25 years of Leopards – season 13

With the Brentwood Centre and Goresbrook just distant memories, Wodson Park was Leopards’ only home for the 2007/8 season – and it remains the only of the new Leopards’ 16 seasons that we managed to play all of our home games at the same venue. It was obviously something in the club’s DNA, during the first season back in 1996/7 they played one home game in Sunderland!
The days of bringing Americans to the club and paying players to travel out of London were over. While there was a still hardcore of fans from the old Leopards – and they were running the show – the club was effectively Ware Rebels with a different name and a different board of directors. Further justification for including Rebels as part of this history!
One positive move for the Big Cats was a link up with Barking Abbey Academy – run by Mark Clark who had coached Rebels and been an assistant at the old Leopards – which would see the east London school provide five players to form the basis of Jon Burnell’s bench.

Although Leopards opened their National Trophy campaign with a narrow win against West Anglia (AKA Kings Lynn) Fury, It was a tough start for Burnell’s new-look side and after a disappointing home loss against Taunton Tigers the Leopards’ coach and general manager Dave Ryan held a very long conversation about whether the side would even complete the season. That was on the morning of Friday October 19th with a game at Worthing scheduled for the following day. By the evening the whole situation had changed with the news that neighbours West Herts Warriors had withdrawn from Division One. Warriors had joined Division Three the year before the Leopards/Rebels merger and had been regular opposition in friendlies – Leopards winning all five – as well as being their first opponents in the National Cup. The 2006/7 season had seen Warriors move up to Division One, with Leopards winning both league games against them leading to their coach Tony Harrison commenting “we may as well merge, we’re never going to beat you”. The closure of Warriors’ first team (their second team continued in Division Three and, after a fair amount of moving around, morphed into Hemel Storm) left a pool of players and within hours Leopards had done deals to add three players. Former captain Matt Eames re-signed along with forward Lee McCarthy and American guard Antonio “Stix” Bright. The latter signing went against a decision to field only British players, but times were desperate and the club had managed to find a significant amount of coaching at Chauncey School in Ware (a school that Troy Selvey had helped coach to the National Schools Championship “B” Division).
The new players weren’t registered in time for the trip to Worthing, which ended in a heavy loss, but the following day progress was made in the National Cup with a 102-91 win against Hackney White Heat. The new players certainly made an immediate impact with four straight victories. and although Leopards went out of the Cup in a fractious game against Worthing that saw fighting in the stands after the final buzzer, but the time Bright was released after disappearing for a week (apparently he went to the dentist – in Southampton!) Leopards had moved up the table and were challenging for home court advantage in the play-offs. They came up short in the end, losing their final three league games to finish fifth before losing at Bristol in the play-offs, but considering the challenges they had faced it had been a relative success.

23 July 2007
Sam moves on
Leopards will be without shooting guard Sam Salter when the new EBL season starts in September. The 6′ 1″ shooting guard has accepted an offer to join Division One rivals Reading Rockets.

Ironically the moment most Leopards fans will remember Salter for came against Reading in the 2005/6 National Cup final at the NIA, Birmingham, when he sunk four free throws to help the Big Cats lift their first major trophy since their reformation the previous season.

“It was a very difficult decision to make” admitted the 30-year-old. “Phoning coach Burnell and telling him was extremely hard download apple logo. I’ve really enjoyed my time with Leopards, and I’ll miss a lot of people at the club.”

“We’re really sad to see Sam leave, but he goes with out best wishes” said general manager Dave Ryan.

“There’s players like Jerrid Campbell who you’re glad to see the back of, but then there’s people like Sam who make it worthwhile. He’s one of the most professional players you are likely to meet at this level. He didn’t have the greatest of seasons last year, but he was always at practice, always one of the first players at games, and always gave 100 percent.

“We signed Sam because we were fed up with him almost single handedly beating us when he played for Kingston, maybe Reading have done the same.”

As well as scoring the winning points against Reading in the National Cup final, Salter drained a late three pointer to win the game for Leopards when they met Rockets in the National Trophy group stage last season, the only defeat Dave Titmuss’ team suffered as they won the competition.
Sam was back with Leopards within weeks.

