After their defeat less than 24 hours earlier it was essential that Thunder got back to winning ways if they were to maintain their challenge for a home-spot in the post season play-offs and an assured performance saw them notch up a 81-73 victory at Barking Abbey.


Although the home side edged the first quarter finishing 16-14 ahead, the lead frequently changed hands in the second period until a late rally by the visitors saw them win the second session 23 -15 to go into the locker room with a 6 point advantage. After the break Thunder’s experience began to dominate the match with Thunder extending their lead to as much as 16 points in the fourth quarter at 74-58.


Barking however were not prepared to give the game up and twice got back to within 6 points in the last three minutes of the match. Nevertheless, Thunder were not be outdone and four late free throws (2 each from AJ Basi and Alex Owumi) saw Thunder home by an 8 point margin to pick up another valuable win (81-73).


After the weekends’ matches Thunder now lie equal fourth in the league with Thames Valley Cavaliers both with a 10 and 4 record 2 points behind and both 2 games in hand on third-placed Reading Rockets (11-5). Second-placed Hemel Storm are 4 points ahead (12-3) having played one more match then Thunder and Cavaliers. Solent are top with an unbeaten 15-0 record.


Thunder scorers:- Alex Owumi (27 points); Zaire Taylor (17 points); AJ Basi and Dominic Ives (12 points each); Tom Ward (7 points) and Cameron Hildreth (6 points)


The Met office had warned about the likely impending damage that could be caused by storm Brendon but it was a different Brendan – in the guise of former Thunder player Brendon Okoronkwo – who caused most of the harm when Thunder made the relatively short trip along the coast last Saturday to Solent Kestrels where the home side that came out comfortable winners by 98-76 in a rehearsal for the forthcoming BBL Cup quarter-final.


Thunder, missing Dominic Ives, hit the first points of the match to go into a short-lived 3-0 lead and again at 5-2, but Kestrels stormed back with a 19-0 run to find themselves ahead by 16 points at 21-5. Matters did not get any easier for Thunder in the first period after Alex Owumi picked up two early fouls in the first two minutes and then with just a minute and half of the first period to play a further foul on his return to court after having been substituted out. At the first interval Thunder trailed by 12 and by the end of the second period Solent had increased their lead to an unassailable 25 point advantage.


With Owumi in foul trouble and Thunder not having the best of evenings with their shooting from the field hitting only 36% of their attempts, by the end of the third quarter the home side had racked up a 35 point advantage at 85-50. Although Thunder pulled back the deficit winning the last quarter 26 -13 it was Solent who came out fully deserving of their victory. Thunder will no doubt wish to ensure they turn in a more assured performance when Solent come visiting in the BBL Quarter-Final.


And Solent’s own “storm” Brendan ?…. well he racked up a very impressive 17 points and 16 rebounds to go with his 3 assists and 3 steals.


Thunder’s scorers : Cameron Hildreth (21 points); Alex Owumi (13 points); Tom Ward (12 points) ; Zaire Taylor (11 points); AJ Basi and Ishmael Fontaine (8 points); Nick Ballone (3 points)