Bradford Dragons 87 Manchester Magic 55

BRADFORD Dragons entertained Manchester Magic on Saturday evening for the second time in less than a month and came out on top once again with a comfortable 87-55 league victory over their Red Rose rivals.

For the past five seasons, Magic have been a real thorn in the side of Bradford but following the departure of long-term head coach Paul Middleton, the Manchester side are struggling to make an impact early in the new campaign.

Meanwhile, Bradford are enjoying their best ever start to a season since joining the top flight of the National Basketball League, having won their opening six games across all competitions.

When theses sides met last month in the National Trophy, the Dragons enjoyed a 94-71 victory, and they picked up where they left off here as Allie Fullah opened the scoring with a two-point jump shot.

Šulcs made no mistake from his layup attempt and when Drexler Clark sank from outside the arc, the Dragons were in possession of an early five-point lead.

Despite Bradford extending their lead into double figures, the resilient visitors fought back to trail just 27-21 by the buzzer.

The second quarter was a different story. While the Dragons pushed on, Manchester netted only five points in the whole period, as half-time arrived with the score 48-26 in Bradford’s favour.

Following a slow start to the third, American Ricky Fetske bucketed a two to bring up the Dragons' half century and they continued to push on from there. The penultimate period ended with the hosts 71-39 ahead.

Bradford eased off the gas a little in the final quarter, although they still showed moments of brilliance, not least through some excellent three-point shooting from Rafi Saipe.

The Dragons were by far the better of the two teams on the day, winning by that huge 87-55 margin.

Šulcs won the official University of Bradford Sport Player of the Game award, while topping the score charts for the third game in succession (24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists).

Fetske contributed a further 16 points, also taking 12 rebounds to notch yet another double-double.

Bradford coach, Chris Mellor, reflected: “We played well, especially at the defensive end. Our focus, concentration and effort was where it needs to be and we moved the ball well offensively, with contributions from everyone.”

The Dragons face a stern test as they visit fellow unbeaten league side Derby Trailblazers on Saturday, with tip off at the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre at 7:15pm.

The following day, in-form Worthing Thunder visit the Dragons’ Den in the fourth round of the National Cup, in what is sure to be a hotly-contested game. The game tips off at 4:15pm and advance tickets are available through the club website.

On Sunday, the Dragons' under-18 side visited Derbyshire Arrows, looking to keep their unbeaten run alive.

However, the game was abandoned when coach Pawel Bohdziewicz was ejected following a double technical foul, handing Derbyshire a regulation 20-0 victory.