Portsmouth Fury have endured a week of highs and lows, writes Tom Bonnett.
Overall it was a good win but it was a scrappy and ugly game at timesAndrew Goodale
However, the Wykeham Sports Club side took revenge on Sunday night when they knocked Fury out of the Solent Men’s Cup.
That tie finished in a comprehensive 96-67 triumph for the Royals.
The first encounter – at Portsmouth Grammar School – proved to be a scrappy encounter.
The sides met on three occasions last season – with the Portsmouth side enjoying a hat-trick, including victory in the Solent Intermediate Cup final.
But the Fury’s dominance over their fellow top-flight newcomers was in doubt as early as the warm-up on Wednesday when star player Antonio Santoro cut his hand while attempting a dunk.
He had to miss the opening quarter – but was quick to return in the second.
Despite Santoro’s absence, the Fury built a double-digit lead in the early skirmishes.
And they carried that momentum into the second quarter, with a barrage of three-pointers helping them pull away.
But Winchester refused to lay down and bullied their hosts around the basket to reduce the deficit to two points by half-time.
The second half was a close encounter – with both teams playing tough defence.
Santoro stepped up to the occasion and made a tough lay-up with nine seconds remaining to give the Fury a two-point lead.
Winchester missed their last chance to save the game and the Portsmouth outfit celebrated a second league win of the season.
Fury captain Andrew Goodale said: ‘Overall it was a good win but it was a scrappy and ugly game at times.
‘We beat them in every game last season but injuries meant this time we only had two of last season’s starting five.
‘With that in mind, it was a good result.’
The Fury then travelled to Winchester in the quarter-finals of the Solent Men’s Cup on Sunday.
But this time they were unable to contain the Royals’ physical forwards – with a string of fouls costing them dearly.
Goodale was ejected from the game in the third quarter and had to watch the remainder of the tie from the sidelines.
He added: ‘We weren’t getting many foul calls and it affected the players.
‘They basically outmuscled us and utilised the physical nature of the game the referees allowed.’