Solent Stars 2005/06 Season - Results and Match Reports

Opponents Venue Date

Worcester Wolves Away Sep 17 2005 Trophy 45 v 72 L N/A Report
Coventry Crusaders Away Sep 24 2005 Trophy 91 v 100 L N/A Report
Eastside Eagles Away Sep 25 2005 Cup 83 v 55 W N/A Report
Coventry Crusaders Home Oct 2 2005 Trophy 69 v 75 L N/A Report
Worcester Wolves Home Oct 8 2005 Trophy 55 v 78 L N/A Report
PAWS London Capitals Away Oct 22 2005 League 75 v 69 W 1-0 Report
Taunton Tigers Away Oct 23 2005 Cup 95 v 79 W N/A Report
Teesside Mohawks Home Oct 29 2005 League 76 v 65 W 2-0 Report
Essex & Herts Leopards Away Oct 30 2005 Cup 75 v 101 L N/A Report
Reading Rockets Home Nov 5 2005 League 80 v 107 L 2-1 Report
Worcester Wolves Away Nov 12 2005 League 76 v 93 L 2-2 Report
London United Home Nov 19 2005 League 71 v 121 L 2-3 Report
Worthing Thunder Away Nov 26 2005 League 82 v 88 L 2-4 Report
Coventry Crusaders Home Dec 3 2005 League 84 v 88 L 2-5 Report
Manchester Magic Home Dec 10 2005 League 85 v 106 L 2-6 Report
Sheffield Arrows Away Dec 17 2005 League 84 v 117 L 2-7 Report
Essex & Herts Leopards Home Jan 7 2006 League 72 v 94 L 2-8 Report
Nottingham Knights Home Jan 14 2006 League 97 v 104 L 2-9 Report
Kingston Wildcats Away Jan 21 2006 League 87 v 91 L 2-10 Report
Reading Rockets Away Jan 22 2006 League 63 v 92 L 2-11 Report
Teesside Mohawks Away Jan 28 2006 League 70 v 106 L 2-12 Report
PAWS London Capitals Home Feb 4 2006 League 20 v 0 W 3-12 Report
Essex & Herts Leopards Away Feb 5 2006 League 64 v 107 L 3-13 Report
Worcester Wolves Home Feb 11 2006 League 77 v 103 L 3-14 Report
Kings Lynn Fury Away Feb 12 2006 League 87 v 81 W 4-14 Report
London United Away Feb 18 2006 League 91 v 126 L 4-15 Report
Worthing Thunder Home Feb 19 2006 League 89 v 108 L 4-16 Report
Coventry Crusaders Away Feb 25 2006 League 61 v 86 L 4-17 Report
Kings Lynn Fury Home Mar 4 2006 League 90 v 95 L 4-18 Report
Manchester Magic Away Mar 5 2006 League 68 v 106 L 4-19 Report
Sheffield Arrows Home Mar 11 2006 League 84 v 96 L 4-20 Report
Nottingham Knights Away Mar 25 2006 League 78 v 85 L 4-21 Report
Kingston Wildcats Home Mar 26 2006 League 83 v 106 L 4-22 Report

17 September 2005

SOLENT STARS 45 ( 9, 21, 32)
WORCESTER WOLVES 72 (24, 39, 52)

Coach Steve Chant, taking control for the first time of the senior men's top team, was not completely disheartened by this first defeat, in a National Trophy game, at Worcester.

"The team can take heart from a promising overall performance and team effort," said Chant after the game. "A poor shooting display (only 24% of shots were successful) cost us the early initiative and we never put Worcester under any pressure. The home team was able to totally dominate the boards at both ends, outrebounding us 31 - 73. This must improve if we are to be competitive this year. On a positive note the team moved the ball well and created enough opportunities to double tonight's total on a better shooting occasion."

Solent's first quarter total of a meagre nine points could have been more if they had scored more than just one point from their six free throw attempts. Two successful three point shots from David Butterworth and Mark Jackson helped reduce the home team's opening salvo of eight points, but only Clayton Milner was able to add to the total from the field in the next four minutes.

Marcus Ch'ng and Ryan Payne joined Butterworth and Milner in scoring all of Solent's haul of 12 points in the second quarter as they fell further behind a confident Worcester team who were winning just about every rebound at either end of the court.

Solent's most promising efforts came at the beginning of the second half when they opened with two quick baskets from Milner and two free throws from Jackson. However, it was another eight minutes before Butterworth was able to land another three pointer in a scrappy period that only realised 24 points overall with Worcester only shading the quarter by two points.

Solent's ten missed free throws in the game helped contribute their lowest score for several seasons and coach Chant will no doubt be working on this prior to next week-end's double cup bill with away games at Coventry Crusaders (Saturday, 7.30pm) and National Cup second round opponents, Eastside Eagles (Sunday).

Scorers: Clayton Milner 17 David Butterworth 11 Mark Jackson 7 Marcus Ch'ng 5 Ollie Marsh 3 Ryan Payne 2

24 September 2005

SOLENT STARS 91 (16, 41, 68)
COVENTRY CRUSADERS 100 (26, 47, 72)

Despite scoring twice as many points as in the previous game, Solent Stars were unable to come away with a victory from Coventry in this National Trophy pool game. A disastrous open spell caught Solent cold and they were unable to recover from the early ten point deficit.

Marc Steutel opened the game's scoring for Solent, but Coventry then replied with twelve consecutive points scored by American guard Sam Oatman (9) and fellow American Scott Neely (3). Neely, who plays on a British passport, proved to be Solent's nemesis on the night, scoring 30 points overall. Coventry were helped in this period when Solent's Australian import, Marcus Ch'ng had picked up two fouls in the opening two minutes and was replaced by an anxious coach, Steve Chant. His replacement, Ryan Payne, added Solent's next points, a three pointer in the fourth minute, as Solent set about clawing their way back into the game. However, Solent were still ten points adrift at the end of the first quarter, despite a stirring display by Clayton Milner who was in the action at both ends of the court.

Solent, playing disciplined basketball, finally made inroads into the Coventry lead and by the fifth minute had reduced the deficit to just two points (31 - 33) before Neely again stole the limelight with a three pointer followed by another two points, after Steutel had missed two from the line, to take Coventry seven points clear. Late three pointers from Mark Jackson and David Butterworth brought Solent to six points at half time.

Milner, Butterworth and Ch'ng were early scorers for Solent in the third quarter and it was Ch'ng's basket in the fifth minute that took Solent into the lead. Unfortunately, a following opportunity from a lay-up shot was missed and despite two successful free throws from Jackson, it was Neely again - with six points from the floor - that gave Coventry the upper hand toward the end of the quarter.

With coach Chant strategically using his whole bench, each player responded by scoring and giving their all but a three minute lapse in scoring in the final quarter saw Coventry go from a one point to a more comfortable ten point lead (74 - 84) aided by Coventry's third American, Jeremiah Hamlet. Neely then weighed in with three three pointers in the closing stages to make points from Steutel, Butterworth and Jackson, academic.

Solent have a quick chance for revenge when they open their home campaign next Sunday against the same opponents (Fleming Park, 2pm) in the return National Trophy match.

Scorers: Mark Jackson 20 David Butterworth 19 Marcus Ch'ng 17 Clayton Milner 12 Ryan Payne 4 Will Zoppellini 2 Ollie Marsh 2 Chris Sheldrick 2

25 September 2005

SOLENT STARS 83 (20, 33, 55)
EASTSIDE EAGLES 55 (21, 32, 44)

Solent Stars progress to the third round of the National Cup as a result of this win at Eastside Eagles.

Conditions were more akin to a local league set-up as Solent found themselves playing in a confined space instead of the normal arena setting. The home team used their height and weight advantage to good effect in the early stages buoyed on by an enthusiastic home crowd at the court edge. Neither side was able to gain more than a four point advantage with Eastside's closing three pointer taking them to a one point lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern but baskets were few and far between as the two sides scrapped to gain advantage in a physical encounter that saw the home team amass seventeen fouls in the first half against a tally of eight for Solent. Worryingly for the visitors they missed eight free first half throws that could have increased their one point lead at half time.

The third and fourth quarters belonged to Solent as they wore down their opponents and began to score freely whilst defending to good effect. Eastside could only manage four points from the free throw line in a seven minute period either side of the third and fourth quarter break. Solent's Marcus Ch'ng picked up his fifth foul in the first minute of the final quarter making way for Anthony Rutter to come off the bench to play an effective role as Solent took control. Mark Jackson produced a master class performance as he stole the ball on several occasions, scored with controlled shooting and distributed the ball with accuracy.

"It was a team performance", said coach Steve Chant, "and one we can build on for next weekend's National Trophy game against Coventry."

Scorers: Clayton Milner 21, Mark Jackson 16, Ryan Payne 11, David Butterworth 11, Marcus Ch'ng 7, Marc Steutel 5 Ollie Marsh 5, Anthony Rutter 4, Will Zoppellini

2 October 2005

SOLENT STARS 69 (22, 39, 53)
COVENTRY CRUSADERS 75 (25, 40, 56)

Solent Stars' interest in this year's National Trophy competition ended with this second defeat in eight days at the hands of Coventry Crusaders. Bearing in mind that Coventry played only seven players, including a few minutes cameo appearance from player/coach Dip Donaldson and that they had played a game the evening before, Solent would appear to have a mountain to climb if they are to be a competitive element in this year's English Basketball League Division One.

As in last week's game, Coventry took an early lead and by the third minute were seven points clear as Solent could only sink one shot, from David Butterworth. Solent looked less than confident in this first home game of the season and fell further behind forcing coach Steve Chant to call a time-out at the beginning of the eighth minute when they trailed 10 - 20. He was rewarded by seven unanswered points courtesy of Imran Shafiq (3), playing his first game, Butterworth and Marc Steutel who had earlier provide the half's most telling pass to start the run of points. Mark Jackson's late three pointer helped the home team to keep their deficit to just three points (22 - 25).

Although Solent quickly drew level with a Ryan Payne three pointer, missed defensive rebounds then cost the home team six consecutive points as Coventry used their height advantage to good effect. Solent were always chasing the game at this stage as coach Chant rang the changes with his players. Anthony Rutter - playing his first Solent game for two seasons - rewarded the coach's strategy when he came off the bench to hit five points in a row to level the scores and force Coventry to take a time-out. Both teams missed chances as the half closed out with Solent unable to score from the last possession to leave them trailing by one point at half time (39 - 40).

After starting brightly in the third quarter and scoring the first six points, Solent were frustratingly unable to capitalise on their advantage managing only one Shafiq basket in a six minute period as they went behind 47 - 53. Although Jackson was doing a good defensive role on last week's high Coventry scorer, Scott Neely, the same could not be said of other players as the visitors regularly got inside the Solent defence to score. Four points from Butterworth eventually brought Solent to within one point of the Coventry team, but again a failure to score let Coventry off the hook.

