Solent Stars 1991/92 Season

Back row: Alex Byrne, Steve Chant, Rich Lawrence, Andy Rowlands, Craig Metcalf, Jason Colgan, Masai Ujiri, Keith Moir
Front row: Martin Dowdall, Marc Barfoot, Paul Philp, Mick Byrne, Jim Rumsey, Nic Burns, Jon Rumsey, Joe Morant
On floor: Mark Jackson

Having won the South Regional League, the national Regional Play-Offs and the Founders Cup, Solent joined the National League Division Three.
Over the summer months Rob Bonnick returned to live in London and coach Mick Byrne made strenuous efforts to sign Mick Bett, the former England international. Eventually Bett joined Watford in the second division as player/coach. This was disappointing but further difficulties arose when Roy Lewis, last season's top scorer and Player of the Year, failed to attend any pre-season training sessions.
Byrne was left with experienced players Paul Philp and Nic Burns and his crop of youngsters who had found success in the previous season - Jon Rumsey, Jason Colgan, Marc Barfoot, Martin Dowdall, Joe Morant, Steve Chant and Craig Metcalf joined by new signing Andy Rowlands.
Aware of his scoring shortcomings, coach Byrne then courted Jim Roberson who was an American based in the area. Roberson was the coach of the Brighton-based B52 American Football team. His signing would mean a departure from Byrne's all-English player policy, but there seemed little choice if Solent were to be competitive.
This was demonstrated when Solent met Plymouth in a low-scoring pre-season friendly. Solent were without Lewis, Rumsey (on England Under-22 training camp duty) and Roberson and could only muster 47 points in losing to the home team (47 - 56).
Only one further pre-season game took place when Solent played an American Services team at HMS Collingwood. They won the game, but coach Byrne failed to be impressed by Roberson's contribution and decided to pursue his original all-English policy. This also meant rejecting one of Roberson's American Football players who had also turned up at Fleming Park for a training session. This particular player had been brought from Brighton to Fleming Park by an English friend (who also brought his young son). The youngster kept running on the court and finally had to be restrained by his father, Chris Eubank!
When Solent Stars had fallen from the highest echelons of English League Basketball, they had not been alone. In an almost parallel move, Crystal Palace had just come out of a period in the wilderness. The league match planners contrived to pit them against one another in the first match of the season. After all the high profile matches that the teams had played against each other, it was a strange experience to return to the Crystal Palace Sports Centre. Both Paul Philp and Nic Burns had been part of the previous era and for them the occasion held no mystique. For the younger players however there was evidence of nerves. This was shown as early on they went for a five minute period with only scoring one basket. Nonetheless they led 25 - 24 at halftime and with better shooting could have led by far more. The lead was kept until the last minute (48 - 46) when Solent - who had been in foul trouble throughout - conceded four free throws, all scored by the home team. Solent had finished the game with Marc Barfoot, Nic Burns and Jason Colgan having all fouled out. In the end Solent lost 49 - 50 but could have taken it to overtime had Craig Metcalf converted both his final free throws when he had been fouled on his drive to the basket. The main scorers for Solent were Colgan (17) and Rumsey (15).
It was back to a training game in the week for Solent as they took on the crew team from USS America at HMS Collingwood. Jason Colgan again top-scored with 27 points (Martin Dowdall 20, Steve Chant 18) as the Stars won 92 - 65 to give them a confidence boost. Coach Byrne stated after the game that he was still searching for players and was to give a Nigerian player, Masai Ujiri, a trial as well as approaching former Cheshire player, Jamie Donaldson.
By coincidence, Solent's next game was against Cheshire. Sharp shooting Jason Colgan and Jon Rumsey powered Solent Stars to their first win of the season as they swept aside Cheshire at Ellesmere Port. Showing much improved form on the previous week's low scoring one point reverse at Crystal Palace, Solent dominated the match from the tip-off to record their first ever success in the third division. Solent defended well at the start with Nic Burns leading by example and once they had blunted the Cheshire attack, Solent set about scoring almost at will. Colgan (26) and Rumsey (22) led the way in Solent's 103 - 71 win. The only blot on the performance was a twisted knee suffered by Jon Rumsey in the closing stages. No ice could be quickly supplied by the Sports Centre, so the Solent manager went to the adjoining Ice Rink, only to find they could provide no ice either!
