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Drane expects more silverware in historic season for Ipswich Basketball Club

PUBLISHED: 15:50 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:50 26 February 2018

The Ipswich girls and coaches celebrate after the presentation of the National Cup. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

The Ipswich girls and coaches celebrate after the presentation of the National Cup. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Pavel.Kricka@btinternet.com

Ipswich Basketball Club added two more trophies to their historic season over the weekend – and head coach Nick Drane is expecting more winners’ medals before the campaign comes to a close.

Ipswich's Esther Little congratulates head coach Hayley Rigby, with assistant coach Harriet Welham, Nick Drane and Terry Rigby in the background Ipswich's Esther Little congratulates head coach Hayley Rigby, with assistant coach Harriet Welham, Nick Drane and Terry Rigby in the background

The club’s Under 16 Girls won the National Cup for the first time while the unbeaten Senior Women – who won their National Cup last month – were crowned Division Two champions without even playing after nearest rivals Worcester were beaten by Northampton.

It continues a sensational season for the club, with both the Senior Women and Under 16 Girls now looking for more glory in the end-of-season play-offs.

The girls were led by GB international Esther Little, a player considered by many to be the best of her age in the country, who also starts for the Women’s side, while fellow youngsters Cameron Taylor-Willis and Ella Pearson also play for the senior side.

“It’s probably the most talented generation of players I can remember us having,” Drane said of the under 16 side. “Esther grabs a lot of the headlines but there’s a lot of other very talented girls playing.

- MORE: Ipswich girls win National Cup

“We’ve made a lot of finals before, but there’s far too many runners-up medals at the club, which is why this season is becoming so historic and unique for us.

“I call it the Roger Bannister theory – once you’ve proved it can be done, there’s no reason why you can’t go on and do it a lot more. I think there are more winners’ medals coming this season.”

The under 16 side were coached to glory – a 58-42 final win over cup holders Haringey Angels – by former player Hayley Rigby, herself just 22-years-old.

- MORE: Ipswich Men get back to winning ways

She said: “It’s still sinking in. We knew that we had a chance but we didn’t expect to win by 16! To follow the women’s success is incredible and shows that the future is very bright for Ipswich.

“The goal now for us is to go on and win the play-offs.”

As for the Women, with promotion to Division One now secured, they remain on track for an undefeated season – all in their first campaign together.

“Winning the cup will still be the thing we’re talking about in 20 years,” said Drane. “We beat the team top of Division One, and you could say that makes us the best team in the whole national league.

“But our goal before the season was just to get promoted, which we’ve done with four games to play. Now we have a chance to go undefeated and win the play-offs too – if we do that, it’s the best season that anyone has had in the history of the club.”

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