At 63 - 68 in the seventh minute of the final quarter missed free throws by Jackson and Marcus Ch'ng meant that the visitors were able to keep open a gap. Solent, despite efforts from Butterworth and Milner in the final few minutes, were not able to make any inroads into the visitors' lead, especially as Coventry were able to go to the free throw line courtesy of fouls caused by trying to get the ball from the team winning most of the rebounds. The six-point defeat could have been worse had Coventry not missed some free throws at the end. Coach Steve Chant was upbeat after the game, saying, "It was a game we should have won. The players know that and are already talking about making amends in next week's home game against Worcester Wolves". Whether next Saturday's game (Fleming Park, 8pm) will prove him right is yet to be seen.

SOLENT David Butterworth 24 Mark Jackson 13 Clayton Milner 9 Marcus Ch'ng 6 Ryan Payne 5 Imran Shafiq 5 Anthony Rutter 5 Marc Steutel 2
COVENTRY Jeremiah Hamlet 25 Selwyn Reed 16 Marcin Twierdzinski 11 Sam Oatman 9 Scott Neely 6 Dip Donaldson 6 Sam Spare 2

8 October 2005

SOLENT STARS 55 (10, 26, 38)
WORCESTER WOLVES 78 (32, 46, 63)

Solent Stars continued their run of defeats in the National Trophy (only one win in 21 matches) with a lacklustre display at Fleming Park. Having already been beaten by the pool winners, Worcester Wolves, with an uninspiring performance at the beginning of the season, the Solent team was anxious to make amends in front of their home crowd.

However, two first minute three pointers by Valdas Urbonavicius, Wolves' Lithuainian import, gave the visitors a confident start. Solent initially responded with six points from David Butterworth, but then Worcester scored the next seventeen points before Butterworth - Solent's only scorer in the first quarter - responded with four more points. Worcester had moved the ball around effortlessly before striking at the heart of a poor Solent defence whilst the home team at times looked clueless in their approach play.

Briefly, at the start of the second quarter, Solent took charge as that man, Butterworth, added more points with another score coming from Clayton Milner, forcing the Worcester coach to call a time-out. A rather error-strewn passage of play then ensued with Solent restricting the visitors to just one successful three point attempt in the first five minutes of the quarter whilst reducing the deficit to thirteen points (22 - 35). Solent won the quarter by two points but, thanks to a last effort by Worcester, Solent still trailed by twenty points at half time.

There was no scoring in the opening two minutes of the third quarter before Mark Jackson latched on to a long pass from Butterworth, who had won the defensive rebound, to open Solent's account. Neither side was able to gain the upper hand in a dour ten minutes basketball which only yielded 29 points in total. Worcester, mainly through Ty Shaw, had won 29 rebounds to Solent's 18 in the first half including 13 which gave Worcester second chance shots.

The final quarter failed to produce any fireworks as Worcester consolidated their earlier supremacy although Solent shaded the quarter by two points. Only Butterworth showed any ability to attack the visitor's basket successfully and his tally of 31 points was the Solent highlight. However, the remaining players were all guilty of missed easy chances which, had they been taken, would have made for a much closer match.

Solent now have 2 weeks to work on their game before the opening league fixture at London Paws (October 22nd) and the National Cup game at Taunton Tigers (October 23rd).

SOLENT David Butterworth 31 Ollie Marsh 7 Mark Jackson 5 Clayton Milner 4 Marcus Ch'ng 4 Marc Steutel 4
WORCESTER Ty Shaw 20 Andy Harper 20 Valdas Urbonavicius 16 Robert Clarke 8 Matt Collins 5 Joshua Oladimeji 5 Colin Chiverton 4

22 October 2005


Solent Stars had double success in their games over the weekend. Despite being without Australian Star Marcus Ch’ng the Stars began their league campaign with a hard fought win over the London Capitals and followed that with a win over the Taunton Tigers in the National Cup.

The game against Capitals began very unpromisingly with Solent struggling to master the size of the Capitals team. Robins and Capitals captain Jivens scored regularly as the Capitals made light of their obvious internal problems, having started the game with 7 players, the coach and remaining 5 players arriving midway through the quarter. Solent coach Steve Chant called time out with the score at 15-11 but it was to no avail as Solent ended the quarter 18 – 27 down despite a 3 pointer from Dave Butterworth.

The Capitals put Solent under pressure at the start of the second quarter but the introduction of Anthony Rutter kept the Stars in the game as he quickly notched up 11 points mostly from easy lay ups. Whilst Solent were still guilty of some poor ball handling the Capitals were now suffering from a number of travelling calls which, of course, resulted in turnovers. By half time Solent had managed to reduce the arrears to 5.

The Stars began the second half with a nice move that resulted in a basket form Captain Mark Jackson, but the Capitals soon replied, and the play fluctuated between the two teams for the next few minutes without any team being in control. Halfway through the quarter Solent levelled the score after Jackson had scored a 3 pointer and Butterworth 2. The Stars however were unable to gain the lead although their defence was notably improved. Ollie Marsh scored a 3 pointer but Jackson just missed with an attempt on the buzzer after Gariba had missed 2 free throws for the Capitals.

2 points from Butterworth finally gave the Stars the lead at the beginning of the final quarter, but Robins responded for the Capitals scoring 5 from 8 from the free throw line to restore their lead. Solent, however, were not to be denied with Jackson and Butterworth taking charge scoring 18 points between them to see Solent home despite a late 3 pointer from Jivens for the Capitals. 69-75

Coach, Steve Chant was extremely pleased to get his first win as Head Coach and said afterwards “ The players showed great character to come back and then hold on for the win”.

Solent scorers: Butterworth 27, Jackson 20, Rutter 11, Milner 8, Marsh 5, Steutel 2, Sheldrick 2.

23 October 2005

SOLENT STARS 95 (24, 42, 61)
TAUNTON TIGERS 79 (19, 35, 63)

On Sunday the Stars were on their travels again, this time to Division 3 outfit Taunton Tigers. The Tigers have a set up and facility that is well above their divisional status and were looking to cause a cup upset against the Division 1 Stars. Their recent defeat of Stars’ second team and the inconsistency of the Stars recently suggested that a shock could be on the cards.

Solent, however, began positively with the first 4 points of the match and Tigers coach Ronnie Heath was forced to call an early timeout just 2 ½ mins into the game. The Tigers responded well with Yabsley and Andrews gave them the lead but Butterworth and Jackson again edged Solent into the lead. Taunton coach Heath continually rotated his line up to keep his players fresh and this may have affected Solent who struggled to get into their rhythm. Andrews scored a 3 pointer to cut Solent’s lead to 3 but the Tigers were in foul trouble and Marsh scored 5 of 6 from the free throw line. The Tigers persisted but Imran Shafiq scored a 3 pointer on the buzzer to maintain Solent’s lead. 19-24

Clayton Milner and Ollie Marsh increased Solent’s lead at the start of the 2nd quarter and good defence allowed them to frustrate the Tigers and build a lead, forcing coach Heath to take another time out. Solent introduced Will Zoppellini and he produced a good stop and then scored a 3 pointer to take Solent’s lead to 14. It was, however, a mistake-ridden period in the game and coach Chant called timeout. This was to no avail from Solent’s point of view as the Tigers cut their lead to 7 by half time. 35 – 42

The 3rd quarter proved problematical for Solent as the Tigers, mainly through Yabsley and Kevin Anderson continued to whittle away their lead. Only the introduction of Ollie Marsh seemed to stem the flow, but despite scoring Solent’s last 9 points of the quarter he was unable to stop the Tigers taking the lead with a 3 pointer from Alistair Bird on the buzzer. 63 –61

Solent showed their class in the final quarter, restricting Taunton to just 2 points in the first 8 minutes, whilst scoring 23 themselves through Marsh, Butterworth and Rutter. Bird then kept the large crowd interested with a 3 pointer but it was all academic as Solent went on to increase their lead to 24 with 2 mins to go. With the game won, Solent relaxed and the Tigers brought on Michael Sebire whose 5 points helped to reduce the final deficit to 16. 79 – 95

David Butterworth said after the game “We started well but it all went wrong in the third quarter, so it was really good the way we came back to win the game”.

Solent scorers: Butterworth 24, Marsh 23, Milner 11, Jackson 10, Rutter 10, Payne 7, Steutel 4, Shafiq 3, Zoppellini 3.

29 October 2005

SOLENT STARS 76 (19, 37, 57)
TEESSIDE MOHAWKS 65 (13, 34, 42)

Solent Stars were without Australian import Marcus Ch'ng for this first home English League Division One fixture, but were able to include new signing Paul Davies in their line-up.

The game started at a fast and furious pace with both sides missing chances but the home team looking the more threatening. After four minutes Solent had established a 13 - 5 lead with points from David Butterworth (6), Mark Jackson (5) and Ryan Payne (4). Davies figured prominently in the opening exchanges gaining important rebounds at both ends of the court to deny Teesside second chance opportunities and provides Solent with extra chances to score. Several important steals by Jackson, in particular, also helped in keeping the visitor's score to just 13 points in the first quarter.

Four minutes into the second quarter, with Solent leading 24 - 20, Davies suffered an injury to his knee that ended his participation in the game. This upset the Solent momentum and Teesside reduced Solent's lead to just one point (30 - 29) in quick time, before a three man move ended with Jackson scoring an easy lay-up to restore confidence for the home team. Solent managed then to put some other good moves together, with a spin turn by Anthony Rutter to feed Butterworth a simple shot being the pick of the bunch. However, there then followed a period when Solent gave the ball away too easily and they only held a three point lead at the interval.

The first exchanges of the third quarter were very even and by the fourth minute it had become a one point game with Solent holding on to the slender 43 - 42 lead thanks solely to Jackson's two successful three point shots. Then came the decisive stage of the game as Solent denied the visitors any more points in the quarter whilst playing enterprisingly themselves to rattle in fourteen more points. In the middle of this onslaught the Teesside coach, Tony Hanson, called a time-out and spent most of it berating the referees for the lack of foul calls on the Solent team. However, the game count of fouls at that stage showed 21 against Solent and just 3 for Teesside.

Solent opened the final quarter with another good individual score by Rutter, but then seemed to freeze as they were unable to clear their lines, missing the presence of Davies, who coach Steve Chant was holding back for the next day's National Cup game. Teesside grew in confidence as Solent gave the ball away too freely and successive three pointers from guard Michael Gray reduced the Solent lead to just five points (61 - 56) with six minutes remaining. Teesside trebled their foul total in the last four minutes of the game as they strove to upset the Solent team. The home team held their nerve with Clayton Milner popping up with two important scores. Jackson missed his final two free throws for Solent but this was not surprising bearing in mind that he had played the full 40 minutes of the game in which Solent had shown a great team effort to achieve their second league win in the first two matches of the league programme.

