we didn't get every rebound, but between us we dominated the boards at both ends, and ended up leading the game for rebounds. That meant the others could claw back the difference, but we ran out of time before we could catch them... I've decided losing sucks, so for Monday's game we're going to try winning instead.'

In other good news, had some sponsorship from the Sports Council who have paid for some new basketball shoes and moved up three places from 45th to 42nd in the league for scoring... at this rate should be in the top 25 by my 60th birthday!

This is easier than boring my mates individually, but if you don't want it just email 'BLOG-OFF' to david.lawson @

(C)2007 BASKETBALLBLOGS.ORG 23.02.2007