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Weekend Preview: National Cup Semi Final Double Header beckons for IBC junior sides

Ipswich Basketball Clubs success in the National Cup in recent years has been well celebrated.

In 2018 the Senior Women, in their first season back in the National League after being relaunched, shocked the British Basketball Community, beating runaway WNBL Division One leaders, Essex Blades (now Rebels) in the National Cup Final as a Division Two team to lift the trophy at the University of East London.

In that same season, the U16 girls also lifted the National Cup, defeating Haringey Angels in the final at the University of Worcester. And then, two years later at the University of Essex, the U18 Women narrowly defeated Reading Rockets on their way to the title in 2020. Ipswich are the only club in the country who can claim to have won all three National Cups in the last five seasons in the girls/women's game. The U18s also made it all the way to the final in 2021/22, losing to a supremely talented CoLA team.

However, Sunday sees a unique and historic day for the club, and basketball in the area, as the club host not one but two National Cup semi-finals. The odds of having two teams in the national cup semi-finals are slim, but not beyond the realms of possibility, but the likelihood of two teams being drawn at home, on the same day, at this stage of the competition, rarely, if ever happens.

Ipswich Basketball Club are one of the most respected clubs in the country - but it could be argued that they are currently best known for two things above all else, their constant success in recent years at the girls and women's level AND their overwhelming support, by the way of their nationally renowned large and very loud fan base.

With two National semi-finals, one after the other on Sunday - it could very well be the loudest and most exciting atmosphere at Copleston since before the pandemic.

At noon, Coach Kevin Mannings u16s face the Richmond Knights, a team they narrowly defeated at Copleston earlier in the season. The U16 Girls' trip to this stage has been full of big wins, with wins over Luton (105-28) and Brentwood Fire (73-38) at home being followed by a Quarter Final win on the road to Nottingham Wildcats (101-42). This Sunday's game against Richmond looks to be a much closer affair.

At 2pm Coach Drane's Academy U18s host Solent Kestrels. The U18 Women received a bye in the round of 32, before beating Oaklands (79-46) and Milton Keynes (93-78) to reach this point. Having matched up against Solent already once this season, they will be looking to repeat that first victory this weekend.

In what is surely one of the biggest events for the clubs junior programme ever hosted on home turf, the club are appealing to its whole membership, as well as family members, friends and anyone else to head over to HQ on Sunday to get behind the teams. As always, in your Ipswich Blue.

Should either team win, they will be in Manchester on January 21st, playing for one of the biggest prizes in junior basketball - and without wanting to tempt fate, dare we dream of having two Ipswich teams in the National Cup Final to kick off 2023?

What better way to spend your Sunday than supporting the Towns most elite girls and women's sports club - what better way to get in the mood for the football on Sunday night!



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