With 3 wins out of 4 Shock Wheelchair have made a great start to the National League Division 3 (South). The run of good form includes wins over Sussex Tigers, Cardiff Celts and a famous victory against local rivals Gloucester Blazers. The story so far……..
SWBC Tigers v Swindon Shock
After a lengthy break away from competitive action, a fresh looking Swindon Shock squad started their division 3 campaign with an away fixture to SWBC Tigers. A team that resides in Brighton and has fought Shock twice previously, with one win and one loss a great deal of trepidation was felt on the coach journey down to the Tigers. Wasting no time to blow off the cobwebs and ease up the joints, Shock went about draining shots and lay ups as part of the standard warm up ritual, much to the evident concern of the opposing squad. With a new team to utilise, coach Kev Ogborne picked his starting 5 to begin the 2014/15 season. Straight away it was very clear that this was a different Shock team from the previous season, shots from all positions on the floor were falling, and from a variety of players. With very little negative feedback to offer going on into the second half, a highly aggressive press eliminated key SWBC Tigers players from the game whilst lay ups, shots from the floor and even 3 pointers were raining on a shocked Tigers team. The final whistle blew and Swindon Shock was elated with the standard they played at, perhaps there was surprise but it was certainly a game that put our stamp on the rest of the season. Final score 35-70.
Gloucester Blazers v Swindon Shock
With the tremors of the previous Shock result resonating throughout the league a confident Shock team took to the road once again for a notoriously competitive away fixture at the Gloucester Blazers. A team that has won and been beaten by Shock on a number of occasions, it was safe to say that the basketball history runs deep between these two established organisations. The same Shock side took to the challenging rubber court at the University of Gloucestershire , with signs of a potentially difficult game already present just through trying to move around on the resistant surface. With worries put aside by the experienced members of the Shock squad, an incredibly aggressive set of plays dictated the flow of the game for much of the first half, with very little falling for the Shock team. When the baskets did fall it was much to the detriment of an increasingly fatigued Shock team who were not used to such fast paced end to end action. A small Shock lead separated the teams at half time, believing that a further victory was on the cards, a number of decisions were made that ultimately swung the result in favour of a very hard working Blazers squad. Alongside a hostile away crowd and a huge momentum shift, the lead slowly crept away from the frustrated Shock squad and into the hands of Blazers. The fourth quarter certainly held much heartache for the Shock team as the balance of the game was tipped from possession to possession, a stunning 3 pointer from Macaulay hinted that Shock may be onto a second consecutive victory but the story was far from over. A tactical time out from the Blazers coaching staff enabled them to gather together a plan of attack, one that would be their last. With a series of passes that broke down the Shock defence, the ball fell to ex-Shock player Martin Lane, with 3 seconds left on the clock the shot went up, backboard and in. After the small celebration and clock restart, there was not enough time for Shock to bring the game back, psychologically it was a huge loss initially, but with words of encouragement we packed up and prepared rigorously for the return fixture. Final score 37-36.
Swindon Shock v Gloucester Blazers
After a number of additional training sessions put on by Shock coach Antonio Wilburn, with a focus of working on our shooting whilst fatigued, the work rate on and off the court would certainly play a huge part in this game. Facebook invites and communications were sent out to gather the Shock supporters for the tough reverse fixture against the Blazers. Players arrived early, headphones were in to focus and a steady warmed up gathered Shock both physically and mentally. Stand in coach for the day Dave Colclough outlined the plan for a team that felt ready for revenge. The press play that started the game brought no success and a quick 0-8 lead went to Gloucester Blazers, much to the disappointment of both players and fans. A tactical timeout adjusted the plan, players were told to keep calm and were reminded that in just 4 plays we can be level with the Blazers. After a series of very controlled offensive and aggressive defensive plays Shock began their claw back, a roused home audience were very much the driving force behind this attack that certainly pushed the team onto a very convincing result by half time. In an attempt to match the aggressive nature Shock were playing, Blazers encountered foul trouble that ended up being their Achilles heel in what was a must win game for them, key players were fouled out and Shock went about picking apart a replacement team that were clearly not prepared for such an onslaught. With the momentum well and truly shifted and an electric crowd hollering for a victory, shock dealt the final hammer blow that saw a dismayed Blazers team brought down to a loss. Whilst it was only the third game of the season, the result was evident proof that with extra training, and the right mentality off the court, the team can be rewarded with the result they deserve, an important lesson for players young and old on the squad. Final score 49-39.
Swindon Shock v Cardiff Celts 2
Mince pies and numerous roast dinners had occupied the majority of the time for the Shock squad as the Christmas break allowed some time off from training. With only one training session in the lead up to this fixture, there was a sense of unease amongst the younger, less-experienced players on the squad who were worried that their shooting may not come together on the day. Time was set aside before the game to allow those nerves to settle and for shots to start making the reassuring swish noise that the Shock team would be all too familiar with in the coming hours. A strong starting 5 was selected and the press play was chosen against a Celts team who were hungry for their first victory. An early basket from Captain Stewart Elliott started off a rampage of scoring for a Shock team who were clearly not fazed by the Christmas break. A tough press halted Celts from making any serious progress with their offense and the point difference was ever increasing as the time went by. This was a perfect opportunity for a number of players to get game time experience, particularly for Jordan Hunt and Jamie Whitbread who both saw their first competitive baskets in division 3 fall in spectacular fashion. With smiles on the faces of players on and off court and minutes played by every member of the squad, the final whistle was blown with next to no drama for Shock. Not only was this an emphatic victory but it was also the largest margin Shock has ever won by, a fact that will be remembered for a time to come and will reenergise the squad for the start of 2015 and their difficult climb to the top of the league. Final score 82-32.
Shock travel away to Tornados on 25th Jan with high hopes of another win. For all training and fixtures dates please check out our Team Snap page.