This month’s league review features all the British Wheelchair Basketball action from April and May including National League, Junior League, Women’s League, EuroLeague and Playoff Predictions. Rollt would like to dedicate this league review edition in memory of Colin Ilic who sadly passed away on May 12th. May you rest in peace.
In the North, RGK Tees Valley Titans III and North Wales Knights II have had good showings Titans III saw off Calderdale (54-29), Wakefield Whirlwinds II (59-53) and North East Warriors (49-32) whereas Knights II defeated Bolton Bulls (67-8) and Calderdale twice (67-29) and (74-12) Manchester Mavericks II picked up wins against Vikings (40-31) and Bulls (28-27) but were defeated by Warriors (47-15.) Whirlwinds beat Warriors (42-40.) Glasgow Rocks II secured promotion with big victories over Knights II (53-41) and Vikings (56-33.)
In Central, Birmingham Phoenix gained promotion following big wins over RGK Tees Valley Titans IIII (55-20) and Sheffield Steelers V (61-54.) Wolverhampton comfortably beat Leicester Cobras II (85-25) and Titans IIII (43-18.) Steelers V scored two victories, first against Derby Wheelblazers (64-18) and secondly versus Wolverhampton (55-49.) The Bears III picked up two wins, (50-38) up against Stoke Spitfires and (50-34) versus Titans IIII.
In the South East, Tornados II were conquered by High Rollers (62-30) and Frenford Falcons twice (69-28) and (61-17.) London Titans IIII easily defeated Brunel Bulls (45-20) but lost to Tornados II (51-31.) Blackhawks II saw off SportAble Rockets (55-19), Brixton Ballers (47-45) and Titans IIII (49-41.)
In the South West, Cardiff Met Archers beat CWBA III (43-32) but they had their undefeated streak broken by Swansea Storm who beat them (40-38) Storm also defeated CWBA III (38-23.) Thames Valley Kings II suffered three losses, first to Hampshire Harriers (54-25), secondly to CWBA III (43-25) and thirdly to Archers (67-10.) Worcester Wolves defeated county rivals Gloucester Blazers (57-36) who also lost to CWBA III (42-20.)
In the North, Lancaster Bulldogs and North Wales Knights I remained in top form. Bulldogs defeated Sheffield Steelers IIII in a (56-51), Jaguars II (68-28) and Wakefield Whirlwinds I (58-56.) RGK Tees Valley Titans II picked up another three victories, against Lothian Phoenix (63-33), Whirlwinds I (64-55) and Newcastle Eagles (62-34) Steelers IIII and Whirlwinds I were able to regroup. Steelers IIII secured two hefty wins over Eagles (71-46) and (64-35.) Whirlwinds I saw off Phoenix (67-52) and Steelers IIII (62-41.) Knights I scored a monumental (82-8) victory over Jaguars II.
In the South, Norwich Lowriders have been really unlucky suffering five loses, first to The Bears II (56-20), twice to Plymouth Raiders (55-46) and (81-55), thirdly to London Titans III (56-33) and finally to Sparrows (51-48.) Bears II continued their success as they beat Titans III (60-40) and Sparrows twice (79-38) and (58-47.) Aces have also been successful as they defeated Titans III twice (65-32) and (69-45) as well as Sussex Bears (71-39.) Thames Valley Kings I finished the regular season strong with a big (70-59) victory over Sparrows.
In the North, Northern Ireland Knights won the division after beating Manchester Mavericks twice (58-57) and (51-49) as well as defeating OWLS II (63-43.) OWLS II beat Mavericks I (57-56) and Sheffield Steelers II (61-54) but lost to Jaguars I (49-47) narrowly missing out on the playoffs.
In the South, Exeter Otters remain on top of the southern mountain with two big wins, (66-16) over Swindon Shock and (71-59) versus London Titans II, however, they did lose to CWBA II (58-33.) Sheffield Steelers III comfortably beat Blackhawks I twice (83-36) and (75-26.) Leicester Cobras I suffered three losses, first to Blackhawks (58-42), secondly to CWBA II (60-26) and thirdly to Tornados I (56-23.) Titans II secured two big wins over Tornados I (74-33) and Blackhawks I (83-50.)
Wakefield Whirlwinds won Division 3 whilst Blackhawks won Division 2. Each team will be promoted to the next division up next season.
