BRADFORD Dragons secured their place in the National Cup fourth round as they overcame EBL Second Division side Lancashire Spinners in a game that coach Chris Mellor described as "a tough battle".

The Dragons returned from Bury with a narrow four-point victory, 96-92.

Bradford started strongly and had soon built up a commanding 11-point lead, with Rihards Sulcs and Tamas Szlavik leading the early scoring.

Despite the hosts responding with a flurry of their own, the Dragons led by six at the first interval, with the score at 24-18.

However, the second period could not have been more of a contrast, with the Spinners taking almost total control of proceedings. At half-time, Dragons were down by five, 47-42, and facing some strong words from Mellor in the changing room.

But it was the Lancashire side that came out the strongest in the opening stages of the second half, quickly increasing their advantage to ten points.

Realising that they were going to have to put up a fight, the Dragons stepped up a gear and just as quickly eliminated the deficit. Throughout the remainder of an exciting third quarter, the lead exchanged hands time and time again, with the Spinners finally going into the interval with a slim one point lead, at 68-67.

In the final quarter, Bradford stormed into a ten-point lead. However, the Spinners refused to roll over and brought the game back to a respectable 96-92 by the close of play.

Sulcs was once again the top scorer for Bradford with 18 points, while both Jason Swaine and Vance Silcott finished on 17 each, with Silcott also boasting ten rebounds to achieve a double-double. Spaniard Miguel Lorenzo finished the game as the Dragons most effective player, with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

For the Spinners, player coach Steven Gayle top scored with 24 points, while Josh Houghton finished the game on 20.

Mellor said: “I knew it was going to be a tough battle and I’m just pleased to come away with the win. We weren’t great defensively, either in effort or intelligence, but thankfully we put the decisive run together at the start of the fourth to open the game up. They (Lancashire Spinners) are going to be a major force in Division Two this year and they have stacks of talent, so all-in-all it’s a good win for us”.

The Dragons will be home to the winner of this weekend’s game between Worthing Thunder and Worcester Wolves II in a fourth-round tie scheduled for Sunday, November 16.

This Saturday, Bradford return to the Dragons Den (6:15pm), for their opening EBL Division One game against last season’s champions Reading Rockets.

At the game, there will be a presentation made to the victorious Yorkshire under-15 boys’ squad, who won the annual Regional Development Tournament held in Leeds in September.

Elsewhere for the Dragons, the under-14s enjoyed an emphatic victory at Killamarsh Derbyshire Arrows, 110-30, the under-16s beat City of Birmingham 80-58. and the under-18s completed a clean sweep for the junior teams by beating Leeds Tigers 79-63.