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Suns and Riders Win Play-off Finals At The O2

Monday, 20 May 2019 12:19:07 Europe/London

The BBL and WBBL’s show-stopping marquee event at London’s O2 Arena took place over the weekend, with the very best male and female basketball players fighting it out to take home the BBL Play-offs title.

In the BBL final, the perennial favourites Leicester Riders took on the reigning BBL Trophy winners, the London City Royals. It was familiar territory for the defending-champion Riders who reached their sixth final in eight years.

BBL Play-off FinalThe Riders came flying out of the gates to take an early eight-point lead at the end of the first quarter but the Royals fought hard in the second quarter to keep the gap the same, with both sides picking up 21 points in the quarter.

The second half, however, was a completely different story as Leicester’s strong defensive display restricted the Royals to just 25 points for the remainder of the match, their strength illustrated by the Riders 14 points from turnovers. The defending champions, meanwhile, romped home with 27 points in the third quarter and 22 in the fourth to win 93-61 and retain their Play-off title for the third year running.

Tim Williams was instrumental in the victory with an impressive return of 10 rebounds to go with his 20 points, earning MVP honours in the process. JR Holder also contributed an impressive 17 points and his teammate Jamell Anderson fired home a further 14 points.

In the WBBL Play-off final, the Leicester Riders were again in action as they took on the defending champions Sevenoaks Suns.

In a much closer affair, the Suns raced to an early six-point lead at the end of the first quarter before relinquishing the lead as the Riders scored 12 unanswered points, to fall behind by four points going into the break.  

However, despite being down by 10 points in the third quarter, the Suns quickly regained control to go on a 13-0 run to finish a point ahead at the end of the quarter, somehow managing to keep the Riders at bay for over four minutes.WBBL Play-off final

After a back and forth final quarter, the Suns found themselves behind 50-46 before making yet another decisive run – scoring seven straight points – with just 90 seconds remaining on the clock to retain the Play-off title for third successive year.

Brea Elmore scored 17 points for the Riders, however with little bench support she was unable to bring the title home for her side. Meanwhile, Sevenoaks’ Janice Monakana secured the MVP award thanks to her 23 points off the bench, including the shot that broke the deadlock late in the fourth quarter, a lead her side didn’t relinquish again as they secured the victory 60-55.

0 Comments | Posted in Basketball Molten By Jack Dinning

Royals & Riders Crowned Trophy Champions

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 09:43:04 Europe/London

One of British Basketball’s biggest weekends lived up to the billing this past weekend as the BBL and WBBL Trophy finalists tipped off in Glasgow.

The BBL final saw an all-London showdown between the Royals and the Lions, with the Royals aiming to create history by winning silverware in their maiden BBL season. Meanwhile, the Lions were hoping to add to their BBL trophy collection having already won the Cup earlier this year.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning led the Royals' scoring with 26 points and Ashley Hamilton added 25 points in the first final to go to overtime in BBL history. Justin Robinson led the Lions with 20 points and Ladarius Tabb and Brandon Peel added 17 points each.

In a low-scoring first half, the first quarter saw the Lions hold a 4-point lead before a fightback, largely thanks to Hamilton scoring 14 points in the quarter on his way to the Most Valuable Player award, saw the Royal briefly take the lead. Despite this, the Lions held on for a 2-point lead at half-time with the score 38-36.

The Royals retook the lead after the interval with Bryan-Amaning again dominant close to the basket and they maintained that with an impressive cameo from former Lions guard Orlan Jackman.

The Lions forged back ahead 69-62 with four and a half minutes remaining, but Hamilton again brought the Royals back into the game with two baskets in a 7-0 run.

Lions captain Joe Ikhinmwin looked to have won it for Lions with a three-pointer 24 seconds from time, but Ed Lucas matched that with six seconds left to send the game into an extra period.

The Royals hit the first eight points of overtime before Ikhinmwin hit another three. But the closest the Lions could get was three points, Bryan-Amaning fittingly scoring the final basket with two seconds remaining.