The third consecutive away game sent Solent on their longest trip of the season to Sedgefield. As with all long trips away, players are prone to suffer upsets that prevent them travelling. In this case Martin Dowdall (tonsillitis) and Marc Barfoot (ear infection) had to miss the trip. Coach Mick Byrne was on England team manager duty at Birmingham, so it was a reduced number of seven players that Jim Rumsey drove north. Sedgefield at 6pm on a Saturday night looked like a ghost town and it took some time to find the entrance to the Sports Hall that was situated in a shopping mall, most of the doors of which were closed. Once in the hall, the brand new basketball backboards were causing a problem. They had been assembled on the day after arriving from Germany with German instructions. Whilst one board was in place and operable, the other could not be moved from its height which was over 12 feet. This was seen as a new experience for Solent coach Nic Burns who at 7' rarely had to jump to touch the ring! Just when it looked as if a 700 mile round trip had been in vain, the backboard was finally adjusted and the game began in front of a very small number of spectators. Nic Burns kept faith with the same five players throughout the first half - Paul Philp, Jon Rumsey, Jason Colgan, Craig Metcalf and himself. At halftime Solent led 22 - 20 in a very low scoring affair. Joe Morant and Steve Chant got court time in the second half and helped ease Solent 42 - 31 ahead before Sedgefield scored eight points to reduce the difference to 42 - 39. Jon Rumsey then scored the only three pointer of the night and further Solent baskets extended their lead to twelve points. Using this as a cushion, and with Colgan fouling out near the end, Solent were able to hold on to win 70 - 58 (Rumsey 26, Metcalf 14).
The first match of the season to be played at Fleming Park attracted a crowd of 600 spectators. Solent Stars also unveiled a new signing in Masai Ujiri - a Nigerian studying in England - as they comfortably romped to a 96 - 66 win. Ujiri made a dramatic entrance to the game, coming off the bench to score with his first touch. Solent had started confidently with Jason Colgan, Nic Burns and Jon Rumsey all scoring freely to build up a 29 - 15 lead midway through the first half. They maintained the gap to go in 50 - 35 up at halftime before the visitors rallied to cut the deficit to 64 - 56. But then Solent hit top gear outscoring their opponents 32 - 8 in the final eight minutes with Joe Morant enjoying a purple patch. Jon Rumsey top-scored with 28 points.
It was ten years since Solent Stars had been involved in the National Trophy - a competition reserved for second and third division teams. On that occasion they had won it. The first round game gave a home tie against fellow third division outfit, Mid-Sussex Magic. Solent played as if they wished to recapture the National Trophy as they outplayed Mid-Sussex in all departments. Joe Morant did such a good job on ex-Solent player Phil Waghorn that the latter scored only 11 points in the game. Meanwhile Nic Burns took control of the boards and shrewd rotation of players by coach Mick Byrne kept up a relentless pressure. Jason Colgan notched 21 points and Solent's defence gave away only four points in the opening twelve minutes of the second half as Solent stretched their lead from 37 - 27 to 61 - 31 before finally winning 88 - 58. An away tie at unbeaten second division leaders, Plymouth, beckoned.
Top-scorer in several games, Jason Colgan, was missing for the next away league match at Chiltern Fastbreak. Colgan had injured himself whilst playing in the week in a Southern League match. It was as well for Solent that Jon Rumsey was able to provide a timely reminder of his own ability in front of the basket with a match winning 23 points. Marc Barfoot, making only his second league appearance because of an ear infection problem, reached three fouls within minutes of the start and with Martin Dowdall (3) and Paul Philp (4) also in foul trouble by halftime, Solent were fortunate to have a 37 - 35 halftime lead. It was Chiltern's turn to run the referees' gauntlet in the second half as they were penalised for a series of infringements that cost them 15 points during the latter part of the second half. Rumsey made more use than most of the free throws scoring seven out of nine attempts as Solent stole home 75 - 66.

