THEY say that lightning never strikes twice, but the Bradford Dragons found out it did last weekend, when they lost for the second time this season against National Basketball League Division One leaders Worthing Thunder.

When the teams met in October, Worthing edged it 62-58, but it was a more comfortable affair this time for the red-hot South Coast side, who beat visiting Bradford 89-72.

The defeat leaves the Dragons ninth in the table, with a 5-6 record, with all of their wins to date coming against each of the five teams currently below them in the league table.

The Dragons travelled to Worthing with a roster of just seven players, having suffered a postponement the previous week due to a Covid outbreak within their ranks.

The in-form Zach Gachette failed to make the trip, as did Clayfell Harris and Billy Cousins, but the Dragons were boosted by the return of Latvian forward Rihards Šulcs.

Despite Worthing racing into an early lead, a Ricky Fetske three completed a mini-comeback to make it 18-17 to Bradford, although they ended the first quarter 23-22 behind.

Fetske regained the lead for Bradford at the start of the second period, and the two teams continued to go toe-to-toe.

Micah Savery-Richards saw his step back jump shot find the bucket to give the Dragons a 36-34 advantage, but Worthing are not top of the league for no reason.

They ramped up their efforts, going on an unanswered seven point run, and eventually established a 49-40 lead by the break.

In the opening three minutes of the second half, Bradford clawed their way back to just 52-49 behind.

But the rest of the third quarter saw the leaders rack up an additional 18 points, conceding just a single free-throw in the process, meaning they led 70-50 by the buzzer.

With the contest effectively over, the final quarter was an evenly-balanced affair and the game ended at 89-72.

For Bradford, Savery-Richards topped the scores with 18 points, closely followed by Fetske on 17 points, who also added 13 rebounds for his own double-double.

Dragons head coach Chris Mellor admitted after the game that Worthing just had too much for his side to contend with.

Bradford are back in action again this weekend, with a home fixture against fifth-placed Thames Valley Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers come into the game on the back of a dominant win against Hemel Storm last weekend, and they are sure to provide another tough test for Mellor’s charges.

The game takes place at Calderdale College’s Inspire Centre tomorrow with a 6:15pm tip-off.

Tickets are available to pre-purchase via the Dragons’ website, and the club are keen to point out that online tickets are cheaper than the ‘on the door’ prices.

Food and drinks are available to purchase at the venue and there will also be music and commentary provided by ‘the voice of basketball’, Mike Shaft.