SOLENT; David Butterworth 25 Mark Jackson 17 Anthony Rutter 11 Clayton Milner 10 Ollie Marsh 5 Ryan Payne 4 Imran Shafiq 2 Marc Steutel 2
TEESSIDE: Taner Adu 13 Eric Malambo 12 Bernard Logmo 12 Harold Apanzo 9 Michael Gayle 9 Graham Pape 6 John Palmer 3

30 October 2005

SOLENT STARS 75 (27, 34, 53)

Solent's new 6' 8" centre, Paul Davies, declared himself unfit after the warm-up prior to this quarter final of the National Cup at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre. With Australian guard Marcus Ch'ng also missing, Solent had to rely on the all-English squad that had performed so well the previous evening against Teesside Mohawks.

The first quarter belonged to Solent and, in particular, to Mark Steutel. After Clayton Milner had set the ball rolling and been supported by a three point shot from Mark Jackson it was Steutel who caught the eye both with his aggressive defending and his point scoring for the slick looking Solent team who quickly built up a 23 - 12 lead by the eighth minute. Coach Steve Chant persevered with his starting five - Milner, Steutel, Jackson, David Butterworth and Ryan Payne - throughout the first session.

After establishing a ten point lead at the end of the first quarter, Solent faded completely to add only seven more points by the half time interval. Essex, on the other hand, began to take advantage of Solent's inability to score and added 25 points of their own to take a commanding half time lead (34 - 42).

Essex continued to dominate the exchanges in the third quarter although Solent did manage to add more points despite the inability of Butterworth and Jackson to find the target regularly. Solent were out-rebounded (gaining only 28 to Essex's 47 overall in the game) which meant that they were denied possession at critical times.

Trailing by 20 points (58 - 78) in the third minute of the final quarter, hopes were briefly raised when scores from Anthony Rutter, Imran Shafiq and Steutel reduced the deficit to twelve points, but Essex responded with several successful three point shots to close the door on any Solent revival.

Coach Steve Chant said, "We just ran out of steam after a hectic period in which some of our players have played five games in just eight days. It hurt us also not having Paul Davies as a big presence in defence. We must now concentrate on our league programme in which we will defend our unbeaten record next week at home to Reading Rockets."

SCORERS Mark Steutel 16 Clayton Milner 12 David Butterworth 12 Ryan Payne 10 Mark Jackson 10 Imran Shafiq 6 Anthony Rutter 4 Ollie Marsh 3 Will Zoppellini 2

05 November 2005

SOLENT STARS 80 (17, 38, 61)
READING ROCKETS 107 (25, 56, 81)

The cocktail of eastern European, American and British players forming the Reading Rockets team proved far too potent for the mainly local all-English Solent Stars squad in this English League Division One game at Fleming Park, Eastleigh. Reading were well-drilled and played good, controlled basketball using their greater inside height to advantage throughout. Solent battled hard and could take solace from the performance of Ryan Payne, having come through the club's rank's, who produced an eye-catching performance as he led Solent's scorers with 23 points.

Reading set out their stall with a blistering opening salvo that produced six points before Solent could draw breath. However, after a series of missed opportunities Payne opened the Solent account and was followed be a three pointer from David Butterworth. Solent fell behind again (7 - 13) before the same two players scored all the points to take Solent into the lead 14 - 13 for the only time in the game. Reading responded in the final two minutes with twelve more points whilst Solent could only manage one three point shot from Payne. It was noticeable that Solent's best spell came when a not fully fit Paul Davies was introduced onto the court and gave Solent some stability in defence.

With Solent only able to add two points in the opening four minutes of the second quarter, when Davies scored, they fell to a 16 point deficit. There followed a period when the teams traded baskets for the next five minutes. Solent's growing frustration showed in the final minute of the half when Davies was called for Solent's seventh foul in the quarter - with none against the Reading team - and captain Mark Jackson's verbal comment was penalised as a technical foul. Paul Tonkovich sank the four free throws and Reading gained two points from the possession that comes as a bonus after a technical foul. This increased the Reading lead to 20 points before a last gasp Clayton Milner score reduced it by two points at the half time interval.

Solent's best spell came in the third quarter when only two points separated the points scored by both teams. Davies was called for a shirt pulling unsportsmanlike foul which briefly interrupted the Solent flow, but all the players coming off the bench were making an impact for the home team.

The final quarter belonged to the impressive Reading team as they consolidated their superiority and left coach Steve Chant with the task of lifting his team for the visit to high-riding Worcester Wolves next week. By then, Chant will hope to have Australian Marcus Ch'ng back in the team after the late decision to leave him out against Reading to give his foot further time to recover from injury.

SOLENT Ryan Payne 23 David Butterworth 18 Mark Jackson 12 Clayton Milner 11 Anthony Rutter 6 Paul Davies 4 Marc Steutel 2 Chris Sheldrick 2 Will Zoppellinni 2
READING Paul Tonkovich 25 Tomas Kersis 22 EJ Harrison 22 James Cook 15 Peder Madsen 12 Adam Kelly 6 Lloyd Gardener 5

12 November 2005

SOLENT STARS 76 (9, 29, 49)
WORCESTER WOLVES 93 (19, 46, 72)

Worcester Wolves extended this season's unbeaten run to twelve games at the expense of a Solent Stars team that showed a distinct improvement over last September's National Trophy defeat against the same team. In that game Solent only mustered 45 points, and at the end of the first quarter in this league Division One game at Worcester, it looked as if history could be repeating itself. Solent had an early opportunity to take the lead but twelve missed points at the very outset meant that the home team, who were guilty of poor shots themselves, were able to stay just ahead of Solent in the first five minutes which only yielded six points in the game. Whereas Worcester were able then to hit the target more frequently, Solent continued to miss chances and only put nine points on the board in the first quarter.

The match scoring rate increased in the second quarter, and it was the home team who posted the majority of the points (27 - 20) in the period. Solent were indebted to David Butterworth eventually finding his long range form to sink consecutive three pointers when Solent trailed 18 - 35 in the fifth minute. Marc Steutel was battling at both ends of the court to try and overcome the lack of 6' 8" Paul Davies who made himself unavailable for the game. Australian Marcus Ch'ng returned after a five game absence, but Solent coach, Steve Chant, used him sparingly after Ch'ng seemed to suffer a recurrence of his foot injury.

The third quarter was very even as Solent continued their plucky display against Worcester's height advantage although they could do little to stop American Ty Shaw's strong inside play. Clayton Milner began to score some baskets from inside the defence and took some important defensive rebounds also. A few turnovers cost Solent more points, but they only lost the quarter by four points.

Worcester used the last five minutes of the game to give some of their less experienced players a run out. Solent, despite their tiredness, continued to battle hard, shading the quarter by four points. Ollie Marsh came off the bench in the quarter to score nine of his eleven points and helped overcome the fact that Marc Steutel fouled out with five minutes remaining.

Solent must now prepare for a home game (Saturday, Fleming Park, 8pm) against another of the league's contending teams, London United.

Scorers: Clayton Milner 19 David Butterworth 17 Mark Jackson 12 Ollie Marsh 11 Marc Steutel 7 Ryan Payne 6 Marcus Ch'ng 2 Anthony Rutter 2

19 November 2005

SOLENT STARS 71 (22, 28, 50)
LONDON UNITED 121 (29, 58, 89)

For the second consecutive week, London United scored 121 points and this time the luckless victims were home team, Solent Stars.

London opened with a zone defence which Solent were able to penetrate on occasion with skilful use of bounce passes but then were unable to score from inside against the taller defenders. Pete Deppish came into the game and helped London consolidate the lead they were building with two quick three point shots. Earlier Solent had kept pace with the scoring through Ryan Payne, Marcus Ch'ng and David Butterworth and briefly held a 10 - 9 advantage in the fourth minute. Late scores from Clayton Milner and Ch'ng meant that Solent ended the quarter trailing 22 - 29.

Whilst neither team could score in the opening minute of the second quarter, London then added 21 points to their total and Solent were only able to add one David Butterworth two point shot in the next seven minutes. During this time Payne, Ch'ng and Marc Steutel all reached three fouls forcing coach Steve Chant to put other players on court. With three of his starting five on the bench, and no Mark Jackson (injury), the coach could only watch as his less-experienced players fought a hopeless battle. Two free throws and a basket from Anthony Rutter were Solent's only scores in a miserable quarter for them.

Reverting to the starting five after half time brought Solent more into the game, and they were only outscored by nine points in the third quarter. London continued their three point shooting assault with five of their players combining to score a total of 15 out of 29 attempts against the 4 out of 16 successes for Solent. In the match Solent made nearly the same number of shooting attempts as London from closer range scoring with 29 of their 79 attempts, whilst London landed 45 out of 86 attempts. Such was London's inside domination on defence that two of Solent's tallest players, Steutel and Chris Sheldrick could only manage five shots between them despite extended court time.

Eleven points difference separated the scores of the final quarter as London continued to dominate. On the night it became clear that only Solent's David Butterworth, who played the whole game and scored 35 points, could compete at this level against one of the league's top teams.

SOLENT David Butterworth 35 Clayton Milner 9 Ollie Marsh 9 Marcus Ch'ng 7 Ryan Payne 6 Anthony Rutter 4 Will Zoppellini 1
LONDON Jacek Jagodka 28 Santa Ataha 18 Pete Deppisch 18 Damien Reid 12 Walid Mumuni 11 Pavel Machnyia 11 Peter Van Elswyck 9 Mark Quashie 6 Robert Kocek 5 Phil Long 2

26 November 2005

SOLENT STARS 82 (19, 31, 47)
WORTHING THUNDER 88 (21, 46, 68)

For the third consecutive match a team was able to protect its unbeaten record against Solent Stars. However, this time it was a very close run affair thanks to a Solent fightback that saw them draw level with one minute remaining after trailing at one stage by 27 points.

An even first quarter commenced with birthday boy David Butterworth landing an early three pointer. Two more points from Mark Jackson put gave Solent a slender advantage in the fifth minute but Worthing's quick response took them into a lead that they were never to surrender. Missed free throws by Clayton Milner (3) and Marcus Chng (2) allowed the home team to have a two
point margin at the end of the first quarter.

Despite having his first five players on court, coach Steve Chant, watched his side struggle to find any fluency in their play as they slipped behind in the scoring rate. A run of five unanswered points forced Chant to call a time-out, but then all he could do was watch as no one from the team was able to make any impression on the game.