In the WBBL final, the Leicester Riders retained their title in a closely fought contest against the Durham Palatinates.

Leicester held the lead for the majority of the game, even creating a 10-point gap at the end of the first quarter. However, a lapse in concentration allowed the Palatinates to go into the half having reduced the deficit to a single point.

The Riders regained control early in the second half, going on a 12-4 run to extend their lead to eight at the end of the third quarter thanks in part to MVP Kate Oliver’s all-round display. A nervy finish allowed Durham to battle back before a couple of pivotal free throws saw the Riders home with just seconds left on the clock.  

Claire Paxton led the Riders' scoring with 18 points and Kate Oliver, voted most valuable player, added 16 points to go along with eight rebounds and five blocks. Paxton also proved pivotal with a team-high 18 points, shooting 8/9 from the floor.

Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby and Theairra Taylor led Durham's effort with 18 points apiece as the underdogs came close to causing an upset.

0 Comments | Posted in Basketball Molten By Jack Dinning

Europa League Round Of 16

Friday, 8 March 2019 16:24:18 Europe/London

The Europa League Round of 16 kicked off last night, delivering drama of the highest quality for the two remaining British teams.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal have made it to this point of the competition at a relative canter, but with the competition kicking up a notch, surprise results can often be the flavour of the day.

Arsenal compounded that theory with a shock defeat to French side Rennes,
who 
currently lie 10th in Ligue 1. Despite taking the lead through Alex Iwobi early in the first half, Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ dismissal following a second yellow card invited a wave a attack from the French side, culminating in an equalising goal for Benjamin Bourigeaud just three minutes before half time.

The Gunners arrived in France having never lost an away game against French opposition, and with Petr Cech making a succession of important saves, they looked as though they may be able to keep their record intact.

Cech’s resistance lasted until the 65th minute when a Nacho Monreal own goal from a cross gave Rennes the lead before a mistake late in the game allowed James Lea Siliki to break free and provide a perfect cross for Ismaila Sarr to head home and secure the win.

Arsenal will now need to overcome a two-goal deficit to reach the Quarter Finals when they host Rennes on Thursday 14 March.

Chelsea, meanwhile, found the going far easier as they breezed past Dynamo Kiev to give themselves a commanding three-goal advantage for the second leg of their last 16 tie.

Maurizio Sarri’s side looked lively from the beginning, creating a multitude of chances that could have seen them take a three goal advantage into the half time. As it happened, they were only able to manage one goal through Pedro, thanks to a sumptuous backheel from Olivier Giroud.

Chelsea took control of the game through Willian’s superbly curled free-kick from 25 yards out to double their lead in the 65th minute, with a strike that rendered the goalkeeper to a mere spectator, only moving to collect the ball from the back of the net.

The Blues extended their advantage to three through Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 90th minute to head into the second leg with a commanding lead. Chelsea’s dominance was typified by goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s workload as he was not needed to make a single save in the entire game.

Comments | Posted in Football Molten By Jack Dinning

Lions & Hatters Win Dramatic BBL & WBBL Finals!

Friday, 1 February 2019 14:33:08 Europe/London

An action-packed day of basketball saw a new BBL and WBBL Cup Winner crowned in a couple of thrilling contests, displaying the best of British Basketball.

BBL Cup Final

The London Lions roared home in the BBL Cup Final at Arena Birmingham to clinch the trophy for the first time in 8 years.

The Lions were in control throughout the match, outscoring the Glasgow Rocks in each quarter before eventually running out 68-54 winners, thanks in large part to Brandon Peel’s MVP performance which included 21 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists.

The final score-line was the lowest-scoring in the Cup’s 30-year history, despite the best efforts of Peel who was the only player on either side to go into half-time with double digit points to his name as his side went into the break with a 10 point lead.