Solent Stars' aim of making a strong challenge for the National Trophy ended in failure as early as the second round when they visited Plymouth. Solent made a poor start, trailing 9 - 20 inside the opening seven minutes before a spirited revival brought them back into contention. With Nic Burns and Jon Rumsey scoring heavily, Solent closed the gap to seven points by the interval (35 - 42). Further consistent scoring by the same pair, allied to some determined defensive work by fit-again Jason Colgan enabled Solent to go into a 73 - 67 lead with five minutes remaining. At a crucial stage of the match Solent lost their concentration for a few minutes and in that time Plymouth decisively regained the initiative to win 79 - 84. Nic Burns (29) and Jon Rumsey (24) led Solent's scoring but it was Plymouth's American John Goodemote with 34 points who top-scored in the game.
Pressure on Crystal Palace for the league top spot was kept up when Solent entertained a struggling Calderdale Explorers team. The visitors arrived with just six players and were missing their American player/coach Curtis Xavier who was held up in a plane mix-up in the USA. Solent coach Mick Byrne took the opportunity to give all the bench players a full run out and they rewarded him by all getting on the scoresheet. Calderdale had two players fouled out with four minutes remaining and when Jason Swaine limped off injured shortly before the end Calderdale could muster only three on-court players. Although the three did manage one basket, it was an academic exercise as Solent won 109 - 65 to give them a thirteenth consecutive home win.
Cup competition provided the next outing for Solent with a visit to Mid-Sussex Magic for a preliminary round game in the National Cup. The Stars had already beaten their opponents by 30 points in the other cup competition and looked to be heading for a similar score as they led 27 - 14 midway through the first half. A mini Sussex revival pulled it back to 37 - 32 at the interval before Solent stretched the gap to 44 - 32. In a see-saw second half the home side got back to lead 50 - 57 before a 15 - 0 scoring burst by Solent put them 65 - 57 in front. In a dramatic finale, Sussex took advantage of Solent's foul trouble to get their noses in front at the death until a ten foot shot by Jon Rumsey forced overtime with just two seconds left. Solent were incensed that they were not awarded a free throw also for a foul that could have been called on any one of the three players who converged on the shooter. Although Solent led briefly in the extra period, they could not sustain it - especially missing the fouled out Jason Colgan - and lost out on a glamour home tie with Kingston when they went down 74 - 80 (Rumsey 25, Colgan 22).
Solent were without matches for two weeks before they resumed their league campaign with a home match against - Mid-Sussex Magic! Handsome revenge was exacted by the Solent squad who ran away with the game to win 79 - 55 with nine of the team getting on the scoresheet. Once again, Joe Morant did a good job in man-marking Sussex captain Phil Waghorn and without his contribution the visitors were not able to make any headway. In the opening five minutes of the second half Mid-Sussex only managed one scoring shot as Solent increased their lead to 19 points (54 - 35) allowing coach Byrne to introduce his bench players. Jason Colgan scored 21 points.
On the Saturday before Christmas, Paul Philp made his 350th NBL competitive appearance as Solent's came away with a 68 - 60 triumph at Leicester (Rumsey 23, Colgan 18).
No visiting team had won at Fleming Park since March 1990 when Solent had opted out of the premier league. On December 28th 1991, Sheffield Forgers were the visitors for a league game. Sheffield themselves could not be ruled out of contention for the championship and much of their success revolved around Garnet Gayle who scored 21 of Sheffield's 33 first half points. Solent also scored 33 in the first half but found difficulty advancing this total after halftime as they were frustrated by a well organised Sheffield defence. The visitors moved to a 39 - 48 lead. With Jason Colgan and Paul Philp on four fouls and Nic Burns and Marc Barfoot on three, Solent had increasingly fewer options available but the introduction of Joe Morant for Burns transformed proceedings. Within a five minute period Solent had cancelled out the deficit and it was Morant himself who levelled the scores at 50 - 50. The last nine minutes were to prove extremely close as each team took the lead in turn. Burns gave Solent a 64 - 63 lead with two and a half minutes left. A frenetic finale saw shots galore fail to hit the target. The winning basket came 80 seconds from the end when Sheffield moved into a 64 - 65 lead and no Solent player was able to hit the target subsequently, nor indeed could any of the visiting team. In such a close game any number of incidents could be deemed decisive but Solent were certainly left to reflect on the free throws they gifted Sheffield at the start of the second half following some ill-advised halftime comments from Nic Burns towards the referees.
A second successive home defeat looked on the cards immediately after the start of the New Year when Solent entertained Stevenage at Fleming Park. Stevenage came as the only team to have beaten Crystal Palace in the season so far but it was Solent who led throughout. With three minutes left Solent led 84 - 75, but in their attempt to use up time they twice lost the ball for Stevenage to score and close to 84 - 79. Then a three point success from Phil Porter took the score to 84 - 82. Solent failed to score again as Jon Rumsey was called for a charging foul before Renaldo Lawrence tipped in the ball at the other end to level the scores at 84 all. Amidst mounting excitement, Porter fouled Jason Colgan with 28 seconds left on the clock. That gave Solent the option of taking a free shot followed by another if the first was successful or possession from which they might attempt to run down the clock before looking for the decisive basket. After some discussion at a timeout, Solent opted for the shots knowing that a missed attempt might concede both possession and possibly the match to Stevenage. Colgan's effort from the line proved inaccurate, but Nic Burns grabbed the rebound and sank the lay-up to put Solent 86 - 84 ahead. Stevenage were then awarded a free throw at the other end when Rumsey fouled Porter but he, too, failed to hit the target and in the ensuing scramble for the ball, Nic Burns was adjudged to have been fouled. From his successful free shots he finally made the game safe for Solent to record an 88 - 84 win (Rumsey 23, Dowdall 22).
The next visitors to Solent were Sedgefield Racers. Accurate outside shooting from the visitors allowed them to establish a lead until shortly before halftime when a late rally involving scoring from Jason Colgan meant Solent went in 45 - 41 ahead. Solent used their first five for the beginning of the second half. Colgan, Joe Morant, Paul Philp, Nic Burns and Jon Rumsey were able to scythe through the Sedgefield defence virtually at will. With a 25 point lead on the board, coach Mick Byrne was able to give court time for promising local teenager, Mark Jackson, whilst Masai Ujiri, Richard Lawrence and Craig Metcalf also gained further useful experience in Solent's 90 - 70 win (Rumsey 23, Burns 17).