The Solent team looked totally out of sorts as Worthing opened the second half with a salvo of twelve points in the first four minutes to take a 58 - 31 lead. Butterworth opened Solent's second half scoring and this was followed by baskets from Marc Steutel, Jackson and Milner to provide a mini-rally from the visitors. Solent then lost Marcus Ch'ng with a reoccurrence of his foot injury, and trailed by 21 points at the end of the quarter.

With Ch'ng's departure, Anthony Rutter came off the bench to make an immediate impact as, along with Jackson, he provided Solent with a run of ten quick points to which Worthing had no answer. Ollie Marsh, Chris Sheldrick, Steutel, Jackson and Rutter gave Solent hope and the team was able to draw level at 82 all with one minute remaining. A lapse of concentration left a Worthing player free under the basket to score a simple lay-up whilst Solent themselves were unable to hit the target again.

Coach Chant said, after the game, " The team put in a fantastic second half effort to come from behind and almost pulled off an upset in the fourth quarter. We are getting better every week and when we maintain our focus and energy on the defensive end of the court we are very tough to play against. Today we had a mental lapse in the second quarter and it cost us the game."

Scorers: Mark Jackson 24 David Butterworth 19 Marc Steutel 13 Ryan Payne 8 Anthony Rutter 7 Clayton Milner 5 Ollie Marsh 4 Chris Sheldrick 2

3 December 2005

SOLENT STARS 84 (22, 45, 65)
COVENTRY CRUSADERS 88 (14, 42, 68)

Solent Stars coach, Steve Chant, was the first to admit that his team had missed a golden opportunity of a league win when they lost to a depleted Coventry Crusaders team at Fleming Park.

Some disjointed early moves by Solent were finally overcome by Clayton Milner, who caught the eye with rebounds at each end, twice following up to score with second chances after misses by his team mates. David Butterworth could make little impact in the first quarter but the Solent team were able to take an eleven point advantage (22 - 11) into the first time-out called by Coventry in the ninth minute. Solent were unable to add to their score in the rest of the period but Coventry's Jeremiah Hamlet landed a three pointer for the visitors.

It was the same player who scored five more such shots in the second quarter and kept Coventry in the game. They were helped by the Solent players who, time and time again, looked to be building a big lead, only to 'freeze' in their shooting and let Coventry back in the game. One such period was ended when coach Chant brought Anthony Rutter and Ollie Marsh into the game and they responded by adding the next ten points before they too dried up in their point scoring. Hamlet's 29 first half points were sufficient to keep the Coventry deficit to just three points at the half time interval.

Once again with a bright opening to the second half the home team looked to be forging ahead as they led 55 - 44 after the second minute. Then the scoring stopped for Solent and Coventry caught up. In the seventh minute Solent again had gained a lead 965 - 55) but it was Coventry who scored thirteen points in the last three minutes of the quarter to lead 65 - 68. After Hamlet's first half exertions he was able to add only two points in the second half, but 21 points in the half by American Sam Oatman meant that he had taken on the scoring role.

Solent fought back in the final quarter with points from Mark Jackson, Rutter and Marsh to lead by four points early on but once Coventry had got their noses ahead with four minutes remaining, Solent lacked any cohesion. A series of poor shots and losses of possession gave them no chance of pulling back the few points by which they trailed.

Next week's opponents, Manchester Magic, will give Solent an even sterner test (Fleming Park, December 10th, 8pm).

SOLENT David Butterworth 21 Mark Jackson 18 Clayton Milner 13 Anthony Rutter 11 Ollie Marsh 10 Marc Steutel 6 Ryan Payne 5
COVENTRY Jeremiah Hamlet 31 Sam Oatman 27 Marcien Twierdzinski 19 Dip Donaldson 9 Andrew Laventure 2

10 December 2005

SOLENT STARS 85 (25, 44, 59)
MANCHESTER MAGIC 106 (28, 57, 84)

Just five league wins for the valued home supporters in a calendar year is the miserable truth as they witnessed Solent Stars first team being outclassed by current league leaders Manchester Magic, in the Division One game at Fleming Park.

Solent gave the ball away too easily at the start of the game, but soon settled down to play some enterprising basketball that made a mockery of the nine league places separating the teams. David Butterworth contributed three three pointers (taking him passed the 300 point total for the season so far) to level the score at 17 all in the sixth minute. Manchester did not allow Solent to take the lead as Matt Hogarth supplied two quick three point shots of his own. All of Solent's starting five, Butterworth, Mark Jackson, Ryan Payne, Marc Steutel and Clayton Milner contributed to the scoring as Solent strove to keep pace with Manchester.

The home team rather lost its way at the beginning of the second quarter after Chris Sheldrick failed with a simple lay-up that could have set them on their way. A succession of misses and turnovers by his colleagues allowed Manchester to forge ahead to take a ten point lead. Solent felt that they were at the receiving end of some over-fussy refereeing decisions and it was Ollie Marsh who, untypically, reacted after one decision to gain himself a technical foul. So fired up was Marsh that he single-handily scored Solent's next seven points to bring his team within three points of the Manchester total. With Solent in team foul trouble, Manchester went to the free throw line for a succession of shots that allowed them to increase their lead to a comfortable 13 point margin at half time.

Manchester demonstrated their superiority as Solent tired in the third quarter and piled on the points, aided by several mistakes by the home team that ceded the ball too many times to the opposition.

With Manchester coach, Jeff Jones, giving all his players court-time, Solent were able to regain the initiative in the final quarter (which they won 26 - 22). Marsh eventually fouled out and was also charged with a second technical foul. The final time-out with Manchester leading 101 - 79 had the unusual sight of the winning coach berating the referees demonstrating that perhaps Marsh had a case to make!


SOLENT David Butterworth 25 Ollie Marsh 17 Ryan Payne 13 Mark Jackson 11 Marc Steutel 10 Clayton Milner 7 Anthony Rutter 2

MANCHESTER Wade Henninger 32 Matt Hogarth 26 Delme Herriman 11 Gavin Smith 9 Matt Williams 8 Eliot Goran 8 Aaron Roberts 4 Steve Towell 3 Michail Papadopoulos 3 Sean McKie 2

17 December 2005

SOLENT STARS 84 (16, 32, 58)
SHEFFIELD ARROWS 117 (27, 53, 84)

This away defeat at Sheffield Arrows completed a miserable year for the Solent Stars men's first team. Cruelly denied the services of starting five player, Clayton Milner, who was delayed through work commitments, Solent's team was no match for a confident Sheffield team whose two American players punished Solent throughout.

It was the Americans, Brown and Kain, who were responsible for all but five of Sheffield's opening quarter total of 27 points. Solent, on the other hand struggled to make any impact with their shooting even when left with clear cut chances. Mark Jackson was one of the main culprits only notching four first half points. He was not alone, however, because it was four minutes into the game before anyone was able to add to Jackson's two opening points, By then, the Sheffield scoring duo had established a 12 - 2 lead. David Butterworth briefly gave the team hope with nine points in the next three minutes, one score coming from a Ryan Payne steal. The quarter was typified for Solent when Anthony Rutter missed yet another Solent opportunity with seconds remaining . The rebound was taken by Sheffield who sent a long ball downcourt for yet another easy score.

The Solent players still went about their task playing some enterprising basketball, demonstrating well-rehearsed practice moves, but the final shots were sadly lacking and allowed the bigger home team to move further ahead. With Jackson unable to score in the quarter Marc Steutel, Rutter and Payne were left to assist the regular scoring of Butterworth, but it was never going to be enough to threaten the Sheffield total in the quarter, half of which was scored by the American imports.

Finally, Solent found some shooting form at the beginning of the second half. Steutel opened with a three pointer and Solent fought back to reduce the home team's lead to thirteen points (50 - 63) by the fifth minute. The scoring then dried up and Solent were only able to add eight more points whilst Sheffield rattled in twenty-one before the end of the quarter.

With both teams in the team foul situation in the final quarter there were 17 visits to the free throw line in the last four minutes. Thirteen of those were for Sheffield. The home team benefited for some of those shots from the frustration shown by Payne and Marsh as they tried their hardest to stem the flow of Sheffield points.

Coach Steve Chant needed all his numerically small squad to score but with Chris Sheldrick and Ollie Marsh unable to contribute any points from open play and Will Zoppellini only scoring with the last shot of the match, it was asking too much of the other players to keep Solent in the game. "We really missed Clayton's presence, which upset the balance of the team," said Steve Chant.

Solent now have a three week break during which they will try to augment their squad ahead of January 7th's match at Fleming Park against Essex and Herts Leopards (8pm).

SCORERS; David Butterworth 33 Mark Jackson 18 Marc Steutel 13 Anthony Rutter 8 Ryan Payne 7 Ollie Marsh 3 Will Zoppellini 2

7 January 2006

SOLENT STARS 72 (11, 29, 46)

Solent were dealt a late hammer blow when leading scorer David Butterworth withdrew from the squad because of an injury picked up in training. American import, John Smith, was also unavailable - the club having failed to receive the Clearance Certificate from the Irish Basketball Association.

The Leopards used their height and weight advantage from the outset with Troy Selvey picking up six early points, brushing aside the Solent defence to do so. The home team's rather static zone defence proved vulnerable to some accurate outside shooting from Steve Ogunjimi who scored with three three point attempts. Clayton Milner battled gamely for the home squad and his second basket came from gaining a rebound under pressure to double the Solent score in the fourth minute. By then the pattern of the game had been established with Essex punishing Solent mistakes whilst the home team failed with a series of shots that would have put some pressure on the Leopards.

A bright start by Solent in the second quarter, as they outscored Essex by 9 - 2 in the opening two minutes soon evaporated when a further set of poor shots and turnovers allowed the visitors to again dominate the scoring. Anthony Rutter looked Solent's liveliest player as he came off the bench to score five early points. Mark Jackson helped Solent back into the game with one of his team's five three point successes and only two points separated the scoring of the teams in the second period.

Solent looked to be completely out of the game when they could only score two points in the opening five minutes of the third quarter. Desperation defending led to a series of fouls that gave the Leopards further opportunity to increase their lead from the free throw line. A late spurt in scoring gave respectability to the Solent scoreline but the quarter had proved a dismal affair for the spectators with Leopards under little pressure to produce and Solent still making heavy weather of putting points on the board.

Leopards regular supply of three point successes ( 13 in the game) continued to come in the final quarter as Dave Jones found his range. The Solent players never gave up the chase and Ryan Payne atoned for some earlier errors with an enterprising few minutes that brought him a steal and eight points. Ollie Marsh finally scored, as Solent's sixth points contributor, emphasising coach Steve Chant's dilemma as Leopards had nine of the squad on the scoresheet. Nevertheless the home team were able to finish all square with the scoring in the final quarter, a tribute to the fighting spirit of the team.