The third quarter saw Peel add another 10 points to his tally and extended the lead to 13. A small comeback in the final quarter cut the deficit to 7 points, before a 7-0 run at the end of the game secured the title for London.

Vince Macaulay was head coach the last time the Lions won the Cup and his side continued its season dominance over the Rocks, having previously won both meetings between the sides this campaign.

"It's very special for the club and all the individuals on the team," said Macaulay. "Yes, we're winning a title now with the guys you see in yellow, but you've got to remember the people who helped us get here along the way."

WBBL Cup Final

In the Women’s final, the Sheffield Hatters beat the Sevenoaks Suns thanks to a last-second three-pointer from Helen Naylor.

The Hatters were led by MVP Sarah Toeaina’s 15 points and 13 rebounds, in a game they lead for almost the entire game, bar a blip in the fourth quarter which saw the Suns overturn a deficit which was up to 12 points in the third quarter. A Jess Good three-pointer gave Sevenoaks the lead before relinquishing it shortly afterwards thanks to a strong response from Sheffield.

A Cat Carr shot with 7.4 seconds remaining appeared to give Sevenoaks the title before Naylor hit the game winner with just 0.9 seconds remaining, ensuring victory for the Hatters.

“We fought for one another and today we went to battle,” said Toeaina. “Sevenoaks were a well-coached team and never went away. But, to persevere and push through definitely paid off in the end.”

Comments | Posted in Basketball Molten By Jack Dinning

Europa League Round-Up

Friday, 14 December 2018 12:18:54 Europe/London

Despite the frosty weather, things are beginning to heat up in the Europa League for three British teams.

Last night signalled the end of the group stages, with only Arsenal coming away with a victory having already secured progression through to the knock-out stages.

Perhaps the most fortunate team to make their way to the last-32 was Celtic, who qualified despite a loss to FC Red Bull Salzburg thanks to a shock result that saw Norwegian side Rosenborg draw with RB Leipzig in Germany.

Arsenal

The Scottish Champions fell behind after two goals in 10 minutes in the second half which had most of Celtic’s supporters resigned to the realisation that their European journey was over. A late goal from Oliver Ntcham restored a touch of pride but in truth Celtic will be indebted to Rosenborg should they progress any further.

Meanwhile, the Gunners hosted FK Qarabag, who had only managed three points in the competition. Alexandre Lacazette gave the home side an early lead which proved to be the only goal of the game, despite registering 11 shots and retaining almost 70% possession.

Victory extends Arsenal's unbeaten run into a 22nd match. It is their longest run without defeat in all competitions since a 28-game stretch that ended in November 2007. As group winners, Arsenal will avoid the four best-placed teams dropping down from the Champions League in the draw for the last 32.

As do Chelsea, who fielded a weakened side against MOL Vidi, safe in the knowledge that their qualification was already guaranteed. The Blues took the lead from a free-kick by Willian before the Hungarian side equalized less than two minutes later thanks to an own goal from teenager Ethan Ampadu. Vidi then took the lead just before the hour mark but their plans of taking all three points were scuppered by another free-kick, this time from Olivier Giroud to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition.Chelsea

Rangers were the unfortunate team to miss out on qualification due to a 1-0 loss away to Rapid Vienna. Steven Gerrard’s side went into the game knowing that a win would secure progression to the knock-out stages, but an 84th minute goal saw them relinquish second place in the group to their opponents, bringing an end to their European adventure.

The draw for the last-32 will be on Monday December 17 in Nyon, Switzerland at 12pm GMT. Chelsea and Arsenal have qualified as seeded teams after their unbeaten campaigns, whereas Celtic go into the knock-out stages unseeded meaning that they will likely face a sterner test in the next round.

Seeded teams are drawn against unseeded sides with the first leg at the home of the unseeded teams, before a second leg at the home stadium of the seeded side a week later. Teams from the same group or same country cannot be drawn together for the round of 32, meaning Arsenal and Chelsea will not be playing each other. However, Celtic could be drawn against the Premier League clubs. The first legs will be played on February 14 before the second leg a week later on 21 February.

