The Bolton Bulls wheelchair basketball club provides wheelchair basketball to people of all ages, disabilities and gender from all over the North West of England including Bolton, Bury, Blackburn, Wigan and Stockport.
Today’s match saw Bolton Bulls host Derby Wheelblazers in the return fixture of the 54-10 defeat inflicted on the Bulls when they visited Derby a few weeks ago. With a full squad available this time, hopes were high for at the very least making the match a closer affair.
Prior to tip-off both teams participated in a minutes applause in memory of Manchester Mavericks coach Josie Cichockyj who died recently after a short illness. The applause was respected by both sides and all spectators present.
Bolton started with a 5 on court of Dale Speight, Andy Golightly, Tom Eckersley, Graeme Lambert & Steve Aston. The first quarter started with a series of fouls leading to free throws being taken by both teams, Tom Eckersley scores a total of 4 points from a total of 6 available from the free-throw line. The first quarter ended with Bolton Bulls behind by 15 points to 4.
The second quarter started with Darren Birch taking to the court to replace Steve Aston in what proved to be a fast and furious ten minutes on court. The pattern which had been set in the first continued into the 2nd with the Bulls struggling to convert chances into baskets whilst Derby Wheelblazers used their superior height to its best advantage taking the half time score to Bolton Bulls 6, Derby Wheelblazers 27.
After a team-talk and a chance to change emphasis, Bolton Bulls brought on Chris Oakes-Courchene and Dave Hughes at the break to replace Graeme Lambert and Dale Speight. Things improved slightly with the change but Derby continued to have the upper hand once again predominantly due to their rebounding performance and much improved shooting percentage. The 3rd quarter ended with Derby Wheelblazers very much in the ascendancy leading by 45 points to Bolton Bulls 14.
The final quarter began with Steve Aston replacing Darren Birch and Michael Galligan coming in for his first minutes of the game replacing Andy Golightly. Galligan quickly got into the action by fouling Wheelblazers #9 preventing a certain basket, luckily for Bolton he was only able to convert one of the 2 resulting free throws.
The final buzzer sounded giving Derby Wheelblazers a resounding victory by 55 points to Bolton Bulls 22. From a Bolton perspective, everyone worked hard and it just wasn’t to be on the day. Thanks to Derby for participating in what was an enjoyable game.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the readers of the Bolton News from everybody at Bolton Bulls Wheelchair Basketball Team.