For the next game Solent meet Nottingham Knights, one of the teams below them in the league, at the unusual home venue of the River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester (Saturday, 7.30pm). Coach Steve Chant hopes to have both Butterworth and Smith (who scored 22 points in the club's second team friendly against USAF Mildenhall) available for the match.

SOLENT Mark Jackson 21 Anthony Rutter 14 Clayton Milner 12 Mark Steutel 11 Ryan Payne 11 Ollie Marsh 3
ESSEX AND HERTS LEOPARDS Steve Ogunjimi 23 Troy Selvey 21 Dave Jones 13 Errol Seaman 10 Sam Salter 7 Roger Lloyd 6 Brian Moore 6 James Warwick 6 Matt Eames 2

14 January 2006

SOLENT STARS 97 (21, 45, 78)
NOTTINGHAM KNIGHTS 104 (30, 50, 72)

In the unfamiliar home surroundings of River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester, Solent Stars lost a high scoring game to bottom club Nottingham Knights in this English League Division One game. This defeat means that Solent join Nottingham with only two wins from eleven games.

A malfunctioning imported scoreboard meant a 15 minute delay before the game could begin, but once it did it was Nottingham who looked the more confident and took a five point lead by the fifth minute. The Solent players seemed to find the target difficult to hit, whilst the Nottingham shooters revelled in the easy chances afforded them by the casual Solent defending. Having only scored 45 points in last week's away fixture to lowly London Capitals Nottingham were well on the way to that score by the end of the first quarter when they had notched thirty points against the nineteen of Solent.

Solent could only manage four points, all scored by new American signing John Smith, in the opening four minutes of the second quarter and found themselves trailing by 18 points (25 - 43) as Nottingham continued to find easy shots against a weak defence. The arrival of an electronic scoreboard, provided by the Southampton Trailblazers club, seemed to make the Solent players more aware of their predicament. Anthony Rutter made a quick impact and with Mark Jackson and Smith, Solent scored eight quick points to begin a revival that brought them to within five points of Nottingham at half time.

Solent continued their good form into the second half with Marc Steutel picking up rebounds at both ends after Rutter had opened the third quarter with a three point shot. A further three pointer from David Butterworth brought Solent level (61 all) in the sixth minute of the quarter and more points from Butterworth, Rutter and Jackson gave Solent a six point lead that they were able to maintain till the end of the third quarter.

Nottingham were able to draw level with the first three scores of the final quarter without any resistance from the Solent defence. In turn Solent's miserable shooting performance continued as Clayton Milner and Smith contrived to miss three free throws at a vital stage. Two big three point shots by Butterworth kept Solent in touch in the closing stages, trailing by just two points with two minutes remaining. In that time, two bad mistakes by Jackson, who played throughout the forty minutes, saw Nottingham able to break away to add points and kill off the game.

After the game, coach Steve Chant was bitterly disappointed with his team's performance, although that was tempered by an observation that the 'local' referees seem to penalise his team more harshly than opponents and, in this game, at a vital time towards the end of the match. Statistics show that in seven home games Solent have been charged with 137 fouls against 90 for the opponents.

Next weekend Solent have two away games, the first to fellow strugglers Kingston Wildcats and then, on Sunday, a visit to high-riding Reading Rockets.

SOLENT David Butterworth 28 John Smith 20 Anthony Rutter 15 Marc Steutel 13 Clayton Milner 13 Mark Jackson 8
NOTTINGHAM Bud Johnston 36 Tristan Lawson 28 William Omope 13 Steve McGlothlin 12 Stephan Gill 11 Awalgak Malwal 2 Chris Boateng 2

21 January 2006

SOLENT STARS 87 (14, 39, 62)
KINGSTON WILDCATS 91 (28, 42, 65)

A depressing pattern is beginning to emerge for Solent Stars. A dreadful start is followed by a spirited fightback when a lead is established only to be surrendered by a series of basic errors. Solent contrived to run the gamut of all the basic mistakes (turnovers, stepping out of court when in possession of the ball, technical fouls, hurried shots, passing back into the rear court) during the five times that they held the lead in the game.

The visitors biggest lead in this English League Division One game at Kingston was only ever four points but in each case it was quickly erased when Kingston's pressure caused a whole series of mistakes from almost all the of the squad players. Solent's almost trademark poor start meant that they quickly found themselves 0 - 9 down, before John Smith opened their scoring. Anthony Rutter, after a series of recent impressive performances, was included in the starting five, but he proved as guilty as the others when his misplaced pass, following a turnover from David Butterworth, gave Kingston an unimpeded run to the basket to add two more points. Coach Steve Chant took an early time-out and told his team not to let the opponents control the game. The introduction of Marc Steutel helped Solent's defence, but the quarter ended with Kingston having twice as many points as Solent and looking good value for it whilst the visitors seemed a disjointed, poorly-functioning unit.

John Smith was rested for the second quarter as Solent opened brightly with Clayton Milner (eleven points in the quarter) leading the fightback. Despite a 24 second clock failure which interrupted Solent's progress whilst the game was halted for several minutes, additional points from Butterworth and Steutel completed the Solent comeback. Kingston had been reduced to just four points in the opening five minutes and Solent took a slender 33 - 32 lead. Immediately a couple of elementary mistakes meant that within a minute Kingston were seven points ahead. Solent fought back to within one point when Steutel was called for a technical foul for speaking to the referee and Kingston benefited from the free throws and the subsequent possession, to lead by three at half time.

Solent's American John Smith, rejoined the game to immediate good effect for Solent and finally broke his duck from the free throw line at his seventh attempt to help Solent regain the lead. Still leading 60 - 59, it was experienced Mark Jackson who gave the ball away next and compounded the error by picking up an unsportsmanlike foul to gift Kingston yet more points and lose the lead once again.

It was nip and tuck in the final quarter with never more than a few points separating the teams, but despite Solent taking the lead twice, they contrived to throw it away with undisciplined play and finally paid the penalty sliding to their tenth consecutive defeat. Afterwards a bitterly disappointed Steve Chant said, "This was a game we threw away, just like last week. The players made basic mistakes at crucial times, and no one is immune from that criticism."

Scorers: David Butterworth 22 Clayton Milner 18 John Smith 18 Mark Jackson 12 Marc Steutel 10 Anthony Rutter 3 Ryan Payne 2 Ollie Marsh 2

22 January 2006

SOLENT STARS 63 (14, 31, 47)
READING ROCKETS 92 (20, 43, 70)

It took the Solent Stars players just 17 seconds to turn the ball over for the first time in this Division One game against Reading Rockets at the Rivermead Leisure Centre. Although Solent stayed in touch with the weakened (through injury) home team in the first quarter, there was little to inspire any confidence in the Solent travelling supporters. With John Smith culpable of two incredible misses and leading scorer David Butterworth not contributing to the score for the first nine minutes, it was left to Mark Jackson and Clayton Milner to keep Solent's score rising.

Butterworth, who had passed the 400 point mark for the season in the previous game, still could not get among the points during the second quarter and a desperate lunge for the basket saw him called for a third foul midway through the quarter. His comment to the referee immediately earned him his fourth and forced coach Steve Chant to withdraw him from the game. Trailing 24 - 31 at that moment, Solent then completely lost their way as they gave the ball away on numerous occasions with Ollie Marsh and Ryan Payne having nightmare moments. A technical foul picked up by the Reading team gave Solent a chance to get back into the game with four free throws, but then Marc Steutel was charged with a similar offence - his second in two days - and Reading were off the hook.

With no Butterworth for most of the third quarter, Solent sparked a mini-revival when John Smith scored nine consecutive points but Reading always looked to have the game under control especially as the Solent players kept presenting them with the ball.
Smith was charged with a last second technical foul as he appeared to throw the ball in the direction of the Reading bench.

Although it was an open and shut game, the referees called 46 fouls leading to 35 free throws for the home team and 19 for Solent. This made the game very disjointed and both teams suffered as first Reading lost a player on five fouls who was shortly followed by Butterworth, ending a miserable game for him and an even more abject performance by the Solent team. Next week the team travel to Teesside to play a crucial fixture for both teams as they start the second half of the league season.

Solent captain, Mark Jackson, summed up the the team's achievements in the game by saying, "Let's pretend that this game never happened."

SCORERS; John Smith 16 Mark Jackson 12 Marc Steutel 8 Ollie Marsh 8 Clayton Milner 6 David Butterworth 5 Anthony Rutter 5 Will Zoppelini 3

28 January 2006

SOLENT STARS 70 (20, 34, 49)
TEESSIDE MOHAWKS 106 (29, 53, 79)

There was a time, a few seasons ago, when a visit to all-conquering Teesside Mohawks was to be viewed with apprehension. For several seasons, Teesside won all the major trophies. That team is now history and coach Tony Hanson is in a rebuilding phase. "We suffered some heavy defeats at the beginning of this season, but gradually the team is coming together and beginning to win some games," said Hanson prior to to the start of their game with Solent. In turn, the Solent players did their best to make it look as if the good times had returned to Teesside with yet another woeful display that continued their run of league losses.

Yet, at the start it looked as if Solent would make a fist of it as they took an early narrow lead with some enterprising play. David Butterworth, John Smith and Mark Jackson were Solent's scorers in an opening period that belied recent performances. True Solent were having difficulty containing 7' 6" Teesside centre Fingleton under the basket as he scored quite regularly, but at the ninth minute Solent only trailed by two points (17 - 19). Then two quick three pointers by an unguarded Teesside player followed by the trademark loss of possession by the Solent team, saw a nine point gap open by the end of the quarter.

Solent continued to give the ball away under pressure - and sometimes even when not under pressure - as Teesside gradually increased their lead. Butterworth, having scored ten points in the opening minute, was unable to find the target regularly and only added four more points in the game. It was left for the other players to fill the gap and only Smith and Jackson responded with any points. With Butterworth blunted and Solent not able to raise their game, the scoring became a procession as Teesside increased their lead from ten to nineteen points in a matter of three minutes at the end of the half.

There was to be no Solent revival in the third period. At one point, as Teesside piled on the agony, in part thanks to Solent's weak defending ability, coach Steve Chant took his senior players off-court, whether to save them further embarrassment or as a sign of his discontent with their performance was not quite clear. However, the less experienced players then turned the ball over twice in a period of 30 seconds, leaving coach Chant with no options at all.

Further embarrassment was heaped on the Solent senior players when, with the game won, Teesside put their young players on court for the final three minutes. Although Solent were able to hold their own during this period it was still the home team who demonstrated the enterprise, athleticism and ability so lacking in the visitor's performance.

Coach Chant will have a mountain to climb if he is able to turn the team around to face fellow-strugglers, London Capitals next Saturday (Fleming Park, 8pm).

