Final Score: Worcester Wolves 76 Durham Wildcats 82
THE Durham Wildcats kick-started their new BBL campaign with a bang as they grabbed their first victory - winning a nail-biting game away from the Newton Aycliffe faithful.
Durham ran out 82-76 winners in their opening match on Friday against the Worcester Wolves, which saw the new faces of Wildcat basketball finally on the court.
Dave Elderkin's team played a brand of basketball which showed everyone that the Wildcats are looking to compete in this eagerly anticipated BBL season.
Durham once again recruited many new faces, such as Mike Balderelli, who propelled play-caller Elderkin's side to victory by scoring 24 points, with 18 of the total coming from the three-point line.
The game was well contested throughout the first two quarters, Worcester having a narrow lead at the half.
But when Durham came out in the third, the game was all about them as they recorded an 8-0 burst on the way to leading 56-51 with just the final quarter to go.
The match was level at 67-67 midway through the fourth, but Elderkin's side managed to turn up the heat and propel the Wildcats to their first away win.
"The guys demonstrated that they are in great shape. They just worked and worked and the results of their efforts are there for all to see," said Elderkin.
He was keen to state last year that Durham would succeed and be competitive at this level and with the determination shown by the Wildcats much speculation was quickly carried into their next weekend fixture against the Glasgow Rocks.
However, Durham had no time rest and were quickly back up north to host the fired-up Rocks and were well beaten 92-82, the Rocks taking advantage of having an extra day's rest.
"It was hard for us playing on the Saturday then having to play the next day," said Elderkin.
"Glasgow played well, but our guys put great effort in and there were way more positives than negatives."
Elderkin was quick to praise the new signings of Baldarelli and Andrew Keister and has high hopes for Durham to push for the end-of-season play-offs.
The victory leaves Durham up and running in the BBL Championship with a weekend break coming up, in which the Durham coach is looking to focus on the fitness of this new-look Wildcat squad.