The NBL team returned to action for their first National League game of the new year on Saturday, with an at-home game against Birmingham Mets. After a tense start to the game, the University of Chester ended the first quarter just ahead with a score of 20-19. By half time, they had the lead 43-29 and they emerged victorious with a final score of 84-56.
Following this success, the team went on to win their away game against Swindon Shock on Sunday, in the National Shield quarter final. The University of Chester held the lead throughout the first half, with a score of 44-34. They finished the game with a final score of 80-67, securing their place in the National Shield semi-finals against Essex Blades at the end of the month. The National Shield is a knockout competition where only NBL Division Three and Four teams are eligible to play.
Team player, Niel Gillard, said: “Coming into the weekend we weren’t sure how we would fare, having had nearly a month off from competitive fixtures, and facing two tough teams. But we picked up where we left off, moving the ball well on offence and working relentlessly on defence to hold our opponents to less than they would usually score. We’re delighted to keep the lead at the top of the league and progress to the National Shield semi finals!”
Head Coach, Chris Wilson, added: “Our team has had a fantastic start to the season. We found ourselves at the top of the league in both the National League and BUCS, and we are progressing successfully through knock-out competitions. The first competitive weekend of 2019 has seen us consolidate our position as league leaders and progress to the semi-finals of the National Shield. The next couple of weeks will define our season and everyone’s support is always welcome!”
Sarah Latham, Student Activity Manager, Chester Students’ Union, said: “We are really proud of the Basketball team’s achievements so far in the BUCS and National League competitions. Men’s Basketball have really excelled this year in their sporting performance and we hope they continue this into the next academic term.”
The team also took over the NBL England Instagram stories for the weekend, showcasing their double header in the NBL and National Shield. All of the weekend’s action was captured by various members of the team as part of the Basketball England Engagement Initiative. Niel said: “Each story was seen by roughly 800 people! Alongside this, Basketball England recently interviewed the Head Coach, Chris Wilson, and team player, Reiss Faure-Daley, for their website as part of the coach and player spotlight feature. All of this has been great exposure for the team, the programme and the University!”
The interviews can be found at: https://www.basketballengland.co.uk/news/coach-spotlight-chris-wilson-university-of-chester/; and https://www.basketballengland.co.uk/news/player-spotlight-reiss-faure-daley-university-of-chester/
Highlights from the weekend’s games are available on the University of Chester Basketball YouTube channel here.