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Essex Leopards' Tom Martin set to face former Bradford Dragons side
ESSEX Leopards’ Tom Martin will be facing his former side when Bradford Dragons visit the Basildon Sporting Village on Sunday.
Leopards will be looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s shock National Cup exit at the hands London Lituanica.
But Martin knows Bradford will be difficult opponents.
“Bradford are a very organised and well-drilled team that play behind a tough, in your face defensive philosophy,” said Martin, who made his first Leopards start against Lituanica.
“They will be a tough team to play against as they have a good core group of players with Bobby Edmunds, Rihard Sulcs and Vance Silcott, who have all been with the club over the past three years.
“Chris Mellor will also have the team amped up and ready for Sunday straight from the tip.”
The Dragons, who rely heavily on the city’s Eastern European population, have made a good start to their second season in Division One, winning Group B of the National Trophy with five wins from six games.
The only real disappointment for Mellor’s side was a 68-61 home loss against Leeds Carnegie in the National Cup.
The Big Cats’ trip to Bradford last season saw them suffer their heaviest loss of the campaign – a 110-77 defeat.
But they bounced back the following day to defeat the Dragons 86-66 in the National Cup quarter-final. Leopards also won 82-66 at Basildon when the sides met in the return league game.
But they go in to the latest showdown having suffered mixed fortunes in their two matches last weekend.
And that frustrated Martin.
“I thought Saturday at Worthing was a great team performance and we showed how we can step our defence as a team,” he said.
“Sunday was a very disappointing loss for us as we are out of the cup.
“We couldn’t seem to pull away more than five or six points and when the game was there for the taking, the other team wanted it more
“However we can’t dwell on the loss and must stay together as a team and learn from it.
“That starts this weekend when we will be wanting to get back to winning ways and play much better too.”
Sunday’s match at the Sporting Village tips off at 4pm. Tickets prices have been set at £6 adults, £4 juniors and £16 for a family of two adults and two children.