7 August 2007
Duncan re-signs
Leopards have been boosted by the news that last season’s player of the year Duncan Ogilvie will be returning to the club for the 2007/8 campaign.

The 6’ 5” former England international forward came through the Ware youth programme and joined the Leopards at the start of the last season.
He missed final month of the campaign due to a recurrence of the knee injury that has blighted his career, but following surgery in may, is fit and raring to go:

“I’m really pleased to be back, and I’m looking forward to working with the young kids and helping to develop them, but I also hope that we can have some success” he said.

Leopards coach Jon Burnell is delighted to see Ogilvie return to the Big Cats: “It’s a real boost to have Duncan back” he said. I’ve known him since he was a kid sitting on the end of the Ware bench. You could tell then that’ he’d succeed. He’s got the size and the athleticism, he can shoot the three and also play inside. He’s got experience in Europe and with the England team. He gives us a lot more options, and if he can stay healthy he’s be a real asset.”

Leopards’ general manager Dave Ryan is also pleased to see Ogilvie back at Wodson Park : “Duncan was our best player last season, and that was despite us bringing three players over from the States. He’s professional, cares about the club, and is one of the best players in Division One – we can’t ask for much than that.”

Along with assistant coach Lloyd Gardner, Ogilvie will be assisting Great Britain Women’s national team coach Mark Clarke as the GB side prepare for September’s crucial European Championship games

14 August 2007
San Jose know the way to Wodson
Leopards will start their build-up to the new basketball season on Saturday when American side San Jose State University are the visitors to Wodson Park for an international friendly game.

The Californian college have produced a total of 15 players who have progressed to the NBA, and will provide an extremely tough test for the Big Cats.

The Spartans finished eighth in the Western Athletic Conference last season with a 4-12 record, while in non-conference games – which are played against sides from other regional college leagues – they had a 1-13 record. A 50-49 loss against Idaho saw them go out of the conference tournament at the first stage.

The Big Cats will field a mixture of players already confirmed for the new season, together with some trialists and a couple of guest players.

“It will be a big test for us, but it gives us a chance to look at a few players before we start pre-season properly in September” said head coach Jon Burnell.

San Jose coach George Nessman is also looking forward to the game: “”This trip has been in the works for quite some time now” he said xbox gekaufte spiele erneut herunterladen.

“Our players and staff are extremely excited. This is a tremendous opportunity to travel & have a unique experience. We are very much looking forward to the competitive challenge of playing against professional teams.

“We have a very young team that will benefit greatly from the unique opportunity they have to bond with each other both on & off the basketball court. It is a great chance for our players to grow not only individually, but collectively.”

Leopards 73 (26,41,58,73) San Jose State University 107 (17,40,74)

Leopards could not build on a strong first half performance as they went down to a heavy defeat against San Jose University on Saturday.

In front of a big crowd at Wodson Park, the Big Cats fielded a team of trialists and guests, but found the visitors from the United States too tough as they took control after the half-time interval.

Former Milton Keynes Lions and West Herts Warriors centre Lee McCarthy led the Leopards’ scoring with 16 points, and was given good back-up from forward James Warwick – who played for the club during the National Cup winning season in 2005/6 – and 17-year-old point guard Lukas Volskis who scored 15 and 14 respectively.

It was Warwick – who spent last season in the top division of the Austrian League – who opened the scoring from the free-throw line, and he went on to score four of the first six Leopards points as they took a 6-2 lead. Back-to-back baskets from Steve Ogunjimi – another player to feature for Leopards in the 2005/6 campaign – took the hosts’ lead to 10-4 before four Warwick points made it 14-6 with four first period minutes remaining.
Leopards’ long range shooting put them in pole position during the closing minutes of the quarter, Volskis, McCarthy and Warwick all drained three pointers before Volskis hit a buzzer-beating three to send Leopards into the first break with a 26-17 lead.

