Even with the presumed home game advantage, Warriors knew they had a fight on their hands with the on-paper superior Panthers.
But the home team sent the visitors home with only a narrow victory. The Warriors are known for their physical strength but it took that and steely mental focus that almost sent the Panthers home with a near defeat.
The game was against an unbeaten strong Carlisle Panthers who are favourites for promotion.
The Warriors got off to a flyer in the first quarter with a solid defence conceding only 3pts.
Warriors tactic was to play a pressing game which paid off, creating a few turnovers.
Guards Murphy and local boy Craig Gorrie shared 8pts between them, power forward Davidson hitting 2pts in the first quarter, finishing a respectable 10 to the Panthers’ 3pts.
Power forward Gary Davidson later said: “We decided to start the second quarter the way we finished the first.”
Davidson found his shooting boots, scoring 9pts; then Gorrie 4pts; Logan 2pts and Reid 2pts. It was a closer quarter but the Warriors were still in command at half time, 17-12.
Panthers’ experience began to show as they clawed back the Warriors lead - Warriors only hitting 9pts in the quarter: Logan 4pts; Davidson 3pts; and Reid 2pts. The score at the end of the third quarter a tantalising 36-29 to the Warriors.
A 7pts lead in the final quarter should have boosted the Warriors confidence but, facing a more experienced team and with the strain of a full court press throughout the match, Warriors were taking nothing for granted.
Panthers took advantage of the Warriors’ tired shots but still took until the final two minutes to draw level. The game hung in the balance at 40pts a piece until the 39th minute when the Panthers finally snatched a narrow lead for the first time in the match.
With one minute remaining, the Panthers played the clock down, running out of winners with the following score putting Panthers in the lead 42-40.
Warriors are away to Nottingham Jaguars and Sheffield Steelers the weekend of November 22-23. Their next home game will be on Sunday, November 30 at Eastwood High School. Tip off 1.20pm.