Fans urged to create blue wall as London Westside stand between Ipswich and NBL semi-final

Nick Drane

Nick Drane - Credit: Archant

Ipswich want to create a sea of blue and a wall of noise when they battle for a place in the semi-finals of the National Basketball League Division 2 play-offs on Saturday.

The Copleston-based team face London Westside (5pm tip-off), who have beaten Nick Drane’s side twice in the regular season – the winners facing Derbyshire Arrows or Kent Crusaders, away from home, in the semi finals.

Fans are urged to turn up at Copleston High School in their numbers, with people wearing the club’s blue colours, getting in for free.

“The fans are a key component to our success, you can feel the atmosphere and environment they create and that’s unique in this league,” enthused Drane.

“We attract by far the biggest following and that makes our games more of an occasion. It’s great for the younger lads who enjoy playing in a noisy atmosphere.”

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The game is set to be an emotionally-charged contest on and off the court, with Drane set to lead his team for the last time at Copleston, having decided to move into a general manager role next season.

However, Drane revealed: “I am not even thinking about it.

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“None of that really matters, it’s just about getting the win.

“Maybe I should think about it, but all my thoughts are about preparing the team and making sure I have a fit and healthy roster.”

Saturday’s opponents head into the game having lost four of their last five league games, while Ipswich have won their last two.

“We are feeling confident and go into the game having defeated London Greenhouse by 24 points and Newham by 36 – not many teams can put opponents away like that,” explained Drane, whose side finished fourth in the regular season.

“We are playing a team that should have finished in the top-four and have lost four of the last five, so they will be coming here low on form but possibly with a chip on their shoulders and a point to prove.

“But we can beat anyone, on our day, on our own floor.”

He added: “This is our fourth season in Division 2 and it’s the third time we have finished in the top-four.

“In that time, eight teams have been promoted, seven of which were only in the division for one season, having either been promoted or relegated the previous year, so you could say we’ve been the most consistent Division Two team.”

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