Wheelchair Basketballers from the North West win at the double
With over 180 junior wheelchair basketballers taking to court, The Lord’s Taverners National Junior Championships 2013 were kicked off in stunning style on Friday 26 July as 21 teams battled it out in the U15 and U19 events. With players from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales representing their regions over three days of fantastic matches, the teams opened their campaigns in fiercely contested pool groups.
Pool A in the U15s saw Northern Ireland storm to first place without losing a match, South East coming in second, West Midlands finishing third, Scotland in fourth and South West with fifth place.
Meanwhile, in Pool B it was the North West who emerged unbeaten, sailing through to a quarter-final game against Scotland. Sealing second place and setting up a quarter-final against the West Midlands, was Yorkshire. Meanwhile, in third spot was the North East who would line-up against the South East in their quarter-final battle. Earning the final quarter-final spot was London, finishing in fourth place to line up against Northern Ireland. Whilst Wales entered the 9th/10th play-off against the South West.
After a series of fantastic play-off matches, it was the South West who came in 10th with Wales scooping 9th place; whilst a 17-9 victory gave Scotland 7th place over London. In the match for 5th/6th, it was the North East who emerged triumphant with an 18-10 win against the West Midlands. The battle for Bronze saw Yorkshire raise their game to defeat the South East by 29-18.
An incredible final between Northern Ireland and the North West saw just two points in it at half time, but the second half saw the North West pull away to be crowned champions of The Lord’s Taverners National Junior Championships U15 event with a 26-17 victory.
In the U19s, reigning champions the North West shot their way to the top of Pool A without losing a game, the East Midlands coming in second, Northern Ireland in third, the South East finishing fourth, Scot-NE ending up in fifth and Wales with sixth.
In Pool B, the West Midlands saw an unbeaten run take them to first place to set up a quarter-final against South East, Yorkshire with second to face Northern Ireland, London came in third to line-up against the East Midlands, whilst the East’s fourth place finish saw them take on the North West. Joining Scot-Ne and Wales in the 9th-11th play-offs was the South West.
A hard-fought series on play off matches ensued, Wales taking 11th place with Scot-NE in 10th and the South West in 9th. In the battle for 7th/8th it was London who emerged triumphant with a 13-8 win over the East, whilst Yorkshire took 5th place over the South East with 22-10 victory. The bronze medal game saw the East Midlands triumph over Northern Ireland by 20-10.
A nail-biting final between the West Midlands and North West saw the West Midlands take the early lead and head into half time with an 8-4 advantage. But the 2012 champions, North West, staged a fantastic comeback to take the Championship once again with a 24-17 win.
British Wheelchair Basketball CEO, Charlie Bethel said: “Thanks to the fantastic support from The Lord’s Taverners, our junior programme continues to go from strength to strength: this year The Lord’s Taverners National Championships has seen more players than ever before take part and the standard of play has been outstanding. Not only this, but the recent European Championships clearly demonstrated the effects of The Lord’s Taverners invaluable support with 16 of our medallists having come through this Junior Programme.”
Paul Robin, Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners, said: "It was a thrilling day and a fantastic culmination to the season. The Lord’s Taverners has sponsored the Junior Development Programme for 5 years now and we are pleased to confirm our continued sponsorship for a further three years so more children can participate from this brilliant inclusive sport."
The Lord’s Taverners National Junior Championships 2014 will be held next year between 25–27 July 2014 at the University of Worcester Arena.
Most Improved Player U15: Conn Nagle
Most Improved Player U19: Callum Palmer
The Peter Jackson Young Female Player of the Year: Joy-Lan Haizelden
The Peter Jackson Young Male Player of the Year: Lee Fryer
The Graham Bool Young Photography Award: Miriam Haizelden (Runner Up - Katie Chidlow)
Shot of the Tournament: Conner Hardy-Gray (Click here to see this amazing shot)
You can view photos of the weekend's action on our Facebook page.