With a place in the semi-finals of the Manchester Amateur Basketball League at stake, Tameside drew first blood while Bury struggled to get into their stride.

With seven minutes gone in the first quarter Bury only had two points, but with the visitors only managing to score seven, some good defensive play allowed the hosts to stay in touch. Baskets by Chris and Phil Stainton, veteran Stu Jackson and Kin Ming saw Bury end the quarter 12-9 ahead.

Bury struggled in the second quarter as Tameside’s guard hit 14 consecutive points. A three by Mike Nichols and baskets by the Stainton brothers gave Bury some hope as both teams traded baskets with neither gaining an advantage. With 32 seconds remaining before half time, Nichols hit a three-pointer for Bury as the hosts trailed 30-29.

The hosts started the second half in a zone, but Tameside moved the ball well and hit three baskets from long range. The momentum swung in the home team’s favour in a two-minute spell as Phil Stainton hit three long-range shots and Nichols contributed four further baskets as Bury took an eight-point lead. Elliot Smith and Ergoli Togo kept the visitors at bay as Bury led by nine points going into the final quarter.

Togo and Smith converted for Bury while the defence stifled Tameside as the hosts held on to win 69-62.

Coach Mike Nichols said: “We really struggled in the first half, finding very little consistency.

“I felt in the second half Tameside made us step up. This was a grind it out kind of game, physical and just what we needed.”

This weekend, Bury play Chorlton in the semi-finals.