Anglia Ruskin Uni 48
King’s Lynn Fury hoped that two wins over the weekend would guarantee them a National League Development Division Play-Off spot.
Half the job was done when they defeated bottom of the table, Anglia Ruskin University, on Saturday afternoon at Lynnsport.
Whilst the postponement of Sunday’s game at Dagenham Dragons means that Fury must wait to ensure that a Play-Off spot is mathematically certain, local rivals Cambridge Cats did Fury a huge favour by notching a 78-68 victory over Essex Blades which eliminated them from the race for third place.
On Sunday, Fury (12 & 3) held second spot although Southwark Pride (11 & 2) retain the advantage in the race for a top two finish as they have recorded two wins against Fury.
Pride were the last team to defeat Fury back in December since when Fury have won eight in a row.
It appears mathematically possible for Dagenham Dragons (7 & 6) to win out and draw level with Fury should Fury lose their final three games. However, Dragons have lost their last four and three of their remaining fixtures are against top three sides, including the final game of the season, on March 13, when Fury play Sunday’s rescheduled match.
Given the fact that the Dragons forfeit the game at Lynn then they would need a huge win and some interesting interpretation of the rules to oust Fury.
Meanwhile, Fury face a really tough encounter against leaders and newly crowned champions Greenwich Titans (16 & 1) at Lynnsport at 6pm tomorrow.
Any single win over their final three games sees Fury dispense with mathematical uncertainties. There is also the knowledge that the more games they win the better their ranking for the play-offs.
Saturday’s strange earlier tip-off time had an effect. There were fewer home supporters and the match began with a substitute referee as the scheduled official had not initially noticed the unusual timing and then was stuck in traffic.
In a great first quarter Fury flew into a 6-0 lead. ARU pulled things back to 15-12 before Fury closed out the quarter with a 15-2 run.
Fury were ahead by 30-14 with six triples, three from Mindaugas Spukas, a pair from Eivydas Aleska and the other from Giedrius Pakalniskis who was at the heart of Fury’s early domination.
Refereeing equilibrium was restored for the second quarter but that did not explain the much slower pace of play. Fury did ring the changes and found it tougher to convert their opportunities but still went in with a useful 41-28 interval lead.
Spukas in the third period hit three consecutive triples in a 9-2 Fury run which effectively put the result beyond doubt. ARU were restricted to just eight points in the stanza as Fury headed into the final period 58-36 up.
Coach James Bamfield ensured that all players got a run, including a number of Academy players who round out the bench, Saul Holland being particularly impressive.
Deividas Butkevicius helped himself to eight points in the final three minutes.
Leading scorers: Spukas 21 points, Aleska 14, Butkevicious 12, Pakalniskis 12.
Tomorrow’s match-up with the Titans promises to be one of the best games of the season at Lynnsport. Fury are the underdogs but their fantastic crowd have lifted them to improbable victories in the past.