On the 5th and 6th of March 2016, British Wheelchair Basketball held the third annual University Championships. Sixteen teams from across the UK took part in what was a fierce but fun tournament which pitted novice players alongside experienced basketballers in this two day competition.
As Assistant Coach of the Scottish Universities Representative team, I knew that this was not going to be an easy tournament for the players, some of whom had never played wheelchair basketball before, as we would face the might of the University of Worcester teams featuring top GB players such as Jude Hamer and Leah Evans. The weekend started well with Scotland winning all their pool games. The slightly stunned team started day two with the hope of maybe progressing to a medal match but first faced tough opposition from the University of East Anglia. Managing to keep their cool, they won 31 v 16 and therefore progressed to the semi-final where they met the first of the Worcester squads.
This was one of the most tense matches I have ever helped coach as we were massive underdogs yet had gelled both on and off court and therefore were playing with passion and real determination which gave us a real chance against this experienced side. Throughout the match the team worked together to maximise chances and some incredible phenomenal performances helped secure Scotland an incredible win. We were ecstatic!
Getting to the final was a massive achievement for the team. They had played their hearts out in the semis and in some ways this took its toll as the final match saw the experienced Worcester 1 pull ahead quickly creating fast breaks from the start. Despite this Scotland rallied and battled hard to keep the game relatively close, and the final score was 24 v 34 to the University of Worcester 1.
All in all it was an incredible weekend and I was so proud to be part of this team.
Photo: silver medallists!