Phoenix are bitten by Wolves at home

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Wellingborough Phoenix saw their EBL Division Three play-off campaign end at the first hurdle as they were beaten 96-83 by Warrington Wolves.

An excellent final quarter was not enough to claw back the deficit that had been built up over the first three periods of the game as the Wolves held on to go through.

Having finished the regular season second in the South Division to secure home advantage, Phoenix went into the game full of confidence against the side which finished third in the North Division.

But Wolves had other ideas and took control in the first quarter, which they won 20-11.

Wellingborough needed to hit back in the second period but found the Warrington defence in determined mood while their attackers continued to score regularly.

Wolves took the period 25-16 to lead by 18 at half-time and leave Phoenix with a mountain to climb after the break.

Phoenix knew they needed the third quarter to go their way if they were to entertain serious ideas of a comeback.

But once again, Warrington had a bit extra in the tank and took the period 22-15 to leave Phoenix with an impossible task of clawing back a 25-point deficit in the final period.

It was always asking too much but the home side battled to the end and scored nearly as many points in one quarter as they had in the rest of the match overall.

But in the process, Gary Burton and Devon Adams both fouled out and Warrington were always able to keep them at arms length.

And although Phoenix won the period 41-29, it was not enough and Wolves will now face North Division winners Manchester Magic in the semi-finals on Saturday, while Wellingborough can look forward to another season in Division Three (South) next season.

However, on the basis of their showing this season, they will go into next year’s campaign full of confidence that they can be genuine promotion contenders again next year.

Daniel Turricki top-scored for Phoenix with 22 points while Leon Henry had 12 and James Rutter 11.

Peter Arden top-scored for Warrington with 22 points, supported by Delme Herriman (13) and James Steer (11).