Comments | Posted in Football Molten By Jack Dinning

Europa League Round-Up

Friday, 30 November 2018 12:44:47 Europe/London

It was another fantastic night for British teams in the Europa League with all four teams still in the running to make it to the knockout stages of the competition.

Chelsea romped home with a resounding 4-0 win to extend their lead at the top of Group L to nine points with one game to go in the group stages of the competition.

ChelseaOlivier Giroud set the tone with two first-half goals for the Blues after PAOK Salonika were reduced to 10 men when Yeven Khacheridi was shown a straight red card in the seventh minute for denying Giroud a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Callum Hudson-Odoi compounded PAOK’s problems with his first senior goal for the club on the hour mark to extend Chelea’s lead to 3 before Alvaro Morata finished the Greek side off with his first touch of the ball off the bench.

Arsenal have joined their London rivals in securing top spot in their group following a clinical display in Kiev against Vorskla Poltava.

Three first-half goals proved the difference between the sides as the Gunners took an early lead and never looked back. Emile Smith Rowe scored his second European goal for the club, slotting home after 10 minutes after the ball fell kindly at his feet.

Aaron Ramsey was then brought down in the box and awarded a penalty which he duly netted himself to score his first spot-kick for Arsenal in his final season for the London side to double the lead just before the half-hour mark.

Nineteen-year-old Joe Willock claimed his first senior goal, slotting home from just outside the area to extend Arsenal’s lead to three, extending their unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions.

In Glasgow, Rangers gave themselves a chance of qualification after clinging on for a 0-0 draw at home against Villarreal.

Arsenal

The Gers were reduced to 10 men when Daniel Candeias was shown a second yellow card just before half time, but a superb performance from goalkeeper Allan McGregor prevented Villarreal from taking what would have been a deserved goal. As it stands, Rangers now must win their final match to reach the last 32 of the competition.

Meanwhile, Celtic took the honours in Norway against Rosenborg to leave the Scottish champion’s just one point away from reaching the knockout stages.

Scott Sinclair headed home just before half-time which, despite taking 16 shots, proved to be the only goal of the game in a match dominated by the Scottish side. Thanks to RB Salzburg beating RB Leipzig to qualify as group winners, Celtic go into their final game knowing a point against the Austrians on 13 December will guarantee qualification.

0 Comments | Posted in Football Molten By Jack Dinning

Europa League Round-Up

Friday, 9 November 2018 11:50:05 Europe/London

It was a successful night in Europe for British teams as Chelsea and Arsenal both secured a place in the knockout stage of the Europa League and Celtic and Rangers remain in the hunt to follow suit.

Europa League Ball

Chelsea ventured to Belarus to face FC BATE, having beaten the same side 3-1 at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago.  This time, Chelsea faced a sterner test to maintain their perfect record in the competition.

After taking the lead through Olivier Giroud before the hour-mark, the Blues were on the receiving end of a barrage of chances as the home side rattled both the crossbar and the post as they searched for an unlikely victory to keep their qualification hopes alive. However, some stoic defending and heroic goalkeeping held Chelsea’s lead until the final whistle, meaning that the tournament favourites progress without dropping a single point and barely a bead of sweat.

Arsenal progressed despite not being able to find a way through the Sporting Lisbon defence thanks to the other result in Group E, meaning that a point was enough to see them reach the last-32 of the competition.

Chelsea

The Gunners were unable to find the back of the net despite Sporting finishing the game with 10 men and hitting the bar, though the draw did extend their unbeaten run to 15 straight games. It was just the second game under new manager Unai Emery that Arsenal have failed to score a goal.

Rangers suffered a frustrating night in a quite incredible match in Moscow which saw Steven Gerrard’s side lose 4-3. Despite being ahead three times in the match, two goals in two minutes was enough to end Rangers’ 11 game unbeaten streak in the competition and saw them slip to third in Group G with just one group-stage match left to play.

