City of Birmingham Rockets recorded their first win of the new year yesterday as they ended table-topping Northamptonshire Titans’ 100% record at Utilita Arena Birmingham.
Rockets started brightly, with Nathan Ramsdale-Owen and Mike Thiep putting us 6-5 up after three minutes in front of an enthusiastic crowd in the indoor arena.
Rockets were on top for most of the early period but Titans still edged ahead – showing the cutting edge in the opening stages that had seen them win their previous ten.
However, we were soon back in front thanks to Ramsdale-Owen and the returning presence of Jordan Dawes, with Thiep providing vital blocks at the back.
Both sides were guilty of missing chances as the first quarter drew to a close, with Northampton even gaining the lead again before Louis Rogerson-Evans put us up 17-16 in the final few seconds of the first quarter.
Titans jumped ahead within seconds of the restart, with Rockets doing well to keep in touch in this period, as Northamptonshire soon were five ahead, their clinical shooting demonstrative of their promotion credentials.
But by the halfway point of the second quarter, there were only three points between the two sides, with Rockets putting in a good performance to match the league leaders.
Mike Price scoring form kept us in touch with the visitors going into the break as we kept pace to go into half-time just two points behind our table-topping opponents.
Theo Turner scored two immediately after the restart to put us ahead before Ramsdale-Owen increased our lead to four points.
Dawes, Thiep and Ramsdale-Owen combined as we went seven points up with Titans finding it hard to get a foothold in the game, with Rockets then opening up a nine-point lead as we went into the final quarter.
We started the final quarter much as we had finished the third, with Rogerson-Evans increasing our advantage to double figures while both Price and Thiep increased their tallies for the day.
Titans then looked to get back into the game and cut Rocket’s lead to just five points, leading to a tense final few minutes for the 600-odd strong fans inside the arena.
However, Thiep and Price both scored in the last couple of minutes to nullify our visitors and build an unassailable lead.
In the end, we ran out 75-68 winners and claimed a deserved victory against the league leaders in a statement display from Coach Douglas’ side.
Next weekend, it’s a double header, as we play Charnwood Riders away on Saturday followed by another away game as we travel to take on Nottingham Trent Hoods on Sunday.