WHAT should have been two relatively straightforward weekend home victories for Bradford Dragons turned out to be tense affairs.

They beat Division One rivals Tees Valley Mohawks 84-76 in the National Trophy on Saturday evening, followed by a 74-72 victory against Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows in the National Cup the following afternoon.

Bradford were still without the injured Rafi Saipe but were boosted by the addition of Tamas Szlavik, Maciek Kosciuk and Jermayne Laing to their roster.

However, the hosts started in lacklustre fashion against the Mohawks, having clearly underestimated the strength of their opposition.

In contrast, the Tees Valley side – which included ex-Dragon Rob Donaldson – came out with all guns blazing and, within the first six minutes, opened up a 14-point lead.

The Dragons worked hard to reduce the deficit to seven points by the end of the first quarter but struggled to take any sort of control and went into half-time 41-32 down.

There were clearly some strong words said in the changing rooms by head coach Chris Mellor and assistant Samuel Messam and it was a different Bradford that took to the court for the second half.

Despite a slight delay in play due to a shot clock malfunction, a couple of quick three-pointers from Jason Swaine triggered the start of the home side's fightback.

By the end of the third period, the scores were tied at 61-61 – and the Dragons continued to pile on the pressure, scoring 12 points without reply to take a 73-61 lead.

Yet the visitors refused to give in, going on a points spree of their own to bring the score back to 73-72 with little over three minutes left.

Bradford had just enough left in their tank to mount one final assault and finished the game with an eight-point victory.

Rihards Sulcs, who has been in inspiring form during the early part of the season, topped the Bradford scoring with 33 points, while Vance Silcott came away with another double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Coach Chris Mellor said: "Tees Valley started well and we spent most of the game playing catch-up.

"We finally got going in the third quarter and it looked like we might pull away to a big lead. But but fair play to them for coming back with a big run and thankfully we managed to come up with some big baskets at the end."

Sunday afternoon saw the arrival of Basketball England Division Two side Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows for the National Cup second-round tie.

The visitors included two familiar faces in Dennis Scott and Nathan Dacres, both of whom wore Dragons colours last season.

Unlike the previous evening, Bradford started the game in fine fettle as Miguel Lorenzo shot them into an early seven-point lead.

But the Arrows fought hard and by the end of the first period the Dragons were holding on to a slim two-point advantage at 19-17.

Bradford built the lead back up to 14 points by the halfway point, Lorenzo landing an impressive 19 points.

The third period soon saw the Dragons extend their lead to 23 points, with Sulcs – who had been uncharacteristically quiet until this point – starting to make an impact.

Although the Arrows tried to recover the deficit, the hosts checked in to the final interval 63-46 up.

With such a powerful lead going in to the final ten minutes, you could forgive the home team for thinking that they maybe had the game in the bag.

But Mellor will not have been pleased to see his side switch off, allowing Derbyshire right back into the mix.

The Dragons' collapse, coupled with some strange refereeing decisions and an injury to Hungarian Szlavik, resulted in the Arrows pulling the game back to within a single point with only seconds left on the clock.

But Bradford just managed to hold on for the win, finishing two points clear.

Lorenzo finished as the Dragons' top scorer with 21 points, closely followed by Sulcs on 16. Captain Silcott hit another double-double with ten points and 15 rebounds.

Mellor said: "A lack of concentration and serious foul trouble put us in a situation where, if I'm honest, had we lost the game we would only have ourselves to blame.

"We came away from the weekend with two wins but we have to play much better as we move forward."

The Dragons next play at Lancashire Spinners, who narrowly beat Liverpool to earn their place in the third round, on Sunday, October 26.

Meanwhile, the Dragons beat Hull Wasps 102-74 in the Basketball England Under-18 Northern Conference, while the under-16s lost 66-61 to local rivals Leeds Force in the North Premier League.

The Dragons' juniors were also boosted by the announcement that both Zion Tordoff and Eisley Swaine have been called up to the England under-16s national team, while Mate Okros was named as Yorkshire's only representative to be called up to the England under-15s national development programme.