Celtic, meanwhile, secured a hard-fought win over RB Leipzig to remain third in Group B, level on points with Leipzig, but behind on head-to-head results. Celtic took the lead in the 11th minute through Kieran Tierney, somewhat against the run of play, but they conceded a crucial blow when Jean-Kevin Augustin was left unmarked in the box to level the match. Celtic, however, gave themselves a fighting chance to progress in the competition thanks Odsonne Edouard’s winner just thirty seconds after the German side drew level.

Comments | Posted in Football Molten By Jack Dinning

Europa League Round-Up

Friday, 26 October 2018 10:36:29 Europe/London

The Europa League this week revealed a mixed bag of results for British teams as the competition moves into full swing, halfway through the group stage.

RLCChelsea continued to show why they are heavy tournament favourites with a commanding display over BATE, emerging 3-1 victors thanks to a superb hat-trick from fan-favourite Reuben Loftus-Cheek who took the stunning Molten Match Ball home.

Loftus-Cheek’s efforts meant that he was the first English player since Harry Kane to score a hat-trick in the Europa League since 2014, and the first for The Blues in Europe since 1971.

The win sees Chelsea sit comfortably at the top of Group L with three wins from three games, leaving them six points ahead of all the other teams in their group. BATE meanwhile find themselves at the bottom of the table thanks to a goal difference of -3.

Arsenal continued their incredible run of victories, extending now to eleven straight games thanks to a Danny Welbeck goal which saw them squeeze passed Sporting Lisbon. Welbeck inflicted a rare home defeat for Sporting, who have not lost a game at the Estádio José Alvalade since Barcelona rolled into town just over a year ago.

The win sees Arsenal extend their lead at the top of Group E to three points and remain unbeaten in the tournament.

Rangers’ hopes of making the knockout stages of the competition remain on track despite being held to a draw by Spartak Moscow at Ibrox.

Ball

Rangers dominated possession and had the majority of the chances in the game but were unable to get passed the Russian side to extend their lead at the top of Group G. As it stands, they remain level on points with Villarreal and have extended their unbeaten run in Europe to 11 games, despite not scoring at home for the first time in 11 matches.

Celtic, on the other hand, suffered defeat at the hands of RP Leipzig, conceding two goals in three minutes before half-time which was enough to see off Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Prior to the match, Celtic had previously not won away from home in 13 Europa League group games and never in Germany which suggested it was always going to be tough for the Scottish Champions. The defeat now means that Celtic face an uphill battle to progress in the tournament  

Comments | Posted in Football Molten By Jack Dinning

Scorchers Emerge Victorious in London!

Monday, 15 October 2018 10:37:12 Europe/London

BBL All Stars

Surrey Scorchers emerged victorious in a thrilling final to emerge as the BBL All Stars champion at the Copper Box Stadium in London.

The Scorchers defeated last years’ treble winning side Leicester Riders in a close contest which eventually finished 36-33 to claim their first piece of silverware in 10 years.Basketball

MVP Jordan Williams was his side’s standout performer, creating the plays which saw Scorchers to group wins over Worcester Wolves and Bristol Flyers after they’d lost their opening fixture 43-30 to Flyers. Having started the tournament with a defeat to Bristol Flyers, Scorchers looked set for a tough afternoon at the Copper Box Arena.

In the semis Scorchers dispatched of Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 34-24 while Riders put out defending champions London Lions 36-26 to set up the final.

Scorchers, won over the crowd and battled it out with Riders for 12 gripping minutes but the two sides couldn’t be separated, needing an overtime period. In the additional 60 seconds it was MVP Williams who made multiple big plays down the stretch as Scorchers took the £25,000 title 36-33.