Solent Stars had drawn level with Crystal Palace when the latter lost to third place Leicester. The next match was a visit to North London to play the team at the bottom of the league. As is usual in such encounters, the more favoured team got off to a dreadful start and it was the third minute before they put points on the board. Even then the score was from an unlikely source - probably the first time assistant coach Nic Burns had ever landed a three pointer. Solent eventually took control and at one time led comfortably 45 - 30. North London were not to be denied and with little time remaining had fought back to trail by just two points. Solent were then relieved to see Nic Burns poach a rebound after a missed London shot. Burns immediately released Colgan and with the London defence stretched, he found Rumsey who guided the ball to Marc Barfoot who made no mistake from the lay-up before adding a final point from the free throw line for the foul whilst he was shooting. Solent won 66 - 61 and news filtered through that Crystal Palace had gone down to Stevenage which meant that both teams had now lost two games.
Fourth place Chiltern Fastbreak were the next visitors to Solent. It was largely thanks to Nic Burns, enjoying a purple patch in the season, that Solent were able to overcome their visitors 72 - 57. In a match noted mainly for the number of fouls called on both teams, Burns notched 21 points and took 20 rebounds. Chiltern were still in the game with three minutes left when they trailed 57 - 53. However, frequent visits by Solent to the free throw line and the loss, through foul trouble, of Chiltern's Kevin Alderson meant that Solent could canter home to a 15-point win.
A visit to rock bottom Calderdale Explorers followed. Solent were without injured Jason Colgan and Craig Metcalf. They held onto their top spot in the League with a seven-point victory. But for a storming finish by Calderdale's leading scorer, Curtis Xavier, their margin of victory would have been far greater. Xavier, superbly marked by Jon Rumsey throughout, suddenly cut loose in the final 90 seconds to score 9 points. In a see-saw second half, Solent's lead was reduced to four points, extended to 16 and then cut back again to 57 - 50 with three minutes remaining. With Nic Burns in masterful form, Solent survived Calderdale's late charge to win 64 - 57 (Burns 26) and set up a fascinating title showdown with Crystal Palace the following week.
Nearly 600 spectators arrived at Fleming Park on March 7th, 1992 to watch the match between two old rivals now battling it out for the League Division Three title. Each team had two defeats to its record, with Crystal Palace having overcome Solent by one point (49 - 50) in the opening game of the season. As expected in the game, the crunch came just after the halftime interval. Would Solent's slim 41 - 35 interval advantage be enough to hold off a Palace side notorious for their second half comebacks? For a moment it looked doubtful. Having swept 45 - 35 ahead, Solent suddenly saw their lead trimmed to just two points as Palace geared themselves up for another escape act. But a flurry of three pointers changed all that - David Emmanuel's basket for Crystal Palace sandwiched between efforts by Jon Rumsey and Martin Dowdall which shot Solent five points clear. From then on the home side did not look back. With youngsters Joe Morant and Martin Dowdall dictating the play, birthday boy Jason Colgan packing in the points and Jon Rumsey a tower of strength at both ends, Stars avenged their earlier defeat in winning 86 - 73 (Colgan 26, Rumsey 23). In addition, Jon Rumsey had picked up the February award for Carlsberg Player of the Month prior to the start of the match.
A tricky home fixture against Leicester followed. Leicester were third in the league and had overcome Crystal Palace in recent weeks. The game was as close as expected with Solent taking the first initiative to lead 18 - 7 before being pulled back to 20 - 20. Conditions became heated and coach Mick Byrne was called for a technical foul just prior to having the further disappointment of seeing Leicester sink a three pointer to level the scores at halftime. Solent again held the initiative for most of the start of the second half, but at 60 all the game could have gone either way. It was at this moment that Solent made the decisive move. Some well worked passing moves allowed Jon Rumsey to cash in with nine points as Solent finally penetrated the Leicester defence to establish a 75 - 63 point lead. An apparent elbow in the face of Joe Morant led to Nic Burn's verbal outburst to the referees being charged as a technical foul. But this was the only incident as Solent closed out the game with an 80 - 75 win (Colgan 25).
Martin Dowdall kept a cool head in times of crisis to help Solent Stars protect their lead at the head of Division Three when they visited Mid-Sussex Magic at Haywards Heath. Dowdall sank three valuable three pointers as Stars reaped sweet revenge for their 74 - 80 defeat there earlier in the season in the National Cup. In a see-saw opening, Solent quickly saw their 6 - 2 lead turn into a 6 - 12 deficit. But free throws from Jon Rumsey sandwiched between Dowdall's three point double put them 14 - 12 up in a tight opening period. Seven minutes later, Solent established their biggest lead of the game (28 - 21) but with Nic Burns running into foul trouble, they were just 30 - 27 ahead at the interval. Burns notched his fourth foul just five minutes into the second half as Mid-Sussex fought back to level at 45 all. Solent's problems piled up when Jon Rumsey retired with a migraine, but again Dowdall came to the rescue with a three pointer life-saver to put Solent back into the driving seat and eventually win 71 - 65.
Solent Stars were finally able to celebrate Championship success when they played their next home game, against Swindon Sonics, in front of the 450 spectators gathered in Fleming Park. Swindon player/coach Alan Hunt stalked off at the end of the game. He could not see the funny side as Solent picked up two technical fouls in the dying seconds at the end of the final home game - one dished out to Jason Colgan for swinging on the basket and the other to coach Mick Byrne for failing to keep his high-spirited players in check on the bench. Byrne, who ended up draping a towel over the head of the referee, had plenty to smile about as his side ripped the third-place team to shreds with an awesome team display. Just five points ahead midway through the first half, Stars suddenly opened the floodgates through Jon Rumsey, Joe Morant and Marc Barfoot to go 40 - 24 up at the interval. Two coolly taken three pointers by Martin Dowdall made in 53 - 27 with just over five minutes of the second half gone. Nine of the Solent players were on the scoresheet for this 87 - 63 win (Colgan 21). For Byrne and Paul Philp this completed a full-set of League Divisional Championship medals, Philp's all with Solent and Byrne's shared with his glory days with Portsmouth.