Scores from Volskis, Nathan Wilson and Simon Taylor saw Leopards open the second period strongly, extending their lead to 33-20 after three minutes play. That proved to be as good as it got for Jon Burnell’s team, and three scoreless minutes – not helped by McCarthy and Leigh Greenan each missing a pair of free-throws – saw the Spartans go on an 11-0 tear to close the gap to 34-33 with two minutes of the half remaining.
A Warwick three broke the run, and further scores from McCarthy and Ogunjimi kept Leopards’ lead around the four mark before three late San Jose point sent the teams into the locker room with the Big Cats leading 41-40.

McCarthy’s second trey of the game launched a 6-0 Leopards’ run as they started the second half strongly, with Canadian guard Dwayne Selby converting a three-point play to put the home side 47-40 ahead. A Jamon Hill basket and a Tim Pierce trey narrowed that advantage to two points before a single Selby free-throw and a Wilson jump shot took Leopards back into a five point lead. Hill and Darrion Goins cut that lead to a single point before Goins drained a trey to give Spartans their first lead of the game – and they never trailed again.

Fifteen straight points from the visitors, capped by an Oliver Caballero basket put them 60-50 ahead, and although Volskis drained another shot from long range, San Jose reached the final break with a 74-58 lead.

There never looked any chance of a Leopards comeback in the fourth quarter, as Spartans repeatedly scored in transition to stretch the lead. A monster dunk from McCarthy gave the home fans something to cheer about, but despite the margin of the loss the game gave coach Burnell the chance to look at plenty of players are Leopards prepare for the new season all pdf of a web page.

October 2007
It will be a considerably different Leopards team taking to the floor on Saturday when the Big Cats host SUAF Mildenhall Marauders at Wodson Park, tip-off 7.30pm.

With EBL Division One neighbours West Herts Warriors going bankrupt and withdrawing from the league at the end of last week, Jon Burnell’s side have moved quickly to sign three of their squad. The most familiar face will be captain Matt Eames who returns to the Big Cats after a year with Warriors.

Eames lifted the National Cup for the Leopards when they beat Reading Rockets at the Birmingham NIA in December 2005, but left at the beginning of last season due to limited court time.

Another face that the Leopards fans will recognise is centre Lee McCarthy. The 6’ 8” Englishman has BBL experience with Milton Keynes Lions and top scored for the Big Cats in their pre-season game against San Jose University before opting to remain with the Warriors.

Perhaps the most exciting signing for the Leopards, however, is 6’ 5” American shooting guard Antonio Bright.

The former Kentucky Wesleyan University player joined Solent Stars midway through last season, and helped transform their campaign as they moved away from the foot of the table to reach the play-offs.

Having left the Stars, who subsequently pulled out of the league, Bright – nicknamed “Sticks” – linked up with Warriors and following their demise, Leopards pounced to sign him.

“It was clear that we had to made some additions to our squad” said General Manager Dave Ryan. “We always intended a mix of six senior and six junior players, but we were really struggling to get some bigger senior players. Lee and Matt will help us in the centre and forward spots, and will bring some much needed experience.
“We had looked for an American based in England, and Sticks is a player who fits that bill. He’s proved he can play in this league, and financially it’s feasible because he is already in the country.”
The signing of Bright will also enable Leopards to resume coaching at Chauncey School in Ware, with the club looking to increase the coaching in the area.
Saturday’s game at Wodson will see the Big Cats open their Braintree Sports Trophy campaign against a Mildenhall side who won the first game in the competition by beating West Anglia Fury 69-64.

Leopards snatch opening win
Leopards 81 (20,46,61) West Anglia Fury 79 (13,35,57)

Leopards survived a fight-back from Fury to open their National Trophy campaign with victory at Wodson Park, on Saturday. Led by 18 points from Gareth Laws and 16 apiece from Nathan Wilson and Carl Lathem-Henry, the Big Cats held on to start their season with a win as Lamar Hull’s last second shot missed the target.

With a new look side built around academy players from Barking Abbey School, the home side started slowly, with only a basket from Lathem-Henry in the first three and a half minutes as Fury took a 6-2 lead.