SCORERS John Smith 26 Mark Jackson 15 David Butterworth 14 Ollie Marsh 6 Anthony Rutter 4 Mark Steutel 3 Clayton Milner 2

4 February 2006


Exactly one hour after the scheduled start time and two hours after the mandatory arrival time, the visiting PAWS London Capitals team took the court at Fleming Park, Eastleigh. They had been delayed by a puncture on the motorway whilst travelling to the game. However, despite the management at the Leisure Centre extending the time by which the centre had to be cleared, it was impossible to play the game in the time remaining. The referees signed the result as a 20 - 0 win to Solent, whilst the supporters were given either their money back or a free entrance to next Saturday's home game against Worcester Wolves. Solent will be making a claim for lost revenue from the occasion.

5 February 2006

SOLENT STARS 64 (14, 30, 47)

Travel problems persisted the following day as Solent travelled to Brentwood, Essex to play the Leopards. An M25 closure could have played havoc had not Solent left enough time to use an alternative route and still arrive at the game the scheduled one hour ahead of tip-off. An official from the previous night's game, also refereeing this match, was not so lucky, but managed to arrive shortly before the start.

It might have been better for Solent to have stayed in the traffic jam as they got off to a dreadful start allowing Essex to score the first ten points of the game in the opening three minutes and forcing coach Steve Chant to call an early time-out.. John Smith helped Solent strike back by grabbing the visitors first five points. However, by then, Essex had landed two of their opening quarter three pointers. Later, three more similar scores gave Essex an unassailable sixteen point lead at the end of the first quarter.

Three Solent losses of possession at the start of the next period set the pattern for the quarter as Essex - who had been beaten by 21 points at Worthing the previous evening - gleefully benefited from the errors. American guard, Demetrice Williams, waltzed through the gullible Solent defence on a number of occasions. Having clawed their way back to a 15 point deficit thanks to three point successes from David Butterworth and Marc Steutel, Solent then allowed Essex to score ten unanswered points in the next four minutes to trail by 23 points at the half time interval.

Butterworth was having a poor shooting night and compounded his misery by several turnovers. Once he was removed from the game, it was left to John Smith, tireless at both ends of the court, to add what few points Solent were scoring. It was only in the last three minutes that Mark Jackson could find the target and, by then, the game was well and truly lost. Solent were consistent in their scoring in each quarter, but it never matched the livelier home team.

Ironically, for the first time that anyone can remember, the Solent team transport also suffered a puncture on the return home journey around the M25!

Scorers: John Smith 24 Mark Steutel 13 David Butterworth 7 Mark Jackson 6 Anthony Rutter 4 Clayton Milner 3 Ollie Marsh 3 Will Zoppellini 2 Ryan Payne 2

11 February 2006

SOLENT STARS 77 (18, 33, 57)
WORCESTER WOLVES 103 (31, 59, 79)

Solent Stars have been averaging 75 points per game so far this season. Although they achieved this score again - without leading scorer David Butterworth or recently departed Marc Steutel - it was never going to be enough to defeat table-topping Worcester Wolves in this Division One league game at Fleming Park.

For the first eight minutes of the game, the teams were evenly matched as the Solent Stars starting five, John Smith (6), Ryan Payne (4), Anthony Rutter (2), Clayton Milner (2) and |Mark Jackson (2) all scored points to help Solent lead on six occasions. However it all began to unravel when Worcester scored ten unanswered points in the last two minutes of the opening quarter. It was the outside shooting of the Worcester guards, Andy Harper and Matt Collins, that did the first quarter damage. Harper went on to score with eight of his fourteen three point attempts and continued to be a thorn in the Solent team's side.

The margin by which Solent trailed grew to 27 points as Worcester scored the opening fourteen points of the second quarter in four minutes without any reply from Solent. The home team moved the ball harmlessly around the outside of the Worcester defence, but with no outside shooting threat (scoring only three times in fifteen match attempts) the bigger Worcester defending players could afford to wait for the almost inevitable turnover or missed shot. Payne landed a three pointer to bring Solent back into scoring mode, but half time came with Solent 26 points adrift.

The half time interval proved a blessing for Solent who came out with a renewed vigour and actually outscored their opponents 24 - 20 in the quarter. Rutter opened the scoring and Smith had four free throw chances to add to the total after Worcester picked up their first foul of the game in the second minute. Although he missed with three of those attempts, it was his rebounding ability (17 in the game) which gave Solent more possession of the ball than they had earlier in the match. Rutter scored seven consecutive points midway through the quarter to spark new hope into the Solent team.

Worcester, having won the National Trophy final the previous week. could only share the spoils in the second half with both teams scoring 44 points. Whilst the eight man Worcester squad comfortably took the game, Solent coach Steve Chant took heart from his team's second half performance. "We started well, but when things started to go wrong, the players didn't seem to know how to put it right. Full marks, then, to their recovery in the second half, " said Chant.

SOLENT John Smith 24 Mark Jackson 16 Clayton Milner 15 Anthony Rutter 11 Ryan Payne 9 Paul Silcox 2
WORCESTER Andy Harper 35 Matt Collins 26 Ty Shaw 14 Ben Potts 12 Joseph Forde 8 Colin Chiverton 6 Robert Clarke 2

Solent Stars Basketball - Game Box Score
Solent Stars Men 1 vs. Worcester Wolves
Date: 11/02/2006 Time: 20:00 Site: Fleming Park EBL DIV 1 MEN

Visitors: Worcester Wolves





4 J.Forde
4/4 0/0 2/4 10 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 19:42
6 * M.Collins
9/17 2/5 4/8 24 1 12 13 0 8 8 0 4 40:00
8 O.Turner
0/1 0/1 0/2 0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 12:34
10 * T.Shaw
5/8 0/0 4/6 14 5 4 9 2 3 0 0 4 25:01
11 * A.Harper
12/23 7/13 1/2 32 0 2 2 2 3 2 1 1 32:06
13 B.Potts
4/5 2/3 0/0 10 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 22:57
14 * C.Chiverton
3/7 0/0 0/0 6 1 4 5 0 0 0 0 0 24:55
15 * R.Clarke
3/7 1/2 0/0 7 1 2 3 2 0 2 2 0 22:45


2 1 3
1 1


40/72 12/24 11/22 103 11 27 38 7 19 13 3 12 200

Total FG

1st Half 23/40 57.5% 2nd Half 17/32 53.1% Game 40/72 55.6%


1st Half 7/13 53.8% 2nd Half 5/11 45.5% Game 12/24 50.0%

Free Throws

1st Half 6/10 60.0% 2nd Half 5/12 41.7% Game 11/22 50.0%

Home: Solent Stars





4 * C.Milner
7/9 0/0 1/2 15 5 4 9 3 0 1 0 0 35:11
5 P.Silcox
1/2 0/0 0/0 2 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 7:15
6 * R.Payne
4/6 1/2 0/0 9 0 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 21:02
7 * A.Rutter
6/13 0/3 1/1 13 1 2 3 2 0 1 0 2 27:54
9 * M.Jackson
7/19 2/7 0/0 16 2 1 3 4 5 5 0 5 40:00
10 W.Zoppellini
0/2 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4:50
11 O.Marsh
0/3 0/1 0/0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 13:48
12 C.Sheldrick
0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 0 4:58
13 G.Hunter
0/3 0/2 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7:44
15 * J.Smith
10/21 0/0 2/7 22 6 11 17 4 2 8 0 0 37:18


2 3 5



35/79 3/15 4/10 77 18 25 43 18 11 20 0 8 200

Total FG

1st Half 16/39 41.0% 2nd Half 19/40 47.5% Game 35/79 44.3%


1st Half 1/8 12.5% 2nd Half 2/7 28.6% Game 3/15 20.0%

Free Throws

1st Half 0/0 0.00% 2nd Half 4/10 40.0% Game 4/10 40.0%

Wor Sol
Wor Sol
Wor Sol
Free Throw Pts 11 4 3Pt Points 36 9 Pts/Possession 1.23 0.91
Pts off Turnovers 26 23 2nd Chance Points 7 14 Pts off Bench 20 2
Total Rebounds 38 43 Team Rebounds 3 5 Dead Ball Reb 6 3
Off Rebound % 30.6 40.0 Def Rebound % 60.0 69.4 Total Rebound % 46.9 53.1

Technical Fouls





Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 Total
Worcester Wolves 31 28 20 24 103
Solent Stars Men 1 16 17 24 20 77

12 February 2006

SOLENT STARS 87 (27, 47, 61)
KINGS LYNN FURY 81 (17, 41, 59)

This was a first meeting for these two teams, both currently languishing in the lower reaches of the league. Solent were trying to end a 13 run of defeats whilst Kings Lynn, who had nearly overcome Kingston Wildcats the previous evening, had lost 12 consecutive league matches.

It was the visitors, Solent Stars, who took the early initiative in this Division One game, despite missing Ollie Marsh and Paul Silcox from the previous night's match against Worcester Wolves. The eight man team all contributed to an inspiring Solent performance which got off to a flying start thanks to points from Clayton Milner, Anthony Rutter, Ryan Payne and Mark Jackson. American John Smith seemed to find the going hard and it took him ten minutes before he could score his first points to give Solent a ten point first quarter lead.

Graham Hunter came off the bench to hit a three pointer at the start of the second quarter, but it was three minutes later before Payne would add two more points. In that time, the Fury had come right back into the game with a nine point burst of points. Kings Lynn levelled the scoring at 37 all with three minutes remaining of the first half, but Will Zoppellini's score and John Smith's second basket of the half meant that Solent could enjoy a rare half time lead.

Smith finally got among the points at the start of the second half scoring ten of the team's fourteen points, but the Fury outscored Solent by four points to trail by just two, going into the final quarter.

In the most exciting of final quarters, the two teams slugged it out with Solent always managing to keep the upper hand, save for one change of lead midway through the quarter. Kings Lynn visited the free throw line 17 times and Solent 16 in a tense finale. Four of the visits for Kings Lynn came courtesy of a Jackson foul followed by a technical foul on the same player. This enabled the Fury to draw level at 65 all in the third minute. Earlier Clayton Milner had picked up his fifth and final foul. Coach Steve Chant turned to Chris Sheldrick to add some height to the defence, and he performed his task admirably, making it difficult for the taller Kings Lynn players to have easy shots. Rutter added important points at vital times including four from the free throw line in the final minute. But the game turned on a brilliant Jackson steal and score in the last minute with Solent then just three points ahead. More fouls by the home team in attempts to get possession were dealt with by a succession of successful free throws by Jackson (4) Rutter (4) and Smith (2). "This was a team win with everyone playing their full part," said a delighted Steve Chant after the game.

