British Wheelchair Basketball volunteer and dedicated fan of the sport, Dylan Cummings reviews the action from the first day of National Championships 2018.
Premier League Semi-Finals
The first semi-final saw undefeated Sheffield Steelers take on league newcomers RGK Tees Valley Titans. Steelers continued their campaign by outscoring the opposition 18-6 in the first quarter and done so throughout the remainder of the game which ended in a 76-41 victory for the Sheffield side, despite the shooting efforts of Jon Hall, Jude Hamer, Liam Fawcett and Richard Sargent. George Bates was top scorer with 23 points.
The next semi-final saw GLL & Aspire London Titans face The Owls, both teams got off to a slow start and the quarter scores were fairly even (12-13, 8-14, 10-13 and 6-12). The Owls’ Martin Edwards topped the charts with 16 points which helped secure a 52-36 win. However, the London side didn’t give up till the final buzzer as both Christy Gregan and Tyler Saunders had 10 points each.
The third division classification deciders started off with North champions RGK Tees Valley Titans taking on South East winners Sussex Bears. It was a neck-and-neck battle as Sussex edged ahead in the first quarter only for the Titans to pull it back in the second. Both teams kept the score line equal in the third but Tees Valley secured the 51-43 win at the final buzzer.
South West champions Thames Valley Kings fought Central champions Sheffield Steelers with Kings establishing a lead in the first half. The Barker brothers Liam and Reece picked up 19 points each. Steelers tried to seek redemption through youngsters like Matty Wilson (10pts) and Jared Ryan (13pts) but the damage by Kings had already been done as they won, 50-45.
CWSC Panthers battled South winners Essex Outlaws. The Newton brothers (James and Stuart, Outlaws) were no match for the Beattie brothers (David and James, Panthers.) The Scottish duo racked up a total of 57 points between them. David with 25pts and James with 32pts, securing Panthers with a 69-43 victory.
North champions The Owls showcased their dominance against Blackhawks through the likes of Jonathan Dunn (17pts) and Stephen Rainey (28pts), ending 69-15.
Sheffield Steelers took on GLL & Aspire London Titans in a slow paced game to begin with. However, the later stages were intense as rising star Lee Fryer finished the game with 26 points followed by Titans’ Chris Weeks (18pts) and Liam Baskett (14pts) However, the hometown side got the 66-55 win.
CWSC Panthers v The Bears was hotly contested as it was a basket-for-basket battle. Bears’ Daniel Gill was top scorer with 26 points and his teammates Ben Haigh and Jacob Robinson had 14 points each. Panthers captain Nathaniel Pattinson hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third which contributed to his 14-point total. The Beattie brothers once again showed their class as David had 16 points and James had 15. Chris Greenhalgh’s free throws sealed Panthers’ entry into the final by 1-point, 63-62.
CWBA faced Vixens as GB’s Joy Haizelden (29) and Jude Hamer (25) picked up a total of 54 points between them which heavily played into Coventry’s 80-24 victory.
Angels of the North played Sheffield Steelers in what was a close game for the first half however, GB athletes; Amy Conroy (25pts), Laurie Williams (8pts) and Robyn Love (16pts) helped the Angels steamroll ahead, securing a 55-29 win.
Junior League Final
As a result of Elite 8’s CWBA faced Sheffield Steelers in the final. The game was fairly even for the first half. Although CWBA forged ahead in the later stages as Peter Cusack continued to add to his 22-point. Coventry picked up junior league gold after a 54-41 win.
Premier League Bronze
It was the clash of the Titans as London took on Tees Valley. Points were spread across the floor from both teams from the get go. Christy Gregan and Liam Fawcett were top scorers for their respective Titans teams with 16 points apiece. London used their 20-8 first quarter advantage to aid them the rest of the game as they were able to pick up a 68-55 win.
Premier League Final
The pinnacle of British Wheelchair Basketball saw defending champions The Owls look to un-seed Sheffield Steelers. The first quarter saw Owls up by three but Steelers weren’t going to fall at the final hurdle and pushed forward by securing a 22-point victory, winning 75-53 to cap off day one. George Bates was top scorer with 22 points and Philip Pratt had 19 assists.