‘You could make a movie out of this’ – the tale of Ipswich Basketball Club’s underdog National Cup win
- Credit: Archant
If this sporting fairytale script was put to a film director it would probably be rejected for being too far-fetched.
Ipswich Basketball Club’s newly-formed women’s side won the National Cup on Sunday with a 67-58 win against the nation’s leading side, the Essex Blades, at the UEL Sportsdock, London.
This was a Division II North side, in their debut campaign together, beating no fewer than four top-tier teams – including Loughborough, Reading and Bristol – on their way to lifting the trophy.
Every single player hails from Suffolk and has come through the club’s youth ranks, with the average age of the squad 17 years and 11 months.
At one stage they were 17 points down in the final but dug deep to turn things around in front of more than 200 raucous travelling fans.
“Incredible, absolutely incredible – and to win it the way we did as well...” enthused head coach Nick Drane.
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“It’s like Ipswich Town winning the FA Cup. You could make a movie out of this – and not just about what has happened on court.
“Every single one of these girls started out at one of our summer camps aged 12 and I’ve seen a lot of them go on heart-warming and heart-wrenching journeys over the last few years, not to be told in print.
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“Essex Blades are an extremely well-funded and professional club. They are just about to open a new three-court, 2,000 seat arena at the cost of £12million. They’ve got two Americans on full-time scholarships.
“All power to them, that’s not a dig, but I’m just giving some context because we haven’t got 12 pounds let alone 12 million!
“This is a reminder to the sporting world that nothing beats developing young people. It’s far more satisfying to win like this than having a big budget and being able to recruit anybody.
“All the girls are here because they love playing for Ipswich and not because of any financial incentive.”
With Ipswich now chasing an historic treble, Drane added: “As a coach I’ve won junior national championships, a European silver medal with Great Britain and took the men’s team from Division Four to the Division Two Play-Offs, but this is the best team I have ever coached.”
Match report and pictures inside.