British Wheelchair Basketball National League Review: February 2019
The eight universities have been confirmed for the finals on March 9th, they are; Brunel, Cardiff Met, East London, Hull, Northumbria, Nottingham, Sheffield Hallam and Worcester.
In the North, North Wales Knights II have continued their winning streak from last month picking up three wins, against Wakefield Whirlwinds II (42-30) against Glasgow Rocks II in a one-point (64-63) nail-biter and finally (48-30) against Vikings. The Rocks were able to rebound from the loss by picking up a (62-28) win over Bolton Bulls. Elsewhere in the league, Manchester Mavericks II secured the (39-27) victory against Calerdale who also lost (36-22) to Bolton Bulls.
In Central, RGK Tees Valley Titans IIII have made some changes to their squad which allowed them to pick up a (42-22) win versus Derby Wheelblazers, however, they did lose (65-50) to Sheffield Steelers V. In other fixtures, Stoke Spitfires suffered a heavy (64-28) loss to Birmingham Phoenix.
In the South East, Brunel Bulls were defeated by the top two teams, Frenford Falcons (77-13) and High Rollers (66-17). Both of those teams met this month and it was the Rollers who came out on top (59-45). Blackhawks II picked up a comfortable (55-9) over SportAble Rockets but suffered a close (39-35) loss to Tornados II who lost earlier in the month to Brixton Ballers (52-36). Both teams would be in action again as Blackhawks lost to the Rollers (48-23) and Tornados would see off the Rockets (60-12).
In the South West, Thames Valley Kings II secured their first win of the season by beating Gloucester Blazers (58-24), Blazers were also defeated by Hampshire Harriers (44-20). Cardiff Met Archers beat Worcester Wolves (59-50) in a close game.
In the North, much their Division 3 team North Wales Knights I picked up three victories (58-54) against Wakefield Whirlwinds I and twice against Lothian Phoenix (53-34) and (54-40). Phoenix also suffered loses (65-30) to Sheffield Steelers IIII and (59-29) to Lancaster Bulldogs who are now 7-0. RGK Tees Valley Titans II picked up the (65-47) win over Steelers IIII.
In the South, Sussex Bears suffered two losses, first versus Sparrows (55-42) and second versus Thames Valley Kings I (52-41.) Kings also picked up a win against Sparrows (57-53.) Other developments in the league included London Titans III beating Plymouth Raiders (58-50) and Sparrows (39-36). Aces handed a heavy defeat to The Bears II (77-40) only for them to pick up a big (80-37) over the Raiders.
In the North, Glasgow Rocks I competed in two close matches, suffering a (49-44) loss to Sheffield Steelers II but they were able to pick up a (61-59) win over Northern Ireland Knights. Manchester Mavericks I comfortable saw off Jaguars I (70-33).
In the South, Blackhawks I have been unlucky by suffering losses against CWBA II (58-31) and Tornados I (57-38.) Other fixtures included Exeter Otters going 9-0 by beating Tornados (69-51). London Titans II beating CWBA II (65-58) in a close game and Swindon Shock picking up their first win of the season (44-34) versus Leicester Cobras I.
In Division 3, Wakefield Whirlwinds sit comfortably at the top of the table with a 7-0 win/loss record, likewise with Blackhawks in Division 2 with a 5-0 record.
In Division 1, both Sheffield Steelers and Vixens have jumped ahead of the Angels of the North by securing dominant wins over them in the second round whilst the reigning champions, CWBA are the favourites to retain the championship.
Sheffield Steelers picked up wins over Vixens (52-22) and Angels of the North (74-25) before losing to CWBA (58-40.) CWBA continued their dominance with a (63-32) win over Vixens who were able to regroup by beating the Angels (47-39).
London Titans picked up a two-point win over CWBA (66-64) after a clutch buzzer beater from Ade Adepitan whist top of the table Sheffield Steelers went 9-0 after a dominant (80-30) win over RGK Tees Valley Titans.
The OWLS competed in the IWBF Champions League Preliminaries this month in Weltzlar, Germany. They came away with a win and three losses but done enough to qualify for EuroLeague 2 in Italy at the end of April.
In their first game they faced Spanish League champions, BSR AMIAB Albacete and were defeated (86-54) as they couldn’t find an answer for the lightning offence of Kyle Marsh. However, Jack Perry dropped 20pts closely followed by Martin Edwards on 19pts whilst Billy Bridge racked up nine rebounds and seven assists.
Later that day the fought against the hosts RSV Lahn-Dill and suffered a respectable (64-51) loss as they pushed the home team to the limit with Martin Edwards hitting 18pts and Jack Perry with 12 rebounds.
On day two they were defeated by the French side Hornets Le Cannet (69-61) with Billy Bridge scoring 21 points and Jack Perry with 10 rebounds.
However, they did pick up a (77-61) win against Italy’s GSD Porto Torres allowing them to qualify for EuroLeague 2 as all-star, Martin Edwards achieved a double-double with 32pts and 14 rebounds as well as Billy Bridge with 12 assists.
Although their results may not look good on paper, The OWLS put British basketball on the map and proved that they belong in the Champions League.
Text: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Dave Dunbar