A triumphant weekend of wheelchair basketball at the 2018 Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships
On Sunday 5th August the North West U19 Squad lifted their first Lord’s Taverners Junior Championship Winner Cups since 2014, whilst the South East Team retained the U15 title for a second consecutive year.
A weekend of back-to-back wheelchair basketball played out at the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August. Junior athletes from across England and the Home Countries travelled to Worcester to compete in the highly regarded Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships.
The annual tournament sees junior wheelchair basketball players compete in two categories (U15 & U19) having been selected to represent their region.
The Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships boasts an impressive legacy of current and past GB athletes and is seen as a crucial phase of the elite player development pathway. Many of the regional teams at this year’s tournament included players currently training with the GB programme.
The U19 gold medal clash on Sunday 5th August saw an undefeated North West side face a strong Scottish squad. Ultimately the win was claimed by the northern team in an impressive final score 24-16.
The title game for the U15 group played out with two undefeated squads, Wales and the South East facing off in the final; the exact rematch of the 2017 gold medal game. However, it was not to be Wales year as the South East delivered a 30-14 win.
Courtside watching the action unfold was British Wheelchair Basketball’s new CEO, Lisa Pearce who commented:
“This is my first experience of the Lord’s Taverner’s Junior Championships and quite simply I could not be more impressed – the incredible atmosphere in the arena, the passionate support of the fans, and the true sportsmanship exhibited by each and every athlete.
“This tournament encapsulates exactly what makes wheelchair basketball such a phenomenal sport and experience. Each and every athlete playing this weekend earned their place on their team and they represented their region with grit and pride. Congratulations to all who competed and thank you to their support teams for all the hard work behind the scenes.”
Representing the Lord’s Taverners at the tournament was Trustee Ruth FitzSimons who shared Lisa’s sentiment and added:
“Our work with British Wheelchair Basketball and its Junior Development Programme creates opportunities for young people to be introduced to the sport through skills camps and wheelchair donations, both of which help with their progression into the Junior League and then through the pathway to these Junior Championships.
“It is an honour to watch the drive of these junior players as they compete for the Junior Championships Titles. I have now been a guest at a number of Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships and have personally watched players return year on year, progressing from the U15 to U19 categories. This tournament truly shows the opportunities for junior athletes to compete at all levels of this sport, and how it brings players together from across the nation.”
U15s Most Improved Player: Liam Barker (South East)
U19s Most Improved Player: Niamh Horan (North West)
Peter Jackson Male Player of the Year: Fin Tonner (North West)
Peter Jackson Female Player of the Year: Anastasia Blease (Wales)
Jean Radcliffe Award: Oliver Griffith-Salter (Wales)
Full match report by BWB Communications Volunteer – Dylan Cummings