Kendal Warriors 58
Preston Pride 91
National Founders Cup

Without the services of key players, Gareth France’s depleted side endured a testing evening as National Founders Cup holders Preston inflicted defeat on Kendal at Queen Katherine School.

A challenging task was made more difficult as injury and unavailability prevented the Warriors fielding starting centre Kevin Mason as well as regular player Tom Withnell.

More positive news saw the return to action of Mathias Basedow following three months with a broken finger, as Robin Littlewood was called-up from the youth ranks.

Despite Preston not losing a game in this competition for more than two years, Kendal created early scoring opportunities with Philip Mason initiating a number of fast breaks.

While the Warriors were able to apply pressure and stifle the Preston shooters, the home side were guilty of not converting loose ball rebounds.

This allowed the visitors to pick up easy points around the basket and coupled with a failure to finish well-worked offensive moves, Kendal trailed 29-19 at the end of the first quarter.

France continued to cause the Preston defence problems in the second quarter, with his penetrative play helping the hosts accumulate points.

However, Preston engineered ways to move the ball quickly to open shooters – even when opportunities were missed teammates crashed in for put-backs – as their advantage was extended.

With Kon Arfanis the only recognised substitute, Kendal’s lack of experience on the bench was beginning to show as Preston had quality in reserve, establishing a 50-33 lead at the halfway stage.

Appearing more invigorated, Kendal displayed a more aggressive approach in the third quarter, particular in respect of rebounding, with Mike Smith and Phil Mason leading the way.

Basedow and Keith McInnes were having a greater influence in an attacking sense, driving to the basket and finishing consistently, as the pair combined for ten points in the quarter.

With fatigue becoming a factor, mistakes started creeping into Kendal’s game, with Mason and Basedow forced to leave the game with cramp.

Smith was fouled out of proceedings as Littlewood made his first appearance of the season, injecting much-needed energy into a tiring Kendal, although Preston ultimately ran out comfortable winners.

G France 26, M Basedow 14, K McInnes 10, M Smith 3, P Mason 3, K Arfanis 2, R Littlewood 0