With both referees calling numerous fouls, two Lathem-Henry free-throws and two from four from Deng Deng kept the hosts in touch before four straight Lathem-Henry saw them take an 11-8 lead.

Leopards’ up-tempo style was clearly causing the visitors problems, and three point plays from Deng, captain Sam Salter and Lucas Volskis sent the Big Cats into the first break with a 20-13 lead.

That lead grew to 12 as Leopards opened the second period with a Wilson basket followed by three-pointer from Laws. That proved to the first of three treys for Laws in the second quarter as the Big Cats took control of the game, opening up a 15 point lead following a Volskis trey with two minutes of the half remaining deutsche songs kostenlosen. They should have wrapped the game up at that stage, but allowed the visitors to finish the half with a 6-2 run to cut the half-time advantage to 46-35.

Scores from Fola Adeleke and Laws saw the lead back up to 15 after two minutes of the second half, but an 11-3 run – Laws hitting another three – put Fury back into the game.

Deng and Greenan put Leopards pack into a 57-47 lead, but as Leopards got into foul trouble the Norfolk side scored ten straight points to level the score before baskets from Adeleke and Laws sent the Big Cats into the final break with a 61-57 lead.

That lead evaporated as Fury opened strongly, and two technical fouls of Laws saw Fury’s player-coach James Bamfield put his side into a one point lead with three-from-four foul shooting. Six straight Lathem-Henry points put Leopards back into the lead, and they were ahead 73-67 going into the final three minutes before young centre Nathan Wilson took over.

The 17-year-old scored eight straight points as Leopards held off the Fury challenge. He caped the run with a pair of free-throws to put the Big Cats up by five with 23 seconds remaining.

Although Richard Milbourne drained three straight treys to keep the visitors in the game, and Sam Salter uncharacteristically missed two free-throws, the Big Cats held on to wrap up their first win of the campaign.

Leopards 77 (16,43,61) Worthing Thunder 79 (29,45,60)

Poor foul shooting cost Leopards as their National Cup dreams were ended by league champions Worthing Thunder on Sunday.

The Big Cats missed 11 of their 19 fourth period foul shots, including four in the final 20 seconds as they came agonizingly close to ending Thunder’s unbeaten start to the season.

Carl Latham-Henry led the Big Cats with 22 points, while Gareth Laws hit 15 and Sam Salter 13, but the result left Coach Jon Burnell a disappointed man:

“All the signs are good for our team, but I’m absolutely gutted about the two point loss. We played pretty well, and we are beginning to get where we need to be if we are going to win games like this. I’m really disappointed, because it was a real chance to win something.”

In common with the previous night’s win at Coventry, the Big Cats had a poor first period, and although a Salter trey gave them a 7-6 lead after three minutes play, a 16-2 run from the visitors put them in control at 22-11 with three minutes of the period remaining. A Laws three-pointer broke the run, but a basket from Cleve Woodfork and a James Mooney trey sent the visitors into the first break with a 29-16 lead.

Latham-Henry started the second period with a pair of baskets to cut the deficit to nine before Matt Collins scored his first points in a Leopards’ vest with a trey. The hosts still trailed by 14 midway through the quarter, but Bright, Latham-Henry and Salter all contributed in a 13-2 run to drag themselves back into the game, and scores from Lee McCarthy and Salter cut the deficit to two at half-time.

Demetrice Scott scored the first four points of the second half to extend Thunder’s lead to six, but five Latham-Henry points in a 9-2 run put Leopards into a 52-51 lead with just over five minutes of the period gone. The rest of the period proved to be a nip-tuck affair, but late treys from Collins and Bright sent Leopards into the final break with a 61-60 lead.

Scott and Dan Midgley put Worthing into a three point lead with the first scores of the fourth period, before Salter leveled things with another score from the Lane of Plenty prime music lieder herunterladen. A Leigh Greenan basket put Leopards ahead as the midway stage of the period approached, but four points from Midgley and a James Mooney free-throw saw Thunder open a 72-68 lead.

