OFF the back of a strong away win, the Weymouth Tandoori Bandits were hungry to challenge Portsmouth Navy, one of the league’s elite teams.

Their previous meeting in Hampshire had been a competitive fixture despite Weymouth fielding a slightly depleted side.

With a full squad at home the Bandits were looking to bring the game to the visiting Navy side from the tip-off.

The first quarter was evenly matched with baskets from Carl Carter and Julian Lawes quickly answering Portsmouth’s two early three-point efforts.

As Weymouth’s perimeter defence intensified, Portsmouth Navy found opportunities to connect closer to the basket.

Again the Bandits quickly countered with some inside scoring of their own, with Lawes’ playmaking and the home side’s efforts on the offensive glass earning them some high percentage shots.

Despite the momentum seemingly with the Bandits going into the second quarter, the two teams continued to exchange buckets tit-for-tat.

As the game became increasingly physical the hosts then looked to their big men, led by Ian Manley, to keep them in the game.

With both teams committing progressively more fouls during the quarter it was ultimately the Navy’s slightly higher accuracy at the free-throw line that allowed them to stay one step ahead going into the second half.

Portsmouth Navy came out in the third quarter looking to extend their modest lead. Switching their defence from man-to-man to a zone and utilising a bigger line-up brought immediate dividends.

The Bandits struggled to regain their offensive rhythm and the delay to adapt allowed the visitors’ physical offense to earn a 15-point cushion going into the final period.

Regardless of Weymouth’s strong start to the fourth quarter it was soon evident that without a change in their strategy there would be insufficient time to regain the advantage that Portsmouth had generated during the previous period.

The strong Navy side remained composed despite increased pressure from the home side and eventually ran out 59-41 winners.

Scorers/Roster: Ian Manley 13, Carl Carter 7, Dzintas Kalkis 6, Chris Canham 2, Alex Fuhrmann 5, Vitoldas Balciunas 4, Julian Lawes 2, Sam Dodge 2, Jim de Bertrand.

Weymouth MVP: Ian Manley