Essex Blades 55 Fury 76
King’s Lynn Fury are on the brink of a play-off return after their victory at Essex Blades in Colchester on Saturday evening.
This vital result was sealed with a late 17-2 run which puts Fury just one win away from an almost certain play-off spot.
The win, Fury’s seventh on the spin, gives them an 11-3 record, consolidating third position in the National League Development League South East Division with four games to play.
The only side with a realistic prospect of ousting Fury is the Blades who currently sit in fourth place with an 8 and 6 record.
If Fury defeat bottom of the table Anglia Ruskin (1 and 14) tomorrow then the Blades would have to win out and Fury lose their remaining three fixtures to put them level on points.
Given that Fury entertain the Blades in their last home stand of the season, on Saturday, March 12, Fury would want the situation resolved well in advance of a potentially tricky contest. Even then, Fury hold a 21-point advantage in the head-to-head so Blades would still require an unlikely 22-point victory at Lynnsport to finish above Fury in the table.
Both sides went into Saturday’s game knowing that the stakes were high given that they had to face each other twice over the final few weeks of the regular season.
Fury emerged from the early exchanges with a 16-11 lead at the mid-point of the first quarter and extended their advantage to 24-17 at the first break.
There was some consternation in the Fury ranks as some ill-discipline at the start of the second allowed the Blades to cut the lead to three, 24-21, but Fury composed themselves and used an 11-3 run to give themselves a buffer at 35-24 at the mid-point of the second which became 42-32 at the half.
Fury were not at their most fluid and there was some dispute in the ranks during the break. This may have upset the Fury rhythm resulting in the third quarter being slow to ignite with defences on top.
Following five minutes of attritional play Fury had advanced into a 45-36 lead. Their buffer was gradually eroded over the remainder of the quarter as the Blades caught up at 50-45.
The closest the Blades got was to within four at 52-48. An Eivydas Aleska dunk sparked the Fury into action and with 6.22 remaining they led 59-53.
Fury took charge, allowing Blades only one more score as they ran in points at the other end.
Fury leading scorers: Arnas Maziliauskas 18 points, Aleska 14, Aliek Laryn 14.
Fury face a weekend double header knowing that if they maintain their winning run at home to Anglia Ruskin (Lynnsport 3pm) tomorrow then at Dagenham Dragons on Sunday, they are play-off bound. Closing out the season on a winning run could edge them into second place and ensure a more favourable post season draw.