One-from-two foul shooting from both McCarthy and Lathem-Henry halved the deficit before James Brame scored a trey two and half minutes before the end to give Thunder a 75-70 lead. McCarthy scored proved to be game’s final field goal to cut their lead to three, but missed the bonus shot after being fouled by Ryan Marrast.

Laws was fouled while taking a three pointer for the second time in the game, and sunk two of the three foul shots to make the score level the score at 75 before Scott sunk three out of four free-throws after being fouled by Collins and Bright.

As they game went into the final 20 seconds, Bright was fouled by Midgley, but missed both free-throws, and after McCarthy had collected the rebound he was fouled by Okolie Ugbana. However, he emulated Bright by missing both shots, leaving Laws with no choice but to foul Marrast to stop the clock. Incredibly the Canadian/British dual national also missed both shots, and although Latham-Henry managed to get a shot off on the buzzer, it fell short and Leopards’ cup hopes came to an end.

Leopards: C Latham-Henry 22, G Laws 15, S Salter 13, S Bright 9, L McCarthy 8, M Collins 6, L Greenan 2, M Eames 2, L Volskis.

Leopards out of Trophy but through in Cup
Leopards 102 (23,54,82) Hackney White Heat 91 (17,38.61)

A season-high 28 points from Gareth Laws helped Leopards into the third round of the National Cup on Sunday afternoon.

The Big Cats will now face Division Two side BCU Wolverhampton at Wodson Park on Sunday November 11, with a home tie in the quarter-finals awaiting the winner.

With Lloyd Gardner coaching in Jon Burnell’s absence, the home side never trailed against Division Three side White Heat, but the visitors refused to lie down, and it wasn’t until Laws drained his six three-pointer of the night with two minutes remaining that the win was finally sealed.

Big men Nathan Wilson and Alex Scotland-Williamson returned after missing the previous night’s loss at Worthing, but Fola Adeleke sat out with an injured thumb.

Three-point shooting proved to be the key in the Big Cats’ victory, and they gave an early indication of that with Lucas Volskis opening the scoring from beyond the arc.

Three treys and an “and-one” from Laws saw the shooting guard help the home side into a 15-10 lead at the midway stage of the first period, and a three-pointer from captain Sam Salter saw them go into the first break with a 23-17 lead.

Four points from both Wilson and Carl Latham-Henry saw Leopards open a 35-24 lead with four minutes of the second period gone, and they kept their double-digit advantage with treys from Salter and Laws.

A pair of Deng Deng free-throws took the lead out to 14, and a Salter trey sent Leopards into the locker room with a 54-38 lead.

That lead grew to 18 points as Latham-Henry and Laws opened the second half scoring, and a basket from the former saw Leopards ahead by 20 points at the midway stage of the third period. Salter drained another three-pointer, and Leopards went into the final break with a 21 point lead

A Wilson put-back extended the lead to 23 points three minutes into the final stanza, but an 11-2 run from the visitors cut the margin back to 11 points with three minutes remaining.

Scores from Latham-Henry and Salter kept the scoring ticking over, and Laws iced the victory with another long range shot to send Leopards into the last 16.

Worthing Thunder 112 (25,55,83)
Leopards 76 (21,41,61)

A good performance by an undermanned and undersized Leopards team failed to prevent them ending their National Trophy campaign with a defeat on Saturday outlook app.

Facing a Worthing Thunder side who won the league and play-offs last season, the Big Cats were without all three big men, Leigh Greenan, Nathan Wilson and Alex Scotland-Williamson, forcing coach Jon Burnell to field a small line-up, with small forward Fola Adeleke having probably his first start in his career as a centre.

Despite that, the Leopards coach was delighted with how his team played: “I was really pleased with how they responded, especially in the first half. It would have been really tough even with the big guys, but I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them.”

Deng Deng and Gareth Laws led the Big Cats’ scoring with 17 point apiece, with Carl Latham-Henry (14) and Adeleke (11) also scoring well.

After Demetrius Scott had given the hosts the lead, Leopards proceeded to shock the home side as they went on a 11-7 run to take the lead, with Deng scoring nine of the points.

