Plymouth City Patriots suffered a further two defeats this weekend, at the hands of Caledonia Gladiators and their South West rivals, Bristol Flyers.
Thursday saw the Patriots take one of the longest trips in British sport, as they headed to Glasgow to take on the Caledonia Gladiators at their brand new arena, The Amphitheatre. The Patriots started the game on fire, behind the blistering start of Taylor Johnson, who scored the Patriots first seven points. Unfortunately, the first quarter would be as good as it got for the visiting team, who slumped after the start of the second period and would go down by as many as eighteen points to the marauding Gladiators. The Patriots did fight back and managed a couple of scoring runs down the stretch, managing to cut the lead to single digits. However, the Gladiators proved too strong and controlled the final stages, running out the clock as winners 99-83.
TJ Atwood was once again tremendous for the traveling Patriots with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists including 2 steals and a single block.
"First quarter we were excellent. Best basketball we've played so far this season..." started Head Coach Paul James in his post game interview. He continued, "... We've got to find a way to value everybody's successes on the floor. I was delighted with the way we kept going until the end. Once we get everyone performing the way they can do, I think we'll be a very competitive team."
Saturday saw the Patriots return home for the third meeting this season already against the Bristol Flyers, needing to win and give them a chance to tie the four game series. The Flyers had very different ideas however, and set about dismantling the Patriots from the moment the ball was tossed up for the tip off. The Plymouth side went fourteen points down in the first quarter and just couldn't bring it back. The Flyers room the road win 68-92.
Coach James was understandably downbeat after the loss, saying "We were poor. We didn't play with the same intensity as Thursday night and Bristol took advantage of that." After such a heavy loss, James attempted to look ahead stating, "We're going to beed ten guys to show up and play the game, we didn't have that tonight and the level of performance was way below what I expect. The performance has to be much better."
With their third loss on the bounce, the Patriots will head to Cheshire for next week's fixture, sitting in the bottom two and outside the playoffs. The Phoenix have been a revelation this season so far, and once again the Plymouth side will face a stern test. Coach Paul James will have less than a week to rally the troops before heading north and trying to turn around the Patriots troubled start to the season.
Photo - Ryan Lee