In the Division 1 semi-finals, Sheffield Steelers faced Vixens and CWBA battled the Angels of the North. The Coventry side saw off the Angels (49-38) to advance to the final. Steelers beat Vixens (60-44) to ensure the war with CWBA later that evening.
Angels fought Vixens for the bronze medal and came out on top (69-34.) CWBA overcame the Steelers (55-35) to become Women’s League champions three years in a row.
Women’s League Final Standings:
Gold: CWBA (3peat)
Silver: Sheffield Steelers
Bronze: Angels of the North
JUNIOR LEAGUE – ELITE 8’S
Eight of the UK’s best junior teams did battle over the course of an action-packed weekend. Thames Valley Kings beat Jaguars (43-36) to be the first to advance to the semi-finals. Kings’ George Gray had 16 points, Liam Barker with 22 rebounds and Charlie McIntyre with six assists.
There was a Celtic clash in the second quarterfinal as North Wales Knights beat Northern Ireland (49-40.) NI’s Conn Nagle dropped 30 points whilst Peter Lewis achieved 18 rebounds. Knights’ Alex Wilson had eight assists.
In the third quarterfinal, Wakefield Whirlwinds triumphed over South West Warriors (70-62.) South West’s GB hopeful Oscar Knight scored 25 points and 11 assists. Whirlwinds’ Jared Ryan had 13 rebounds.
The fourth quarterfinal saw defending champions CWBA took on Lancaster Spinners. The Spinners came out on top (52-49) with James Beattie nailing 28 points. Coventry’s Tom Cutts had 16 rebounds and Eliot Hardman got six assists.
In the first 5th-8th classification game South West Warriors beat Northern Ireland (66-55) to advance to the 5th/6th playoff. South West’s Joel Clifton had 23 points. Both Conn Nagle and Oscar Knight gained 15 rebounds and Knight secured 13 assists.
CWBA defeated Jaguars (53-49) in the second classification game. Jag’s Matty Chafer dropped 30 points and CWBA’s Eliot Hardman had 15 rebounds and seven assists.
Jaguars went on to beat Northern Ireland to secure 7th place and South West Warriors defeated CWBA to come 5th.
In the first semi-final Lancaster Spinners comfortably beat Thames Valley Kings (65-38.) James Beattie was on fire in this game with 32 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
In the second semi-final North Wales Knights overcame Wakefield Whirlwinds in a (61-59) nail-biter. North Wales’ Luke Ravenscroft dropped 28 points whilst Alex Wilson had 10 assists. Wakefield’s Jared Ryan secured 16 rebounds.
The final was now set between Lancaster Spinners and North Wales Knights which will take place during playoffs weekend. However, the bronze medal winner still had to be determined. Wakefield Whirlwinds defeated Thames Valley Kings (58-50) with Whirlwinds’ Andrew Japes scoring 26 points and Tom Harvey with 13 assists. Kings’ George Gray had 17 rebounds.
Elite 8’s Final Standings:
Gold Medal Match: Lancaster Spinners vs. North Wales Knights (25th/26th May)
Bronze: Wakefield Whirlwinds
4th: Thames Valley Kings
5th: South West Warriors
8th: Northern Ireland
In a game that was live streamed on BBC Sport, CWBA outclassed The Bears at the University of Birmingham and picked up the (71-29) win. Later in the month, CWBA also picked up a somewhat shocking (57-53) win over The OWLS.
London Titans, The OWLS and The Bears saw off RGK Tees Valley Titans (59-35), (84-39) and (48-39.)
The Bears were defeated by London Titans (77-49.) Top scorer was Titans’ Christy Gregan with 18 points. Ade Adepitan racked up 12 assists and Tyler Saunders had six rebounds. Bears’ Dan Gill was his team’s MVP with 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
The biggest game of the season occurred this month between Sheffield Steelers and The OWLS. The OWLS arguably surprisingly came out on top (64-62.) Top scorer was Steelers’ Ben Fox with 24 points closely followed by OWLS’ Martin Edwards with 23 points. Edwards had 11 rebounds and Fox had 10. Steelers’ Harry Brown had six assists whilst OWLS’ Billy Bridge had five.
EUROLEAGUE 3 – LONDON TITANS
London Titans finished 7th in EuroLeague 3.
They were beat by Spanish hosts Vigo (72-53) with Matt Sealy scoring 16 points and two assists whilst Emmanuel Filson had 11 rebounds.
They were defeated by Turkey’s Fenerbahce (90-49.) Christy Gregan dropped 18 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.
