A POOR third quarter saw the Bandits surrender the initiative to the Bears in this intriguing encounter at the new sports hall at the Budmouth Community Sports Centre.

Having lost by a 67-point margin against the same opposition in their previous meeting, Weymouth were keen to put the record straight and that was reflected in the opening period, which the visitors just edged by two points.

The same intensity then continued in the second with the Bandits adopting some strong-minded defence, but the Bears were refusing to budge either as the game remained extremely tight.

A couple of drives from Dzintars Kalkis resulted in defensive fouls which allowed him to score four out of four from the free-throw line for Weymouth but it was still Bourne-mouth that held the upper hand at the break, 30-24.

After such a good half, the Bandits looked well set but in the third quarter disaster struck on both the defensive and offensive end of the floor, allowing the Bears to take control.

Weymouth suddenly had no answers as they conceded six free-throw fouls in a horrendous quarter which saw the away side stretch their lead to 21 points.

It was clear the Bandits desperately needed to compose themselves again and in the intermission ahead of the fourth period they did exactly that.

Coming out in determined fashion, the hosts saw Vitoldas Balciunas make two trips to the free-throw line following drives in the paint which appeared to galvanise the whole side.

It led to another close quarter but the Bears still managed to edge it to eventually run out 71-48 winners – a flattering scoreline considering the even nature of the majority of the game.

Weymouth’s Carl Carter said: “The final score did not reflect the effort the squad put in but after such a horrific third quarter it was always going to take a lot to claw back the deficit.”

The Bandits have worked on the areas that they struggled with in this game and are now ready for their trip to Winchester tonight.

Bandits: Vitoldas Balciunas 11, Dzintars Kalkis 10, Ian Manley 10, Julian Lawes 7, Chris Canum 5, Sam Dodge 4, Carl Carter, Jim DeBertrand, Brett Dunster.