The British Basketball All-Stars Championship included 12-minute games, a 5-point line and a Golden Buzzer Power Play – where everything for the next 2 minute period is worth double, in an adapted game created by Matchroom with the intention of adding excitement and end to end action, as the top eight BBL teams battled it out for their share of a £100,000 prize fund.

Results:

Double Elimination Stage

Worcester Wolves 6-45 London Lions

Bristol Flyers 43-30 Surrey Scorchers

BBL

 

Glasgow Rocks 40-45 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

DBL Sharks Sheffield 30-24 Leicester Riders

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 31-25 DBL SharksLondon Lions 29-21 Bristol Flyers

Sheffield Worcester Wolves 17-49 Surrey Scorchers

Glasgow Rocks 22-37 Leicester Riders

Bristol Flyers 27-36 Surrey Scorchers

DBL Sharks Sheffield 20-31 Leicester Riders

Semi-Finals

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 24-34 Surrey Scorchers

London Lions 26-36 Leicester Riders

Final

Surrey Scorchers 36-33 Leicester Riders

 

0 Comments | Posted in Basketball Netball Molten By Jack Dinning

All-Star Weekend

Friday, 12 October 2018 10:34:06 Europe/London

FAST 5 Netball

On Saturday October 13 the Fast5 All-Stars netball competition heads to the Copper Box Arena to showcase the most exciting tournament in British Netball. 

Netball

The teams are now confirmed and will feature defending champions Loughborough Lightning, Surrey Storm, Strathclyde Sirens, Severn Stars, Team Bath, Manchester Thunder, Benecos Mavericks and Wasps Netball.

Some of netball's greatest players have flown in to fill All Star positions and combine with some of the brightest home-grown talent for the 2018 British Fast5 All-Stars Championship. Brand ambassador and newly-appointed director of netball for Surrey Storm, Mikki Austin, will also don the mid-court bib.

Mikki Austin

The tournament features 12 minute matches, a five-point line for those brave enough to shoot from distance and a Golden Buzzer offering double points during their two-minute Power Play. Unlike traditional netball, teams are made up of five rather than seven players and shooters have the opportunity to net long-bombs from a five or three-point zone, or they can play it safe for one point under the net. All eight teams will play at least two games across five hours as they battle it out and see who will take home the title, the trophy and the £25,000 winner's cheque.

All Stars Basketball

This Sunday sees one of the highlights of the British Basketball League season take place with the All-Stars Championship at the Copper Box Arena, London. Eight of the BBL’s best teams will compete in one of the most exhilarating tournaments in sport.

Each match will last 12-minutes, with features such as an all-star 5-point line and a Golden Buzzer Power Play promising an incredibly action-packed afternoon, showcasing some of the finest basketball talent the UK has to offer.

Defending champions London Lions will be joined by BBL treble winner Leicester Riders, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, Glasgow Rocks, Surrey Scorchers, Bristol Flyers, Worcester Wolves and DBL Sharks Sheffield.  

The draw for the double elimination stage of the British Basketball All-Stars Championship has been made, with London Lions to open their title defence against Worcester Wolves. The second match of the afternoon will see Bristol Flyers against Surrey Scorchers before Radisson RED Glasgow Rocks take on Esh Group Eagles Newcastle. Finally, the draw pitted Sheffield Sharks against Leicester Riders in match four.

Basketball

The tournament begins at 1pm on Sunday, October 14th at the Copper Box Arena, London and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix throughout. The British Basketball All-Stars Championship starts with a double elimination group stage comprising a total of ten matches. Win your opening match and you’ll face another winner for a place in the semi-finals, while teams who lose their opening matches face off to remain in the competition.

After each side has played two matches, those with one win and one defeat play a third match with the winner advancing to the final four. London Lions won the inaugural British Basketball All-Stars Championship last year, beating Newcastle Eagles 26-25 in an enthralling final. Justin Robinson was MVP on the day and Lions will be hoping he can help fire them to a successful defence this weekend.

Comments | Posted in Basketball Netball Molten By Jack Dinning
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