Back-to-back three pointers from Laws kept the Big Cats in front, and although the hosts outscored Leopards 14-4 in the closing stages of the period, another Laws trey ensured that Leopards only trailed 25-21 at the first break.

A poor start to the second period saw Thunder drain 14 straight points to effectively put the game beyond the visitors, but they continued to plug away, and a pair of Lukas Volskis free-throws sent the teams into the locker room with Worthing leading 55-41.

With Leopards struggling from the free-throw line, Thunder continued to stretch the lead in the third period, and it took a Deng lay-up followed by Laws’ fourth trey of the game to cut the deficit to 83-61 at the final break.

The fourth quarter saw the onslaught continue, as Leopards continued to struggle to grab rebounds, and although captain Sam Salter drained his second three-pointer of the night, it was left Latham-Henry to wrap up the scoring for the night.

Despite the manner of the defeat, the performance and commitment of the players was far superior to the previous year, when a supposedly more experienced and better side crashed to a 45-point loss.

Bristol Flyers 105 (26,47,71)
Leopards 96 (23,34,55)

A late comeback wasn’t enough to prevent Leopards’ season ending with a play-off quarter-final loss at Bristol on Saturday.

Gareth Laws hit a club record 39 points for the Big Cats, including six three-points from eight attempts, but the visitors never looked likely to reach their first post-season semi-finals.

Captain Sam Salter added 22 points, also hitting six treys, while Carl Latham-Henry added 14 and Errol Seaman chipped in with ten points and five rebounds.

After Laws had scored the first point of the game, Flyers took an early lead with a six straight points, thanks to scores from Ryan Williams and Gareth Till. However, excellent three-point shooting by Salter and Laws would put the visitors 19-15 ahead with three minutes left in the first period.

That was the last time the visitors would lead the game as a quick seven points by Williams put the Flyers 26-20 ahead before Salter halved that lead with a buzzer-beating three.

A change of defence by Bristol team caused uncertainty to the Leopards side as the Flyers went on a 15-4 run in the first six minutes of the second period. Leopards’ Carl Latham-Henry cut the Flyers lead down by nine, but another five points by Williams and a couple of free throws by Makowski and Ahmed sent Flyers into the locker room with a 47-34 lead herunterladen.

The Flyers with the help of Simons and Makowski started the second half with six unanswered points to extend the lead to its biggest margin, 53-34. Leopards though did not give up and with three quick successful shots from beyond the arc by Salter, brought the deficit down to 10.

Bristol regained the initiative, and they scored the last seven points of the third period to lead 71-55 going into the final break.

Two consecutive threes by Makowski and Streete put the Flyers even further ahead and after a few exchanges of baskets and another three by Lee Treasure saw Flyers again take the lead out to 19, as they led 83-64 with six minutes remaining.

Leopards still had one more run in them, and an and-one from Errol Seaman helped them score nine unanswered points to cut the deficit to 85-75. Simons halted the run with a trey, but three pointers from Matt Collins and Laws, together with a pair of Latham-Henry free-throws saw Bristol’s lead cut to 88-83 with three minutes remaining.

Leopards kept within eight until the final minute, but consecutive Williams points ended their resistance and sent the Big Cats out of the competition.

Leopards: G Laws 39, S Salter 22, C Latham-Henry 14, E Seaman 10, M Collins 6, M Eames 4, F Adeleke 1, L Volskis, R Lloyd, B Warden

24 January 2008
Leopards back to all British

Leopards have announced that they have released American guard/forward Antonio “Stix” Bright following a serious breach of club discipline.

Bright was suspended by the club for the pre-Christmas game against West Anglia Fury after he failed to attend any of the community work he was scheduled to do or attend practice.

A meeting between the American and club officials ended with Bright threatening General Manager Dave Ryan, and he has subsequently been fired by the Ware-based team.

“This wasn’t a decision taken lightly” said Ryan “We had invested a lot of time and money in the signing – but his behaviour in the weeks leading up to the game against West Anglia Fury, and at the meeting following the game meant we were left with little choice.