Photo taken after receiving the Division 3 trophy

Solent now turned their attention to the Championship Play-offs with a potential visit to Wembley Arena in early May. The quarter-final pairing brought Stevenage to Fleming Park. Stevenage had crept into eighth place with a 121 - 90 win over Sedgefield in the final league game of their season. More worryingly for Solent, Renaldo Lawrence had scored 59 points in that game. Having won the league, Solent should have made light work of their visitors. Instead they slipped to a precarious 12 points adrift halfway through the first half, then staged a spectacular comeback to get their noses 58 - 56 in front ten minutes after the break. It was a lead that they were never to lose - despite the efforts of Stevenage danger man Renaldo Lawrence, the evening's top-scorer with 34 points. Solent were not so much out-played as out-shot early on, slipping from 9 - 4 up to 9 - 10 in a fruitless four minute spell. When Joe Morant arrived on court he sank two three pointers once Solent had gone behind to close the gap to 28 - 34. Jon Rumsey followed suit but Stevenage came back again to lead 37 - 43 at the break. Then in the second half came Solent's purple patch with first Nic Burns and then Jason Colgan stealing the applause as Solent edged ahead to win 79 - 71 (Burns 23). After the match Solent made their Player of the Year Award which was won by Jason Colgan.
Nerves seemed to play a part in the semi-final play-off match when Solent hosted Swindon Sonics. That and a very physical performance by the visitors that went largely unpunished by the match officials saw Solent slip to an early 2 - 12 deficit before coming back through Martin Dowdall and Marc Barfoot to eventually hold a 40 - 26 lead. However, a disastrous start to the second half saw Solent go behind 40 - 41 in the opening seven minutes. Nic Burns then eventually used his own formidable presence to lift Solent with their first basket of the half and he registered again at the free throw line to put Solent 44 - 41 up. Jon Rumsey then worked his way through the defence for another score and not even the frequently missed shots at the free throw line could deny Solent their visit to Wembley as they overcame Swindon 70 - 51.

