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Leopards face ‘crucial’ clash with Westminster after defeat to Bradford

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 January 2020

Essex & Herts Leopards' Prince Lartey in action against Bradford Dragons. Picture: Dave Ryan

Essex & Herts Leopards' Prince Lartey in action against Bradford Dragons. Picture: Dave Ryan

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Essex & Herts Leopards coach Thomas Baker says his side’s upcoming clash with Westminster Warriors is “crucial” as they look to turn around their poor form.

While the Big Cats are joint bottom of the table with a 1-15 record, Warriors are 12th with three wins from 16 games but have lost nine on the bounce ahead of the game at Oaklands College.

A poor end to the game saw Leopards lose 92-84 when the sides met at Moberly Leisure Centre in October and Baker knows the importance of the game to his side's survival hopes.

"We look ahead to this weekend in a crucial match up against a familiar foe," he said.

"Westminster presents a similar test to Bradford in the fact that they will be physical and aggressive for 40 minutes so we must be ready to match them.

"We have been so close in games across this season and we still believe our destiny is in our own hands.

"We have the tools to get it done. We must focus on us and stay together through this tough period."

A good first period from Baker's team was not enough to prevent an 87-66 loss against Bradford Dragons at Oaklands on Saturday.

Dragons scored the first five points through Dave Walsh and Ricky Fetske but Prince Lartey beat the buzzer with a triple to send the sides into the first break tied at 21.

Andreas Lycoudis and Toby Gastaldi-Davies exchanged three-pointers to open the second period before Rihards Sulcs launched a run of 17 straight points as Leopards were held scoreless for almost four minutes, with the visitors leading 51-36 at the half-time break.

The hosts failed to score in the first three minutes of the third period but although Teni Mongo added another score from downtown, the home side were outscored 18-9 in the quarter to trail 69-45 at the final break.

Jerrelle Okoro spent much of the first six fourth period minutes at the foul line, going seven from seven including an and-one as Mongo added another pair of treys.

But Leopards never got any closer than 17 points as Bradford closed out the win.

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