Mead makes England bball squad

IPSWICH Basketball Club player Ben Mead has been selected for the England Under-15 development squad following an impressive performance at the Inter-Regional National Championships.

IPSWICH Basketball Club player Ben Mead has been selected for the England Under-15 development squad following an impressive performance at the Inter-Regional National Championships.

The East of England Under-14 boys travelled to Lilleshall off the back of three convincing wins against various regions in Leicester at the end of last month, however, with all 10 regions present - including traditional super-powers such as London, the North West, the West Midlands and the South - the East were by no means amongst the pre-tournament favourites.

The opening game against the East Midlands saw the East matched up against Kingsley Okoroh who at 6ft 9in was by far the biggest player on show and almost a certain future England international.

However, the East could boast some size of their own in the form of Ipswich duo Ben Mead and Robinson Maka and between the two of them Okoroh was kept relatively quiet as the East ran out winners by 11 points.

Their second game was against the impressive South East. This was the game that ultimately paved the way for what would end up being a phenomenal tournament for the East.

Down by as many as 16 points at one stage the East - five of whose 10 players are at Ipswich Basketball Club - simply didn't quit.

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In the second half Mead was in full swing as he dismantled the opposition with a series of post moves, meaning the East eventually went away with a nine point win.

The third game was against the South West, who were yet to win a game, however, the East were without Joe Davies who was receiving treatment on an injured hip.

In the first half it was again Mead, who was proving to be amongst the best players on show, and also Maka who took them apart before the second half saw George Jarvis show the England selectors that he could light the game up from the perimeter.

With the lead well in double figures the bench was rotated which saw a number of the East players shine, including Sam Newman, Leo Zwandhal-Burns and Matt Elliot.

The fourth game was one that the East knew that if they won, they would make the final and become the first East team for a very long time to have done so.

Initially nerves looked to have got the better of the team in the first period, but the guts and determination of Matt Hughes and Davies saw the East open up another commanding lead and by half time the game was over as a contest. Again the bench was rotated allowing Luke Mascall-Wright to shine.

The following day saw the East face basketball giants London in the national final.

It was clear from the start that London were a class act, not only superior athletes but also their level of skill experience was clearly ahead of the majority at Lilleshall.

The East put up a brave fight but eventually lost by more than 20 points, however, their real achievement had been getting that far.

Over the course of the five games Ipswich's Mead had been the East's dominant force which resulted in him being selected for the England U15 Boys' development squad.

George Jarvis and Joe Davies, both from the Brentwood Fire, were also identified as outstanding performers by the England selectors.

Coach Nick Drane said: “When evaluating this tournament it is safe to say that my staff and I are absolutely delighted with what we have achieved and it is not often that a coach is satisfied with what their team has put on the floor.

“To get to a final of any competition is a great achievement but when you consider that we had 28 kids attend a trial in April and we lost three key players along the way to finish second to a team that probably selected from a number somewhere near the thousands then that puts into perspective how well this group of boys have done.”

He added: “And Ben Mead's selection to the England development squad is fantastic for him, the East and his club.”

East of England U14 Boys

George Jarvis (cpt) Brentwood

Sam Newman Ipswich

Matt Hughes Baddow

Matt Elliot Brentwood

L'amour Saggers Ipswich

Luke Mascall-Wright Ipswich

Leo Zwandhal-Burns Bury

Joe Davies Brentwood

Robinson Maka Ipswich

Ben Mead Ipswich