They suffered another loss at the hands of Turkish side Izmir BSB (76-38.) Matt Sealy kept them in it with 19 points. Christy Gregan had eight rebounds and Ade Adepitan had three assists.
However, they did pick up a (64-44) win versus Austria’s RBB FlinkStones. Christy Gregan picked up 24 points and 11 rebounds whilst Ade Adepitan got six assists.
Matt Sealy received all-star five honours.
EuroLeague 3 Final Standings:
Gold: 1907 Fenerbahce EYSK (TUR)
Silver: Gazisehir Gaziantep Sport Club (TUR)
Bronze: Izmir BSB (TUR)
4th: ASD Handicap Sport Varese (ITA)
5th: Iberconsa Amfiv Vigo (ESP)
6th: Beit-Halochem Tel Aviv (ISR)
7th: London Titans (GBR)
8th: RBB Flinkstones (AUT)
EUROLEAGUE 2 – THE OWLS
The OWLS finished 5th in EuroLeague 2.
They beat KKI VRBAS from Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opening game. Jack Perry dropped 22 points, Martin Edwards achieved 12 rebounds and Billy Bridge had six assists.
They suffered a narrow (60-55) loss to Italian side Stefano. Jack Perry secured 21 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.
In another narrow defeat they lost to Italy’s Santa Lucia (69-65) Martin Edwards nailed 23 points whilst Jack Perry racked up 14 rebounds and six assists.
However, they finished the tournament on a high as they beat Nevskiy Alliance from Russia (74-51.) Martin Edwards had a dominant 29-point performance as did Jack Perry with 15 rebounds and four assists.
EuroLeague 2 Final Standings:
Gold: Mideba Extremadura (ESP)
Silver: SSD Santa Lucia (ITA)
Bronze: Ilan Ramat Gan (ISR)
4th: ASD S Stefano Sport (ITA)
5th: The OWLS (GBR)
6th: BKIS Nevskiy Alliance (RUS)
7th: KKI VRBAS Banja Luka (BIH)
8th: ASD Padova Millennium Basket (ITA)
EUROLEAGUE 1 – SHEFFIELD STEELERS
The Sheffield Steelers hosted EuroLeague 1 and finished 5th.
They started strong with a convincing (76-40) over Germany’s Koln 99ers. Tom Smith secured 24 and nine rebounds whilst Ben Fox had eight assists.
They then suffered a (74-52) loss to the eventual winners Bilbao from Spain. Tom Smith scored 16 points, Ben Fox with 11 rebounds and Harry Brown with seven assists.
The losing streak continued the next day for Steelers (75-61) against runners up Besiktas from Turkey. However, that didn’t stop Northern Irishman James MacSorley from being on fire at the top of the morning as he dropped 22 points whilst Ben Fox had 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
However, much like The OWLS they finished the tournament with a win. They defeated Spanish side Gran Canaria. Harry Brown showcased his world-class athleticism and speed by securing 25 points and 11 assists whilst Ben Fox had 12 rebounds.
EuroLeague 1 Final Standings
Gold: Bidaideak Bilbao BSR (ESP)
Silver: Besiktas JK (TUR)
Bronze: Le Cannet (FRA)
4th: Galatasaray SK (TUR)
5th: Sheffield Steelers (GBR)
6th: BSR ACE Gran Canaria (ESP)
7th: Koln 99ers (GER)
8th: TSK Rehab Merkezi Engelliler SK (TUR)
Based on my own personal opinion
Gold: Lancaster Spinners
Silver: North Wales Knights
Gold: High Rollers (1st South East)
Silver: Birmingham Phoenix (1st Central)
Bronze: Glasgow Rocks II (1st North)
4th: Cardiff Met Archers (1st South West)
Gold: Lancaster Bulldogs (1st North)
Silver: Thames Valley Kings I (1st South)
Bronze: The Bears II (2nd South)
4th: North Wales Knights I (2nd North)
Gold: Glasgow Rocks I (2nd North)
Silver: Northern Ireland Knights (1st North)
Bronze: Exeter Otters (1st South)
4th: Sheffield Steelers III (2nd South)
Gold: The OWLS
Silver: Sheffield Steelers
Bronze: London Titans
Join us next time for the final instalment of this season’s league review, recapping playoffs weekend.
This month’s league review is dedicated in memory of Derby Wheelblazers’ player, Colin Ilic who sadly passed away on May 12th, may you rest in peace.
Text: Dylan Cummings