BRADFORD Dragons travel to the National Basketball Division One champions Essex Leopards on Sunday afternoon for their quarter-final match-up in the National Basketball League play-offs.

The Dragons, who finished their regular season with an away win at Worthing Thunder, two weeks ago, could only sit and watch last weekend, in the hope that other results would go in their favour.

And a win for Team Northumbria over their local rivals Tees Valley Mohawks finally cemented Bradford’s place in the end of season tournament. With Worthing also winning their final game, at Newham NASSA Neptunes, the Dragons were forced to take eighth place in the league table and therefore a visit to the divisional champions in this weekend’s quarter-finals.

The Dragons have been beaten in both league fixtures against the Leopards this season, going down 63-61 in a closely-fought contest in Essex and then losing out 75-63 in the home fixture last month.

However, the Dragons' form has significantly improved towards the back end of the season and they will be confident that they can pull off a shock result.

Head coach Chris Mellor said: “It’s been a tough year for the club, both on and off the court and, as we started 2015, relegation seemed more of a possibility than reaching the play-offs.

"However, the players stuck together, turned things around and we managed to put in some good performances when it mattered, which allowed us to sneak into eighth place.

“Sunday is a game that everyone is really looking forward to. Obviously, it’s not going to be easy, trying to beat the champions on their own floor, but it’s an unexpected bonus game for us and we go there with no pressure on us.”

The game takes place at the Brentwood Centre in Essex on Sunday afternoon, tip off at 4pm.

Meanwhile, the Dragons under-16s, who finished fourth in their North Premier Division, travel to undefeated Northern Conference winners Newcastle Eagles on Saturday for their play-off second round match (12:30pm).

Junior coach Dan Tordoff is proud of his team’s efforts this season, stating: “This is the first junior Dragons team to represent the club at Premier level. It has been a great achievement to finish fourth in the league, beating some strong teams along the way.

"Saturday’s game will be tough as, although Newcastle have played in a lower division, they have been extremely impressive and have gone the full season unbeaten.”

Dragons under-14s, who finished second in their league, are also in play-off action this weekend, entertaining Northants Thunder in their first round game at Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College on Sunday (12:30pm).

Tordoff says: “Although ourselves and Sheffield dominated this league, it will be a challenging game against Thunder, who are the fifth northern seeded team. We have built and improved from last season, with players taking huge strides in improving their game.”

Entry to Sunday’s game in Buttershaw is free of charge.