“It became apparent during his two months with the club that Stix’ main reason for being in England was to be with his girlfriend. The fact that she was based in Southampton meant that he neglected basically everything we needed him to do, and it became obvious that the situation could not continue.

Obviously it’s a disappointment to have to cut Stix, there was still plenty of positives this season. We have a team of British players who give 100 percent every night, and with us for the right reasons. We should have stuck to our guns and only signed British-based players who actually want to play for us – lesson learned, I guess.”

Leopards finally start their EBL Division One programme on Saturday evening when West Anglia Fury are the visitors to Wodson Park, tip-off 7.30pm.

The sides also met in the opening game of this season’s National Trophy, with Leopards surviving a second half fight-back from James Bamfield’s side to win 81-79.

Since then, Fury have lost the services of American C Hull, who returned to the States due to homesickness, and are likely to be without the services of recent signing Osemwegie who is due to start a ban following his ejection against Worthing.

Leopards will also field a radically different side to the one which beat Fury in late September – though in their case the changes have been additions to their squad tomb raider 2 kostenlos downloaden vollversion.

Recent signings Antonio Bright, Matt Eames and Lee McCarthy are all in the squad, and they should be joined by the players who missed last week’s win against Mildenhall. Gareth Laws missed that game due to a wedding, while Sam Salter and Michael Johnson spent the evening waiting for a tow-truck. Deng Deng and Fola Adeleke are both still doubts with wrist and thumb injuries respectively.

The new signings have excited coach Jon Burnell: “We needed someone who could points on the board, and “Stix” is a proven scorer in this league. We also knew that we desperately needed an inside presence, and we tried to get Lee in the summer. We missed out on him then, but he’ll definitely help us now. Matt is our former captain, and we know exactly what we’ll get from him. He’s a borderline veteran now, and he’s switched on to what we want to do. We now have the mix of junior and senior players we wanted. The seniors will want to get the job done and win things, and we have juniors who are looking to prove themselves. If we can get the balance right on the floor, we’ll have a successful season.”

22/11/7

Leopards add Collins

Leopards will field new signing Matt Collins when the host Worthing Thunder in the National Cup on Sunday.

Collins joins the Big Cats from BBL side Worcester Wolves where he was a regular starter in the BBL last season.

The guard is no stranger to Coach Jon Burnell as the pair played together with the original Ware Rebels when they won the EBL Division One in 1997.

Collins, who celebrates his 32nd birthday on Friday, also has experience with Crystal Palace and Coventry Crusaders as well as having spells in Ireland and Spain. He also represented Great Britain in the World University Games in 1999.

Coach Burnell is delighted to link up with his old team-mate again: “He’s proved he’s a quality player at our level, and he’s spent a season starting in the BBL. He’ll give us some problems as we now have too many players of the same ilk, but that is a great luxury. He knows he won’t get loads of minutes to start with, but it’s up to all of the players to earn their court-time now. I’m sure Matt will be a great asset to the team.”

Worthing have started the season with nine straight victories, and having won the league title with only one loss in 22 games last season, and also picking up the EBL play-off crown, Thunder will prove extremely tough opponents when the sides meet at Wodson Park (tip-off 4pm).

Nonetheless, Burnell is still hopeful that his side can progress in the competition they won two seasons ago: “There’s only a couple of players left from when we won the Cup, but it’s something everyone at the club is looking to repeat.”

Leopards’ have already lost on the South Coast this season, with a depleted team going down 112-76, but that performance was a vast improvement on the previous season’s 119-74 defeat in Worthing. The return at Wodson Park proved to far more entertaining, with Thunder winning a thriller 111-104.

The Big Cats are also in action on Saturday when they will look to maintain their 100 percent start to the EBL Division One side with a trip to Coventry Crusaders.

The midlands side have made an indifferent start to the campaign, winning only one of their six games against top flight opposition and crashing out of the National Cup against Division Three side Mansfield Giants.

In contrast to Leopards’ results against Worthing last season, the Big Cats won both games against the Crusaders in 2006/7, beating them 84-72 at home and 103-61 away samsung galaxy a5 foto's downloaden.

