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Video interview with coach as Bury St Edmunds Bulldogs clinch maiden win in closely contested overtime thriller

Bury St. Edmunds Bulldogs Basketball Club have won their first ever senior match, as their Division Three Men’s team narrowly beat Hemel Storm II 115-108 in Division Three of the NBL.

The club, sponsored by Kuda Automotive and Moreton Hall Community Centre, played host at the Skyliner and tied 86-all across the four quarters to force it to overtime, with the Bulldogs claiming the extra period 29-22 for their first victory.

With captain Billy Smith and experienced guard Tom Guerrero missing due to injury, Ashley MacDonald slid into the starting line-up and provided a defensive spark for the home side.

Adam Ball led the side in scoring. Picture: G. Hickey
Adam Ball led the side in scoring. Picture: G. Hickey

In a tight first half, a late run from Hemel saw the guests open up a six point lead at 41-47.

After a score from Nick Allin, the hosts held the guests without a field goal for the next six minutes as the Bulldogs built an eight point lead of their own, with Vytautas Girdzius and Adam Ball each connecting from range twice.

But Hemel kept themselves within touching distance and, after MacDonald was forced off the pitch injured, they retook the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter.

It was a nailbiting last minute, with a three from Matt Spurling giving the Bulldogs an 86-83 lead with just 30 seconds to go, but Storm tied the game up as Girdzius fouled-out.

The first overtime was a nervy affair, dominated at the foul line, and while Bulldogs had an opportunity to close the game out, the game moved to another extra period. Bury raced out to start the second overtime, with Jimmy Steedman, Ed and Matt Spurling building a lead, before Storm pegged them back.

Tied at 103 apiece, the game moved to a third period of overtime and, with Kahn fouling out in the dying seconds of the period, Storm had to play with just four players.

MacDonald shook-off a dead-leg to come back into the game and sparked the Bulldogs to hold Hemel Storm without a field goal, while Denby Ablard dominated enroute to a historic win for Bury.

Denby Ablard and Ashley MacDonald sparked the side in the third and final overtime period. Picture: G. Hickey (21020855)
Denby Ablard and Ashley MacDonald sparked the side in the third and final overtime period. Picture: G. Hickey (21020855)

“All credit to Hemel, they played their hearts out today,” coach Arron MacDonald said. “I’m delighted with the win. Everyone played their part today. Adam led the side vocally and by example, Denby was superb for us, Vyto defended every inch of the floor and the Spurling brothers were clutch for us; but it was Ashley’s energy and effort that sparked this from minute one. He laid down a marker and the rest of the guys followed his lead.”

Adam Ball led the Bulldogs with 28 points and 10 rebounds, Denby Ablard added 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks, and Matt Spurling added 19 points and 3 steals.

The Bulldogs next travel to Nottingham Trent University Hoods on Sunday, November 10.

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