As defending champions, it was with high hopes that this year’s basketball squad travelled to Rochdale Leisure Centre to defend their title. In our opening game against Beech House, we quickly set out our intentions as Daisy Duffy fired in four baskets, Raya Jacobsen scored another and Hayden Sackfield popped in a three-pointer, all without reply.
QE School brought two teams: against their A team, Hayden’s four basket haul included three three-pointers, with further baskets from Sunyul Koo, Vyomi Kanji and Reyna Kohli. It was tighter against their B team, but Hayden (1) and Daisy (2) were on the mark again.
The matches were getting much tighter now, as coaches and their teams tried to devise ways to stop our play. Clarendon Cottage defended stoutly, and it took a basket from Reyna to settle the nerves before Sunyul added another in the closing moments. Brabyns worked a strategy of keeping two players on Hayden all the time, which frustrated us right until the end when he managed to escape his shackles and pop in the only basket of the game.
And so to the deciding game of the day. Our opponents, Firs, were unbeaten but had drawn one game. We had won all ours, without conceding a single basket. This was it. Both teams were up for this one, and it proved to be a bruising, competitive encounter. It truly was an end to end game, with both sides hitting the rim but with no success. Finally, with two minutes to go, Bridgewater were penalised for an infringement. Two free throws to Firs. The first clattered harmlessly off the backboard but the second found its way agonisingly into the net. Bridgewater battled back to the other end of the court, seeking a way through the massed Firs’ defence. Eventually it cracked: a foul, and two free throws to Bridgewater. Up stepped Hayden, who had been popping shots into the basket for fun all afternoon. Surely this would be the crowning moment of his exemplary afternoon? Unfortunately not. As his shots narrowly missed, time was up and thus our hopes of retaining the title ended.
This was a great squad effort. Every player played for the team and demonstrated great determination, effort, camaraderie and no small amount of skill. A fantastic effort!