BRADFORD Dragons narrowly missed out on a final post-season play-off berth at the weekend falling a mere three points short.

In a Saturday-Sunday double-header, the Dragons were able to defeat Barking Abbey Crusaders on the first day by 74-70 to give themselves a shot at a play-off place.

Barking Abbey arrived in the Dragons’ Den on Saturday evening, just a week after having secured their own survival in the top flight for another season.

The game got off to an absolute flyer, with Dragons' Ricky Fetske winning the tip-off, pushing the ball forward to the waiting Rihards Šulcs who had a clear route to the basket, laying up for two points within the opening five seconds of the game.

Both sides traded baskets in the opening minutes, but gradually the Crusaders started to take a grip on the game and opened a ten-point lead at 23-13.

The visitors maintained their lead at the start of the third quarter, however with just under five minutes played another layup by Šulcs finally levelled the game.

Fetske then gave the hosts their first lead since the opening quarter, bucketing his jump shot for two.

Within the first four minutes of the final quarter, the Dragons’ lead was extended to eleven points, putting them firmly in control.

The game was tied late on 66-66, but Bradford pushed on to the victory thanks to Rafi Saipe.

Elsewhere, defeats for both Leicester Warriors and Hemel Storm meant that a win against third-placed Loughborough Riders on Sunday, would secure at least one more game for the Dragon’s season.

But, despite pushing Loughborough all the way to the final minute, they fell just short of the mark in a 82-79 loss.

The game started with a carbon copy of the previous evening, Fetske to Šulcs, Šulcs with the layup – clearly something they have been working on in training.

The game remained tight and with five minutes played there was only a single point to separate the two teams.

Suddenly, the Riders stepped up a gear and at the end of the opening quarter they were 30-19 ahead.

It was to and fro between the two sides as the Dragons continually tried to claw back their deficit.

A determined Dragons’ side dragged it to four through Andreas Lycoudis, Fetske and Šulcs in the second half.

Hosts Bradford then restricted their guests to just nine points in the third quarter, whilst adding nineteen to their own total, leaving them only a single point behind going into the final ten minutes.

Three minutes into the final period, the Dragons found themselves in front for the first time at 70-63.

The Riders fought back to level the scores before the defining incident of the game.

With just thirteen seconds remaining, Šulcs was alleged to have fouled Niall Harris, as he was lining up a three-point shot, sending the Loughborough player to the line.

Harris made no mistakes and those three points were enough to see the Riders over the line and shatter the hopes of the Bradford contingent.

The defeat resulted in Bradford finishing ninth in the Division One table, with Leicester Warriors holding on to eighth and the final play off berth.

Head Coach Chris Mellor summed up the mood in the Bradford camp.

He said: "It’s obviously very disappointing to come up just short of a play-off spot, but I thought we played really well in the second half and gave everything."