Chelmsley Wood-based basketball outfit Birmingham Knights began their inaugural season in the toughest possible way on Saturday evening: a trip to defending champions Leicester Riders.
A promising first quarter - in which American star Brent Benson made history by scoring the Knights’ first ever points - saw the buzzer sound at 26 - 20 to the home side.
As play resumed, however, the Riders began to show the class that ensures they will be title contenders against this year.
Led by Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan and free-scoring Texan Jay Cousinard, the Riders had a clear lead by half-time which they never looked like surrendering. The final score was Leicester Riders 90 - 56 Birmingham Knights.
Speaking after the game, Knights’ head coach Paul Douglas said: “We looked a little bit shell shocked. We did alright in the first quarter, only six points down, and then all of a sudden the Riders put on a little bit of pressure and we did nothing we’d been working on.
“We are not a 56 point team. Even against the champions we should put 20 points on top of that but we have to do what we practise.”
The Knights next face Newcastle Eagles, away, on Friday, October 11. The team’s first home game will be against One Health Sharks Sheffield on Saturday, October 12.