BRADFORD Dragons travelled to Newcastle for their first away fixture of the season but were sent packing 71-58 against Team Northumbria in the National Trophy.

Dragons started the game slowly and were down by 12 points (21-9), by the end of the first quarter. However, a much better performance in the second period restricted the Newcastle team to only seven points and Bradford went into half-time only three points behind at 28-25.

The interval came at just the right time for the home side, as Bradford were clearly in the ascendancy up to that point. It gave them the opportunity to regroup and they took control of the game, with the Dragons never managing to match up to Team Northumbria’s superiority as they finished the game 13 points adrift.

Head coach Chris Mellor said: “We were second best in most areas, the big two for me being rebounding and shooting percentages. They played harder than we did and that’s very disappointing.

"We dug ourselves out of big deficits on a couple of occasions but never really looked like we were going to get in front. They were the better team on the night.”

Team captain Vance Silcott added: “We came out flat and we just couldn't get our shots to drop. The Dragons are well known for their stifling defence but the defence was nowhere to be seen this week. Credit where credit's due, Northumbria played well from the start.”

Top scorer for the Dragons with 18 points was Rihards Sulcs, who also took 13 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season.

Miguel Lorenzo scored 12 points, while Tamas Szlavik and Vance Silcott netted nine points each.

Dragons play their final National Trophy pool game on Sunday at Leicester Warriors, a game which they must win if they are to proceed into the knockout stages of the tournament.

Elsewhere for the Dragons, the under-18s went down 75-64 against Leeds Force, while both the under-16s and the under-14s recorded victories, against Notts Nova (78-71) and Leeds Force (97-68) respectively.