Under14 Jnr NBL Playoff Finals Preview

Girls

Richmond Knights (19-1) v Manchester Mystics (18-2)

As the only divisional winners represented in the U14 Girls competition, Richmond will fancy their chances of success this season. Defeating a strong Surrey Goldhawks team to reach the Finals in Manchester, the Knights could be the favourites to take the playoff title come Sunday evening.

After a 4-10 record last season, this has been a real turnaround year for the Mystics. A programme that is steeped in success, there is experience throughout the club at winning on the biggest of stages. If the team can take that on board, this weekend will be likely to provide the answer. A tough match up straight out of the gate, but the Mystics have been a strong outfit this year.


 

Sheffield Hatters (16-4) v Sevenoaks Suns (12-7)

A 3rd place finish in the North division this season, the Hatters can be proud of their regular season exploits. An impressive road victory over Nottingham last time out was enough to bump the #1 placed Wildcats out of the post season and book a place at Belle Vue. Having already lost to Manchester twice this year, if the Hatters can win this game they will either have to find a way to beat a team they’ve already struggled against, or overcome a side that just topped the Mystics. Still, in the playoffs, anything can happen.

With 7 losses to their name, Sevenoaks have the weakest regular season record of the 4 teams remaining. What matters at this stage of the year though is form. 6-2 in their last 8, this is a team that is ready to roll and make their mark at the NBPC. Like Sheffield, a semi-final win still presents a problem to overcome. The Suns have lost to Richmond twice this season, though the game in Sevenoaks was a 1-point contest.

Boys

City of Birmingham (17-1) v Worthing Thunder (16-4)

A familiar story in both semi-finals for the U14 Boys, it’s a #1 vs #2 match up. North Premier winners City of Birmingham had just a single loss on their season against fellow North Prem side Manchester, but that was back in mid-February so this is a COB side currently on a lengthy winning streak. They’ll be hoping that form is enough to help them get past a talented Worthing team.

Worthing are one of the few sides to have beaten Lewisham this season with the Thunder taking the South Premier title. That shows they have more than enough about them to make waves at this seasons’ Final Fours. After winning both their playoff games at home to reach this stage, it will be interesting to see how the Thunder fare away from the South Coast. All 4 of Worthing’s losses have been on the road during the regular season.


 

London Lewisham Thunder (16-4) v Manchester Magic (15-3)

South Premier champs London are returning to the U14s Final Fours after becoming a losing semi-finalist last year. They’ll be aiming for a better result this time around after putting together a solid regular season. Having already defeated the Manchester Giants in the last round of the playoffs, the Thunder would love to make it 2 from 2 over Manchester sides when they take on the Magic.

After surviving a wild game with London Feltham in their last game, Manchester managed to outlast the South Premier’s #3 side to hold on for a 107-102 win. That puts the team at 103PPG for these playoffs and that scoring will come in handy against the stingiest defence in the U14s this season. Lewisham’s allowed just 54 PPG during the regular season so look out for a battle between offence and defence in this one.