Historic end to Spencer's career

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 July, 1998, 12:00am

For an athlete who is going to undergo knee surgery next month and was playing his last match as a professional, Wide Way Textile's retiring centre John Spencer bowed out in style.

Spencer produced one of his best games of the season to play a pivotal part in Wide Way's 85-80 victory over Seapower in the final of yesterday's Henderson Cup.

The giant American netted 25 points at the Southorn Stadium to become the only player to win five straight Henderson Cups.

'That's it. I'm not going to play after this,' said the 32-year-old, who also won three titles with Energy and one with Winling.

'We played good as a team. We tried to play as a team and not to play too selfishly. We had 10 heroes instead of five,' said Spencer, who will undergo knee surgery on August 14 before concentrating on his new career in sports management.

Wayman Strickland said he would miss his teammate. 'It's quite an achievement for him to win five Super Cups. He has been one of my better friends,' he said.

Anders Pitts top-scored for Wide Way with 34 points while Strickland, who was not named Most Valuable Player in the tournament for the first time in four years, contributed 23 points.

Seapower started off the better of the two but failed to maintain their form as Wide Way gradually bridged a 13-2 gap to level at 15-15.

Wide Way pulled away to a 42-37 first-half lead and won the match in the last quarter when they came good in the free-throw department.

Strickland nailed 10 of his 12 free throws after Seapower conceded a string of fouls which cost them the game.

'We played good defence and offence and we kept up the tempo,' said Strickland.

The Most Valuable Player award went to Seapower's Michael Cumberland - the first time it had gone to a player from a losing team.

Cumberland scored 28 points and was an ever-present threat at the back boards, making fine blocks and interceptions.