Cover and Solent Stars page of the Wembley Play-Offs Programme.

Several hundred faithful supporters packed the coaches as Solent left Fleming Park on May 3rd 1992 for the Championship Play-Off match against Crystal Palace at Wembley Arena. A minor scare when manager Keith Moir left the playing kit on the Solent coach was overcome by a quick dash to the coach car park to retrieve the kit. Local media attention was intense as both radio and press gave Solent Stars full coverage for the event. Whilst Solent started the game as favourites, it was no foregone conclusion that they would win, especially after their recent dip in performances against Stevenage and Swindon. The Solent supporters saw Jason Colgan and Nic Burns provide most of the impetus during a decisive first half with 21 of the 37 points collected by Solent. Colgan soon made his presence felt with a typical series of surging runs. Burns, playing with tendon and hamstring injuries, exerted such influence under his own basket that Crystal Palace were hardly able to get a rebound, and there were plenty of those available from their pretty miserable display of shooting. Burns' attacking strength was also prominent as he burst through the Palace defence on five occasions in the first half as Solent offered a variety of options upfront regardless of whatever tactics Palace struggled to adopt. With Martin Dowdall finding the range with a couple of three pointers in the closing minutes of the half, Solent led 37 - 19 at the interval. Palace, one of only two teams to defeat Solent in the league programme, added just ten points to their total in the final 13 minutes of the first half, and clearly required an impressive start in the second if they were to deny Solent the double. This they failed to achieve mainly due to the determination of Solent whose anticipation and organisation was distinctly more compelling than a Palace side that was ponderous and frequently careless. Without any great difficulty Solent extended their lead to 30 points with Jon Rumsey scoring heavily in the second half. A brief late flurry brought Palace some consolation before Solent wrapped matters up with a final decisive burst of scoring (77 - 51). Jason Colgan was voted the game's Most Valuable Player. The Solent squad and scorers were: Jason Colgan 21, Jon Rumsey 16, Nic Burns 12, Marc Barfoot 6, Paul Philp 6, Martin Dowdall 6, Joe Morant 4, Craig Metcalf 4, Masai Ujiri 2 and Steve Chant. The last word should go to coach Mick Byrne who said about the game: "I can't believe how easy it was. The match was all over in ten minutes. The biggest problem we had was keeping our concentration during the second half when we were so far ahead. It was a very professional performance by everyone in the team. We did not need to do anything spectacular and whilst it might not have been a great match for the fans we were more than satisfied with the way things went".

Trophy presented to each player after the Wembley final

The final appearance of the Solent Stars for the season was a Testimonial Match for the Solent veteran, Paul Philp. The visitors were National Champions, Kingston who included international players Alan Cunningham, Mike Griffiths, Alton Byrd, Martin Henlan, Carl Miller and Colin Irish in their squad - not to mention Russ Saunders and guest player Peter Scantlebury, another well-capped player. Solent played their normal squad with the inclusion of Nigel Lloyd. The visitors established a 52 - 71 halftime lead despite playing against six players for some of the time! In an unusual match that included only one foul (charged against Paul Philp) Solent eventually lost 124 - 125 but not before Philp had collected 23 points of his own and a memento to mark the occasion.

Nic Burns (left) and Alan Cunningham (then playing for Kingston) fight for the ball in a friendly match

(Division 3)
Played Won Lost For Against Difference Points
1 Solent Stars 22 20 2 1724 1394 +330 40
2 Crystal Palace 22 18 4 1704 1585 +119 36
3 Leicester Falcons 22 13 9 1610 1620 -10 26
4 Swindon Sonics 22 13 9 1624 1531 +93 25*
5 Sheffield Forgers 22 11 11 1555 1550 +5 22
6 Cheshire Bulls 22 11 11 1701 1700 +1 22
7 Mid Sussex Magic 22 10 12 1732 1763 -31 20
8 Stevenage Phoenix 22 9 13 1954 1958 -4 18
9 Chiltern Fastbreak 22 9 13 1614 1660 -46 18
10 Sedgefield Racers 22 9 13 1692 1724 -32 18
11 Calderdale Explorers 22 5 17 1478 1699 -221 10
12 North London 22 4 18 1725 1929 -204 8
* One point deducted

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