An injury plagued Pirates outfit were ruffed-up even more during their encounter with the 66’ers under the lights at Star Suburbs Casino on Monday night with a series of injuries befalling the squad both before and after tip-off that literally sapped the Pirates power and presence from the court. Forced to watch from the sidelines were Kel Dullihanty, Darren Jamieson and Ashley Forrest while Todd Gregory was given leave to care for a relative that was in the hospital.
A physical first quarter benefited the Pirates even though they trailed by four points and were in some early foul trouble as a belief they could manage their circumstances and reverse their fortunes filled the Pirates bench.
The gap between the two teams widened in the second quarter, the Pirates paying a penalty forcing the 66’ers to earn their points from the line. At this point it was clear that there were going to be no free lunches for either team, an obvious unsportsmanlike foul called against the Pirates confirming the nature of this CMG clash.
In the first half, the 66’ers ran a series of cons the first being a Two Jethros followed by a Swinging Priest and then a subtle Cartwheel that distracted officials from calling some obvious fouls. At the other end of the court they were busy trying to run a Nani, a Sergio Busquets and one of the biggest Bill Belichick’s you’ll ever see in the con game today however, only the Nani proved successful with officials refusing to buy into the 66’ers offensive antics.
A lopsided foul count against the Pirates also failed to help the rum-filled renegades and while the Pirates could not deny that they were fouling their opponents, the 66’ers got away with some obvious contact inside and out of the paint. Some of that paint was later transferred to the left-side of Pirates captain Daniel Lillicrap who went flying in the third quarter while trying to stop Damian Banwell (9 points) from getting to the hoop.
Things went from bad to worse when Ben Roberts (2 points) rolled his ankle in the third quarter and midway through the fourth, Frank Fernandez was fouled-out giving away a silly foul in the 66’ers backcourt. What was a contest up until this point was now a foregone conclusion as the Pirates had no way to stop the flow of easy buckets with just four players on the court.
Struggling to post points the Pirates were always going to fall behind their opponents but keeping hope alive was forward Brett Butler who delivered 16 of the Pirates 23 points. For the 66’ers Michael Jusay (9 points) seemed to be in the right place at the right time while regular scorers like Curtis Lasarevic (2 points) and Anthony Tomic (2 points) were kept quiet.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, there was no Susan B. Anthony waiting for them at the end of the game, only the satisfaction of knowing they had fought hard and had given themselves every reasonable chance at causing an upset.
Club management can only hope that this tenacity lasts next week when they take on Ruff ‘N Ready at the Treasure Dome.