Rakvere Tarvas has stunned more fancied opponents to win the BBL Cup on Sept. 29. The traditional precursor tournament to the Baltic-wide Baltic Basketball League sees the hosts invite one team from each of the other three Baltic countries to compete for the Cup in a format that sees each team square off against one of the other three teams on Friday, with the two winners then competing for gold on Saturday. This year’s hosts, Tarvas, were joined in Estonia by last year’s regular season BBL winners, Siauliai from Lithuania, Liepajas Lauvas from Latvia, and fellow Estonian club TU/Rock. Despite only last season featuring in the BBL’s second-tier competition, the Challenge Cup, Tarvas never looked out of their depth in day one action, easily disposing of Estonian rivals TU/Rock, 90-84. Despite the closeness of the final scoreline, Tarvas was in control throughout, with a big final quarter required from Rock to make the scoreline remotely close. In the second quarter-final, perennial underachievers, the Lauvas, shocked Siauliai by also winning by a six-point margin, 82-76. The game followed a similar scenario to the first semi with the final scoreline a misleading indication of just how one-sided the game had been. In Sunday’s bronze medal playoff game, Siauliai once more failed to fire and found themselves on the wrong side of a 101-60 thumping at the hands of Rock. In the tournament’s grand finale, Tarvas sent the fans home smiling, disposing of the Lauvas, 80-71, on the back of a dominant third quarter.
Dinamo Riga has experienced mixed fortunes in September in another traditionally slow start to their KHL season, winning just three of their 10 games in the month of September. Beginning the season on a three-game road trip, Dinamo Riga returned home with just two points, following a 3-2 shootout win over league newcomers, Slovan, on Sept. 8. It was not until their fifth outing, at home on Sept. 15, when Pekka Rautakallio’s men were able to record their first win in regular time, defeating Metalurg Novokuznetsk 3-1. Returning to Arena Riga two evenings later, the men in maroon were able to make it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 victory over Amur. However, since going back on the road following their victory over Amur, further wins have proved hard to come by with just one more forthcoming in the final four games of the month, when the Riga-based club ended September with a 5-4 victory at home over Spartak on Sept. 28. Martins Karsums and Miks Indrasis have been the shining lights for Dinamo Riga, setting each other up for 15 points. Karsums has had four goals and four assists, whilst Indrasis has chipped in with three goals and four assists.
I would like to take this moment to thank all the regular The Baltic Times sports news readers over the past 18 months. It has been a pleasure in first creating a sports page in this newspaper and then providing exclusive English-language sports coverage of all three Baltic States. The Baltics have a proud sporting heritage and it has given me an immense sense of pride reporting on the feats of Baltic athletes for the past three years, and exclusively for The Baltic Times print edition since February 2011. Some of my highlights whilst working here included reporting on Estonia’s almost historic berth at this year’s European football championship; Latvian Martins Dukurs’ record breaking skeleton season last winter; Estonian Kaia Kanepi’s dream 2012 tennis season; Lithuanian wunderkind Jonas Valanciunas leading Lithuania to glory at the 2011 U19 FIBA World Championship in Latvia; and Latvian Maris Strombergs’ defense of his gold medal in men’s BMX at the London 2012 Olympics. However, it has now come time for me to leave the Baltics and move onto the (hopefully) greener pastures of Germany. I can only hope that Baltic sports and The Baltic Times continue to flourish following my departure.