March 2007 Thunder game the biggest challenge yet

Jon Burnell admits that Leopards’ home encounter with Worthing Thunder on Saturday is his side’s biggest challenge of the season.

The Big Cats need to defeat the Thunder if they are to clinch fourth spot in the EBL Division One table, and a home play-off quarter-final against Bristol Academy Flyers.

Defeat against the south coast side would leave Burnell’s team needing to travel to Bristol.

“It’s the biggest game of the season for us” said Burnell. “We simply have to play better than we did against Derby. We’ve got to go out there and put it all on the line against them.

“It would be a real disappointment if we don’t get home court advantage after everything we’ve done.

“I doubt anyone thought we were capable of finishing in the top four after we announced we were going without Americans and we weren’t paying players, but having been in the top four all season it would be a shame if we couldn’t finish the job.”

Thunder have won the last two Division One titles, but will have to settle for third place this season.

The sides have met three times this season, and although the South Coast side have won all three games, the last two have gone down to the wire.

Leopards will welcome back Matt Eames after he missed the loss at Derby Trailblazers, but Leigh Greenan is unlikely to play due to an ankle injury.

hunder game the biggest challenge yet

Jon Burnell admits that Leopards’ home encounter with Worthing Thunder on Saturday is his side’s biggest challenge of the season.

The Big Cats need to defeat the Thunder if they are to clinch fourth spot in the EBL Division One table, and a home play-off quarter-final against Bristol Academy Flyers.

Defeat against the south coast side would leave Burnell’s team needing to travel to Bristol.

“It’s the biggest game of the season for us” said Burnell. “We simply have to play better than we did against Derby. We’ve got to go out there and put it all on the line against them.

“It would be a real disappointment if we don’t get home court advantage after everything we’ve done.

“I doubt anyone thought we were capable of finishing in the top four after we announced we were going without Americans and we weren’t paying players, but having been in the top four all season it would be a shame if we couldn’t finish the job.”

Thunder have won the last two Division One titles, but will have to settle for third place this season.

The sides have met three times this season, and although the South Coast side have won all three games, the last two have gone down to the wire.

Leopards will welcome back Matt Eames after he missed the loss at Derby Trailblazers, but Leigh Greenan is unlikely to play due to an ankle injury.

Gareth Laws – Leopards MVP 2007/08

Gareth Laws was presented with the Leopards Most Valuable Player award for the 2007/8 season following the club’s final home game of the season.

The English shooting guard led Leopards’ scoring on 13 occasions during the season, including a club record 39 point haul in their season-ending play-off defeat against Bristol Academy Flyers knitting guide for free.

“Gareth’s been a real leader for us this season” said Big Cats’ General Manager Dave Ryan. “He’s had some great games for us, but along with Sam Salter, he’s also really helped the younger players.

“When we were without a coach at Taunton, he stepped up, ran the team and still finished as top scorer. The fans obviously appreciated what he’s brought to us on the court this season, but he deserved the award as much for the other stuff as well.”

Previous Winners
2006/07 – Duncan Olgivie
2005/06 – Errol Seaman

22/11/7

Leopards add Collins

Leopards will field new signing Matt Collins when the host Worthing Thunder in the National Cup on Sunday.

Collins joins the Big Cats from BBL side Worcester Wolves where he was a regular starter in the BBL last season.

The guard is no stranger to Coach Jon Burnell as the pair played together with the original Ware Rebels when they won the EBL Division One in 1997.

Collins, who celebrates his 32nd birthday on Friday, also has experience with Crystal Palace and Coventry Crusaders as well as having spells in Ireland and Spain. He also represented Great Britain in the World University Games in 1999.

Coach Burnell is delighted to link up with his old team-mate again: “He’s proved he’s a quality player at our level, and he’s spent a season starting in the BBL. He’ll give us some problems as we now have too many players of the same ilk, but that is a great luxury. He knows he won’t get loads of minutes to start with, but it’s up to all of the players to earn their court-time now. I’m sure Matt will be a great asset to the team.”