Scorers: Anthony Rutter 21, Mark Jackson 21, John Smith 18, Ryan Payne 12, Clayton Milner 10, Graham Hunter 3, Will Zoppellini 2

18 February 2006

SOLENT STARS 91 (22, 41, 66)
LONDON UNITED 126 (31, 66, 90)

Ollie Marsh returned for Solent Stars in this English League Division One game at Osterley, but Paul Silcox declared himself unfit for the rest of the season after a couple of recent run-outs.

This proved to be an open and fast encounter with both teams able to show enterprising play in the high scoring game. The pattern for the match was set early on when the London players started to shoot and score from long range over the Solent zone defence. Even when coach Steve Chant called an early time out and the team reverted to man-to-man defence, the home players still found the target with outside shooting, notching seven three pointers in the opening quarter. So physically distant were the London team that the Solent players were not called for one foul for the first fifteen minutes of the game. Indeed, the first quarter only contained one personal foul in total. Anthony Rutter, who had opened Solent's account, was supported in the scoring mainly by Clayton Milner, who worked tirelessly in defence.

Mark Jackson took over the main scoring role for Solent in the second period as Solent tried in vain to stem the flow of London points. Missed shots early on meant that Solent trailed by 30 - 52 in the seventh minute. John Smith had only managed eight points thus far and was culpable of a missed slam dunk reminiscent of John Bynum's effort that cost Solent the Championship Play-Off a few seasons ago. But he, too, epitomised the Solent players' approach of being very competitive, so much so that he picked up a technical foul for protesting that he had been fouled - ironic bearing in mind that only seventeen fouls were called in the game. A lapse of concentration in the final minute by Solent saw London score six easy points.

Solent shaded the third quarter by one point. Ryan Payne hit a three point shot early on but the London players continued to shoot successfully from outside, adding four more to their total of sixteen three pointers in the game. Brave defensive work by the Solent players against the taller opponents limited the home team to 24 points. As well as Payne (5) other scores were made by Milner (8), Jackson (6), Rutter (4) and Smith (2) to bring the Solent quarter total to 25.

Solent also scored 25 points in the final quarter - including Will Zoppellini's best contribution so far of 4 points - but London gave a grandstand finish taking advantage of the tiring Solent players, who were all conscious of the next day's game against table-topping Worthing Thunder.

Scorers: Clayton Milner 22, Mark Jackson 22, John Smith 21, Anthony Rutter 13, Ryan Payne 5, Will Zoppellini 4, Chris Sheldrick 2, Graham Hunter 2

19 February 2006

SOLENT STARS 89 (20, 44, 63)
WORTHING THUNDER 108 (29, 53, 88)

Had Solent Stars not turned the ball over 16 times in the first half against league leaders Worthing Thunder, they might have been in a more competitive position in this English League Division One game at Fleming Park. As it was a particularly wretched last minute of the first quarter, when Solent missed several shots and gave the ball away four times, saw the visitors able to open a nine point lead. Previous to that Solent had matched the visiting team basket for basket in the opening six minutes helped by three point scores from Mark Jackson and Anthony Rutter.

Seeming not to have learned their lesson, the second quarter started with Jackson losing the ball in the opening seconds, but he was not the only culprit as most of his team also conspired to lose possession under the intense pressure put on them by Worthing. Jackson also picked up his third foul in the second minute of the quarter forcing coach Steve Chant to bring him off court. Gradually Solent by determined effort came back into the game, despite still conceding possession to their more alert and quicker opponents. Tensions rose towards the end of the period as John Smith picked up three quick fouls, but Solent held their own as they shared the points scored in the quarter.

The exchanges were even at the start of the second half, with Solent coming to within ten points of the visitors (52 - 62) in the fourth minute. However, another less disciplined period of play allowed Worthing to add seventeen points in the next four minutes with just two points by Clayton Milner in reply. Coach Chant used his time-outs to try to get his team back on course and Jackson - who had already picked up his fourth foul - responded by adding five quick points for Solent.

Steve Chant was forced to call a time-out again at the start of the final period as Solent - looking dispirited after the mauling being given them by Worthing - conceded eight points in the first three minutes. Now trailing by 35 points, it is to the home team's credit that they were able to restrict Worthing to just twelve more points in the remaining seven minutes whilst adding twenty six of their own.

SOLENT John Smith 32 Mark Jackson 17 Clayton Milner 11 Anthony Rutter 9 Will Zoppellini 9 Ryan Payne 8 Graham Hunter 3
WORTHING Alfredo Ott 21 Pat Bates 21 Steven Gayle 19 Jonathan Woods 18 Rani Malik 14 Steve Vear 9 James Brame 6

Solent Stars Basketball - Game Box Score
Solent Stars vs. Worthing Thunder
Date: 19/02/2006 Time: 14:00 Site: Fleming Park Attendance: EBL DIV 1 MEN

Visitors: Worthing Thunder





4 D.Hills
0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2:26
5 * S.Vear
4/11 1/5 0/0 9 2 3 5 1 4 2 0 0 20:09
6 * P.Bates
7/14 0/0 7/10 21 5 8 13 4 0 4 5 2 26:50
7 R.Newson

8 O.Ugbana

9 * S.Gayle
5/11 0/4 9/10 19 2 4 6 3 4 3 1 4 27:39
10 R.Malik
5/6 2/2 2/2 14 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 19:09
11 * J.Woods
8/21 1/2 5/8 22 6 6 12 2 2 2 2 1 32:50
12 * A.Ott
7/16 1/8 2/2 17 5 3 8 1 2 1 2 3 25:43
13 J.Brame
3/10 0/3 0/0 6 1 4 5 3 1 2 0 1 22:01
14 J.Bailey
0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2:53
15 C.Burns
0/1 0/1 0/0 0 2 3 5 4 1 0 0 0 20:20


2 0 2


39/91 5/25 25/32 108 25 31 56 19 14 15 10 11 200

Total FG

1st Half 22/56 39.3% 2nd Half 17/35 48.6% Game 39/91 42.9%


1st Half 1/16 6.25% 2nd Half 4/9 44.4% Game 5/25 20.0%

Free Throws

1st Half 8/14 57.1% 2nd Half 17/18 94.4% Game 25/32 78.1%

Home: Solent Stars





4 * C.Milner
5/14 0/0 1/4 11 4 17 21 4 1 1 0 1 34:13
6 * R.Payne
3/5 0/1 2/2 8 0 1 1 3 5 8 0 1 24:20
7 * A.Rutter
4/11 1/2 0/0 9 0 5 5 2 2 3 0 1 28:54
9 * M.Jackson
5/13 2/6 5/6 17 2 0 2 4 5 5 0 2 31:23
10 W.Zoppelline
4/6 1/2 0/0 9 0 1 1 0 3 1 0 0 13:24
11 O.Marsh
0/2 0/0 0/0 0 1 2 3 3 0 3 0 0 11:06
12 C.Sheldrick
0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2:40
13 G.Hunter
1/4 1/2 0/0 3 1 0 1 3 0 2 1 1 14:20
15 * J.Smith
14/24 0/0 4/7 32 6 3 9 4 0 2 2 1 39:40


3 2 5



36/79 5/13 12/19 89 17 32 49 23 16 26 3 7 200

Total FG

1st Half 18/36 50.0% 2nd Half 18/43 41.9% Game 36/79 45.6%


1st Half 3/6 50.0% 2nd Half 2/7 28.6% Game 5/13 38.5%

Free Throws

1st Half 5/11 45.5% 2nd Half 7/8 87.5% Game 12/19 63.2%

Wor Sol
Wor Sol
Wor Sol
Free Throw Pts 25 12 3Pt Points 15 15 Pts/Possession 1.15 0.93
Pts off Turnovers 31 19 2nd Chance Points 29 23 Pts off Bench 20 12
Total Rebounds 56 49 Team Rebounds 2 5 Dead Ball Reb 2 2
Off Rebound % 43.9 35.4 Def Rebound % 64.6 56.1 Total Rebound % 53.3 46.7

Technical Fouls





Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 Total
Worthing Thunder 29 24 33 22 108
Solent Stars 20 24 19 26 89

25 February 2006

SOLENT STARS 61 (10, 24, 43)
COVENTRY CRUSADERS 86 (26, 38, 66)

"Too many Solent players were off their game this evening," said coach Steve Chant as Solent Stars crashed to yet another defeat in the English Basketball League Division One game at Coventry. Eighth placed Coventry won this game with a display of three point shooting, mainly in the form of American Jeremiah Hamlet, that saw them outscore Solent 14 - 2 in this department.

The scene was set early on when Hamlet landed two three point scores in the third minute to take Coventry to an early 13 - 4 lead. The Solent players, on the other hand, were unable to hit the target with any regularity. After the initial Coventry scoring burst both teams contributed to a rather lacklustre six minutes play that only saw ten more points added to the game. With only ten points in the quarter Solent were forced to chase the game from the outset.

As well as being able to score from outside, Coventry demonstrated the flimsiness of the Solent defence by scoring all eight of their opening second quarter points by driving through the Solent players' defence to score from easy lay-ups. Despite repeated efforts, Solent could not score from long range, allowing the home defence to concentrate on picking up rebounds to start their next attack.

The second half started in a familiar fashion with Ryan Payne missing an opening three point attempt for Solent and Coventry's Hamlet replying straight away with a three point success for the home team. However, it was Payne who then provided Clayton Milner with two assists and then scored himself to bring Solent back into contention, trailing by only 13 points (30 - 43) in the third minute. However a further five three pointers by the home team effectively sealed the game as Solent came to terms with yet another possible defeat.

Finally, in the second minute of the final period, Mark Jackson scored with a three point shot and this was followed by debut player Ben Stanley with another. But it was all too late for the visiting team who scrapped hard to keep within two points of Coventry in the fourth quarter's scores. John Smith had battled throughout for Solent but he, too, was guilty of several misses that was endemic of the whole team's performance.

Next Saturday Solent are at home to King's Lynn Fury in a game that will probably decide if Solent are to escape relegation. coach Steve Chant will have to hope for better performances from his players if they are to repeat their earlier win over Kings Lynn.

Scorers: John Smith 19 Mark Jackson 15 Clayton Milner 11 Ryan Payne 6 Ben Stanley 3 Chris Sheldrick 3 Anthony Rutter 2 Ollie Marsh 2

4 March 2006

SOLENT STARS 90* (27, 40, 61, 84)
KINGS LYNN FURY 95* (12, 37, 57, 84)

* overtime

Solent Stars plunged themselves back into the relegation area again after losing this tense game to Kings Lynn Fury in an English League Division One game at Fleming Park.

It was the Fury's first ever visit to Solent and they looked all at sea as the home team went into an early lead with baskets from Mark Jackson, John Smith, Anthony Rutter and Clayton Milner. The visitors were finding it hard to score against an alert Solent defence and their 12 point total in the opening quarter saw them 15 points adrift of Solent. this difference could have been more had Solent taken any of the five chances in the closing seconds.

