Suffolk basketball players set to star in women's Division Two national playoffs
Talented youngsters from across the county will today contest the women's basketball Division Two playoff final as part of the Ipswich women's team targeting a treble-winning season, having already secured promotion and a National Cup.
The Ipswich Women's Basketball team is made up of a host of talented Bury and Sudbury based players, alongside others, that will today contest the WNBL Division Two National Playoff Final at 2.15pm. Click here for live updates from 2.15pm.
They will take on Derbyshire Gems, a team they have already played three times this season, at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester as one of six matches in the NBL Playoff Finals 2018.
If they can take victory, they will finish the season as holders of the National Cup, the Division Two North champions and the Division Two National Playoff winners.
Despite playing outside of Division One (the top level of the NBL) this season, it could be argued that Ipswich are the best women’s team in the country following an unprecedented season of success. In January they shocked eventual Division One winners Essex Blades in the National Cup Final, beating three other Division One sides on their way to the big game.
Ipswich have a core of talented, young players who have been together for a number of years in the junior ranks, making them a tough team to beat regardless of the occasion. These include Bury St Edmunds' Esther Little, captain Amy Linton, Maya Price and Division Two's recently crowned Most Valuable Player of the season Harriet Welham as well as Sudbury's Ella Pearson and Cameron Taylor Willis.
Little, Pearson and Taylor Willis are also part of the U16 girls side that have largely mirrored the success of the senior team this season, as they also claimed the U16 National Cup and have reached the semi-finals of the U16 playoffs to be held at the National Basketball Performance Centre next Saturday (May 5).
Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane “Making the Playoff Final means a huge amount to us, not only to our team, but our whole club.
"We’ve had a fantastic season, not losing a game to this point, but we take nothing for granted.
"Winning the National Cup really put us on the map at the senior women’s level and since then we’ve had the goal of winning a regular season, cup and playoff treble.
"Derbyshire Gem’s pose a real threat to that goal though. They are every bit as good as the Division One teams we played during our cup run and we will need to be at our best to get the win.”
Reaction in next week's Bury Free Press and Suffolk Free Press.