Ipswich Basketball Club is in the midst of a historic season – which you’ll already know, unless you have been living on another planet!
With five teams confirmed as playoff qualifiers, we felt it was only right to bring you a preview for the busy weekend on the 7th/8th April. We’re still waiting for confirmation on whether the Senior Men have clinched the 8th seed in NBL Division Two, which Basketball England will confirm in the next day or two.
The Senior Women have been the club’s headline act for much of this season. Re-launched last summer, the team has rolled through the regular season without losing a single game, and their 15-0 record has led to the club’s first senior National League women’s title in nearly 30 years.
A sensational National Cup win, including three wins on the road to NBL Division One teams, and a come-from-behind victory in the final against runaway Division 1 champions Essex Blades, has made the team something of a Cinderella story on the national stage this season. Nick Drane’s invincibles will be one of the favourites for the Division Two National Championship as they aim to complete a historic, undefeated, treble winning season.
Opponents: The Women host Cardif Met Archers in the first round (final eight).
Tip off: 4:30pm at Copleston on Sunday 8th April.
The Under-16 Girls have followed last season’s Final Four appearance, where they finished second in the country, by completing another regular season as one of the leading teams in the country, finishing in third place in the National Premier Division.
The impressive league result has secured Ipswich a home draw for each round of the post-season. Furthermore, they followed in the footsteps of the Senior Women, winning the National Cup – meaning Hayley Rigby and her players are going into the playoffs as one of the favourites to lift another trophy.
Opponents: The girls host Cardiff Met Archers in the first round (last 16).
Tip off: 12:00 at Copleston on Sunday 8th April.
Another team who have enjoyed great success this season, the Under-18 Men won the East Conference of the National League with a 14-4 record, for which they have been rewarded with a long road trip to Newcastle Eagles in the final 32 of the playoffs.
Should the Under-18s be successful in their first round, they will then be on home soil for the playoff quarter final with a realistic chance of qualifying for the Final Fours – which would be a remarkable achievement for Noel Lambert’s crew, who have had to deal with multiple roster changes throughout the season.
Opponents: Travelling to Newcastle Eagles in the first round (round of 32).
Tip off: 12:00 in Newcastle on Saturday 7th April.
Adam Robinson and the Under-16 Boys have defied the odds this season, qualifying for the playoffs in sixth place out of what is widely considered the toughest league in the country, the South Premier Division. This is a particularly pleasing achievement for this age-group.
After missing the play-offs last year and starting out this season with five straight defeats, the Under-16s have gone on to achieve a 14-7 record for the rest of the year, also reaching the quarter finals of the National Cup. The boys will face a road-heavy schedule as 6th-placed qualifiers – should they beat London Westside Rangers at Copleston in the first round, Robinson’s charges will then be on the road for their remaining playoff games.
Opponents: They host London Westside Rangers in the first round (round of 32).
Tip off: 2:15pm at Copleston on Sunday 8th April.
The Under-14 Girls are another team that has shown dramatic improvement throughout this season. On more than one occasion, having lost to an opponent in the early stages of the season, Kevin Manning’s side have gained revenge the second time the teams met – a clear demonstration that the development being shown by the Ipswich players is quite significant.
The girls finished the regular season with a 12-6 record in the East Division, good enough for third place in a league that includes powerhouse programmes such as Haringey Angels, Southend Swifts and London Youngbloods. The reward for such a great first season for these girls is a trip to the mighty Manchester Mystics in the first round.
Opponents: Travelling to Manchester Mystics in the first round (last 16).
Tip off: 1pm in Manchester on Saturday 7th April.
Traditionally, Copleston Sports Centre, and Ipswich Basketball Club create something of a carnival atmosphere for playoff games in Ipswich. Over the years there have been upwards of three hundred spectators crammed into the sports hall for Senior Men’s and junior team knockout games. To host three playoff games, back-to-back-to-back on Sunday the 8th is something truly unique and the club is hoping that this will draw record crowds for what could be a phenomenal day for the club, its members and supporters.