BRADFORD Dragons lost their opening National League Division One match 72-58 against last season’s triple champions Reading Rockets.

The Dragons were missing Jermayne Laing due to a long-standing personal commitment, while head coach Chris Mellor is also still awaiting the arrival of his two American imports, Chris McGrew and Jeremee Davies.

However, Reading were also missing the services of their influential captain Dan Carter due to injury and had so far experienced a mixed start to their 2014-15 schedule.

Reading rocketed into a first-quarter 13-9 lead as the Dragons just couldn’t get the baskets to drop.

The second quarter saw the visitors extend their lead to nine points. However, the Dragons started to piece a few good plays together and pulled the game back to within three points, going into the half-time break 33-30 down.

The break gave the home crowd something to celebrate, as the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress presided over a special medal presentation to the Yorkshire under-15 boys’ squad, in recognition of their recent victory in Basketball England’s Regional Development Tournament.

The under-15s squad included four Dragons junior players, as well as being coached by Mellor’s assistant, Samuel Messam.

As play resumed, Reading again stretched their lead, this time to ten points, before Bradford finally seemed to find their game.

Putting in a huge effort, the home side took the lead for the first time in the game, before closing out the penultimate period with the scores tied at 46 apiece.

However, any optimism that had been created by the Dragons resurgence was quickly extinguished as Reading totally dominated the final phase of the game.

Mellor said: “It wasn’t a good performance from us. We turned the ball over way too much, made some bad decisions in transition offence and got out-rebounded. Reading were the better team on the night.”

Vance Silcott led the scoring for the Dragons with 16 points, also taking 11 rebounds. Veteran shooting guard Jason Swaine finished the game on 15 points, including four of his trademark three-pointers, with Spanish centre Miguel Lorenzo scoring 12 points.

Ex-England international Swaine said: “The game was a good indication of where we are as a team. We are progressing well and playing for each other, but all credit to Reading. They are a well-coached and highly talented team who took advantage during crucial parts of the game. We will now move on and focus on next weekend’s games.”

The Dragons host Team Northumbria at Bradford College Sports Hall, Trinity Road on Saturday, tip-off 6.15pm. Team Northumbria have already beaten Bradford during the round-robin phase of this season's National Trophy competition.