Essex Rebels make NBL Division One debut
Following back to back promotions from Divisions 3 and 2, the Essex Rebels made their debut at the top level of the Basketball England National Basketball League when they played in the L. Lynch Trophy pre-season tournament.
New for 2020-21 the L. Lynch Trophy features all 14 NBL Division 1 sides, plus EABL Academy teams from Myerscough and Charnwood, playing at four central venues. The games provide a controlled window for clubs, officials, coaches and players to understand the ‘new normal’ of how games will be conducted before the regular NBL Division One season commences at the end of October.
Essex Rebels were drawn to play at the southern hub taking place at Solent University, with games against reigning Division 1 champions Solent Kestrels, BA London Lions, and their first game against Worthing Thunder.
Essex Rebels 78 – 91 Worthing Thunder
It wasn’t to be for Rebels in a hard fought encounter as Worthing Thunder ran out the victors thanks, in part, to a huge 37 point performance from Thunder’s Cameron Hildreth.
The teams were evenly matched through the first half, with Rebels narrowly behind 43-42 at the break. Going behind by ten in the third, Rebels closed to 63-57 at the end of third quarter, before losing out in the closing stages as they chased the game.
Thunder’s Director of Basketball, Zaire Taylor commended Rebels performance on the day “Essex came out and competed hard, I believe they will be really a competitive team in this league this season”.
Watch the full match coverage on the Basketball England Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/XJ1AsDtSeOE
Solent Kestrels 117 – 61 Essex Rebels
If week one in the L. Lynch Trophy showed that Rebels will be competitive in Division 1, week 2 showed what a huge step up from Division 2 this season will be.
Reigning Division 1 champions, Kestrels also made the final of the BBL Trophy, as an invited guest team in the premier level of professional basketball, and their class was clear to see in this encounter as they brushed aside Rebels’ early endeavours in keeping pace with Kestrels’ scoring. 27-16 down after the first quarter, Rebels largely matched Kestrels in the second as the scoring went 22-19, to give a 49-35 half-time scoreline.
A very physical Kestrels side out-muscled Rebels, and forced a huge 32 turnovers in the game to romp away to an impressive win.
Top scorers for Rebels were Rory Winter with 15 points, and Cain Van Heyningan and Jordan Gray with 10 each.
Full match coverage: https://youtu.be/qaLdlCFpwj4
Essex Rebels 74 – 86 BA London Lions
A close match right up until the closing stages, Rebels were edged out in their final L. Lynch Trophy game by a young BA London Lions side.
An early 9-2 lead for Rebels thanks to 3-pointers from Jordan Gray and Rory Winter was answered with a 14 point run by Lions, which saw them take a lead which they never lost through to the final buzzer.
With 7:36 left in the final quarter Daniel Morton’s 3-pointer brought the gap back to just two points, and with Rebels having the momentum, they looked set for a last quarter surge to victory. It wasn’t to be, however, as successive three pointers from Lions took te game out of reach in the closing stages.
Sam Newman top-scored for Rebels with 19 points, supported by Ethan Price (12) and Jordan Gray (10).
Match coverage: https://youtu.be/ZmZ9lA4z8fc