As it was, a nervous start to the second quarter by the home team - despite their points advantage - allowed the Fury to claw their way back into the game. Solent had difficulty overcoming the zone defence adopted by Kings Lynn and many attacks fizzled out either without a shot or by loss of possession. Solent missed Jackson who sat out a good part of the quarter and Smith (3) and Milner (2) also missed free throws that might have preserved a healthier lead at half time than the three points they had (40 - 37).

Worryingly, Kings Lynn took the lead for the first time in the second minute when player-coach James Bamford hit the first of his three pointers in the quarter. The lead changed hands a further four times and it was two three point successes from Jackson that gave Solent the upper hand going into the final quarter.

Solent then took charge at the beginning of the last session of normal time when the leapt 12 points ahead with Smith, Jackson and Ryan Payne all scoring in quick succession. So quick was the action that the table officials had to call the referees over to clarify the situation. The ensuing delay, much to coach Steve Chant's annoyance, interrupted the Solent flow and it was the visitors who then went on a run of nine unanswered points - helped by Solent's four losses of possession - to bring the game back to life. The last two minutes saw Solent go from five points ahead to relying on a Clayton Milner score, while being fouled, to level the totals in the last minute. He failed to score from the resulting free throw and the game went into overtime.

Despite scoring first Solent fell behind to a Steve Pilkington three pointer and were reduced to fouling in an attempt to get the ball. The Fury sank six of their eight free throws to gain a much needed win. Solent's only solace was that their victory was only by five points. Had it been seven or more, and the teams level on league points at the end of the season, Solent would have had to take the lower league place.

SOLENT John Smith 31 Mark Jackson 17 Anthony Rutter 16 Clayton Milner 16 Will Zoppellini 6 Ryan Payne 4
KINGS LYNN Steve Pilkington 24 James Bamfield 19 Sam Luong 18 Soloman Sheard 12 Jon Stonebridge 11 Dave Peacock 8 Alex Maragoudakis 3

5 March 2006

SOLENT STARS 68 (16, 37, 53)
MANCHESTER MAGIC 106 (24, 45, 77)

After the disappointment of the previous evening's loss to Kings Lynn Fury, the following day Solent Stars travelled to Manchester Magic for a Division One game. Chris Sheldrick was again unavailable as was Anthony Rutter, forcing coach Steve Chant to call up Mike Peel from the second team. Home coach, Jeff Jones, had no such worries with a full bench of twelve players.

In the first half, Solent Stars looked a completely different outfit from the previous evening as they played with confidence and dictated the opening four minutes play to take a 9 - 4 lead with points from John Smith (5), Mark Jackson (3) and Ryan Payne (1). Manchester soon levelled the score, but Solent were able to stay in the game until the final two minutes of the first quarter when a couple of errors cost them dear as the home team took an eight point advantage into the first break.

With Clayton Milner and Smith rebounding the ball to good effect, Solent were able to enjoy more possession than in many matches of late. For once they did not turn the ball over too many times in the quarter and the reward was a share of the points (21 all) during this period of play. Three point successes from Jackson and Payne brought Solent to within four points of Manchester (35 - 39) in the final minute of the half only to concede three quick baskets before Smith completed the scoring in the second quarter.

Inevitably, one game of overtime followed by a long road trip with a depleted squad took its toll. The Solent players were not able to sustain the pressure in defence that they had achieved in the first two periods and Manchester were quick to take advantage. Manchester's captain, Matt Hogarth, sank consecutive three pointers early in the third quarter to open a points gap that Solent were never going to be able to close. Solent began to make errors, giving the ball away 27 times in the game whilst the Manchester total was only 13.

The unlikely named Gergely Major demonstrated Magic's superiority when, in a period of two minutes in the final quarter he sank three undefended three point shots. In all Manchester scored with twelve of their twenty six three point attempts, whereas Solent were exposed as lacking a specialist three point scorer by scoring from only three of their twelve attempts. One consolation for Solent from the game was the fact that they almost matched the home team in rebounds (39 - 45) demonstrating the effort that all the players put into the game, including Ollie Marsh who has played with an injured knee all season and finally had to leave the game in some pain.

Solent must now prepare to meet another high-flying team in Sheffield Arrows (Fleming Park, March 11th, 8pm).

SCORERS John Smith 30 Mark Jackson 16 Clayton Milner 9 Ryan Payne 9 Will Zoppellini 4

11 March 2006

SOLENT STARS 84 (23, 37, 57)

Once again, Solent Stars fell to the superior outside shooting of a visiting team, as Sheffield Arrows scored with twelve three point shots to the two successful efforts of Solent's Mark Jackson.

Jackson took both his chances in the ninth minute of the first quarter to help Solent into a five point lead (23 - 18) despite a poor opening that saw Solent miss many early chances. Sheffield were kept in this English League Division One game as stand-in player/coach Noah Brown hit the three point target four times. Solent, as they continued to do throughout the game, were playing enterprising basketball - with Anthony Rutter involved in many of the moves - but finding the scoring touch too infrequently to put Sheffield under any pressure.

Solent's inability to control the defensive rebounding board cost them dear at the start of the second quarter as Sheffield were given several opportunities for second and third time chances to score. Another Brown three pointer took Sheffield into an eleven point lead before Solent scored their opening second quarter points, through Ollie Marsh, in the fourth minute. From a scoring point of view, these proved to be the decisive moments in the game as Solent matched Sheffield in the scoring for the rest of the match. The visitors seemed to lose their way as Solent's play gathered momentum, but it was the continued failure of the home team to score at the end of their moves that allowed Sheffield to protect their lead.

It took only 6 seconds of the second half for the referees to stop the game in an attempt to quell a developing confrontational situation between several players as the tempo of the game picked up. Solent stayed with their opponents throughout the quarter but a last minute turnover by Graham Hunter followed by a foul by Chris Sheldrick cost Solent four last minute points and gave Sheffield another breathing space.

After 13 seconds of the final quarter Sheffield's Danny Richards was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Ryan Payne. Seven seconds later the same player was called for a second such foul and ejected from the game. Payne again sank his free throws in a spell when his eight consecutive points gave Solent hope as they closed to a seven point deficit (65 - 72). Four more Sheffield three point successes virtually ended the Solent rally but to their credit the last eight points of the game were scored by the home team, who never gave up the chase, especially John Smith who worked tirelessly throughout the whole 40 minutes.

Coach Steve Chant said, "That kind of performance by us all season would mean that we would not be in our current lowly league position."

SOLENT John Smith 24 Anthony Rutter 16 Clayton Milner 16 Ryan Payne 14 Mark Jackson 10 Ollie Marsh 4
SHEFFIELD Noah Brown 36 Tucker Kain 28 James Sutton 14 Jamie Davidson 8 Guy Renton 4 Adrian Anderson 2 Danny Richards 2

25 March 2006

SOLENT STARS 78 (29, 44, 60)
NOTTINGHAM KNIGHTS 85 (17, 42, 59)

The starting five for Solent Stars, Clayton Milner, Ryan Payne, Mark Jackson, Anthony Rutter and John Smith got Solent Stars off to a flying start in this English League Division One game at Nottingham Knights. The team moved the ball around well and a ten point burst of scoring in the sixth and seventh minute of the first quarter opened up the twelve point lead that the visitors still had at the end of the quarter.

The warning bells, against the club's basement side, began to ring when coach Steve Chant introduced some of the other players into the action and the scoring dried up to allow the home team to come back into the game. The rot began when Will Zoppellini inexplicably passed the ball into a ring of Nottingham players. The ensuing score by the home team began a run of thirteen points that brought them to within two of Solent at the half-time interval.

Chant reverted to four of his starting five for the next quarter plus Graham Hunter in place of Rutter. Although Solent held their own in this quarter, it was the home team who looked more lively.

The final quarter began with Solent falling four points behind but then to stage a recovery - helped by Jackson's two three pointers - and retake a three point lead (76 - 73) with four minutes remaining. The last minute began with the scores level. Hunter's three point attempt fell short and Nottingham grabbed the rebound. A foul by Milner gave the home team a chance to take the lead, but it was a foul called on Jackson that pushed coach Chant's exasperation too far and his protest led to a technical foul giving Nottingham four free throws. Unlike Solent, for whom Milner and Smith had been able to score from only one of nine attempts, the home team gratefully accepted Solent's gifts.

Pulling no punches the Nottingham programme notes stated "We will be relegated and we deserve to be as we have been terrible all season". Quite what the Solent players make of that remark, when Nottingham have beaten them twice, is hard to imagine.

SCORERS; John Smith 23, Clayton Milner 15 Mark Jackson 12 Ryan Payne 10 Anthony Rutter 10 Graham Hunter 4 Ollie Marsh 2 Will Zoppellini 2

26 March 2006

SOLENT STARS 83 (20, 43, 63)
KINGSTON WILDCATS 106 (31, 50, 74)

Solent Stars found the target hard to hit at the start of their final league game of the season at home to Kingston Wildcats. Kingston, on the other hand, revelled in the freedom given to their outside shooters scoring four three point shots as they took an 18 - 6 lead by the sixth minute. Solent were left chasing the game from the start and Kingston seemed to be playing well within themselves as they took the home team's defence apart on several occasions.

Trailing by eleven points at the first break, the Solent players showed great resolve as they opened the second quarter by scoring eleven unopposed points in the first three minutes to bring the scores all square. Mark Jackson (5), John Smith (4) and Graham Hunter (2) were the Solent scorers in this period. However, their old failing of giving the ball away soon returned to haunt them and Kingston were able to score the next seven points. A further rally by Solent saw them take the lead for the only time (41 - 40) when Ben Stanley scored with a three point shot shortly after coming on court. Kingston's reply was swift, with two more three point shots among those that took them to a seven point half time lead.

Six successful three point shots from Kingston in the third quarter shut the door on any Solent late revival. In the game, Kingston outshot Solent 16 - 4 in the three point stakes and although the home team tried manfully to stay with their opponents, there was only ever going to be one winning team in this encounter.

Solent finish the season in twelfth position thanks to having beaten Kings Lynn Fury by six points against the latter's recent five point win over Solent. With the teams equal on four wins in the league, the matches between the two teams are taken into account.

After the game, retiring club director, Jim Rumsey, presented the Player of the Year Award to Clayton Milner and the Players' Player to fourth time winner, Mark Jackson.

SOLENT John Smith 30 Mark Jackson 19 Clayton Milner 10 Graham Hunter 9 Ben Stanley 7 Ryan Payne 4 Anthony Rutter 2 Will Zoppellini 2
KINGSTON Junior Sudler 35 Michael Williamson 34 Nathan Selsby 16 James Miller 10 Marlan Henry 8 Chris Jeremiah 3

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