23rd February 2013
The 11th of February saw Varsity Basketball make its debut at the Capital FM Arena, a massive event which the URN Sport Team covered live on the night. The men’s and women’s basketball games were the second and third fixtures in an action-packed season of Varsity events still to come.
Sachin Gosai & David Akosim were hosts for the evening, and as they explained, beyond the rivalry, the Varsity Series raises massively important sums of money for charity. This year the Series is supporting local Nottingham charity Headway, which supports sufferers of brain injuries.
Events such as these require a huge amount of organisation to get off the ground. Not only that, but even as big an event as basketball at the Capital FM only comprises just one part of the overall tournament. We spoke to AU Officer Jonny Bell to find out more about the work that goes into making the Varsity Series happen.
Just as our broadcast was starting, the Nottingham University Women’s Basketball Team were wrapping up a comprehensive 51-47 win over their Trent counterparts. In spite of the fairly narrow scoreline, the Uni ladies had been in control throughout. We caught up with their captain to hear how the Varsity win topped off their season.
URN was proud to welcome Bruce Lauder of the Nottingham Hoods as an expert pundit to help us commentate on the night’s proceedings. He gave his predictions on how he felt the game would pan out.
As part of our collaboration with the Nottingham Hoods, URN were in the privileged position to give away free tickets to Nottingham Hoods vs Derby Trailblazers to some lucky members of the Arena audience. We sent out intrepid roaming reporter Rob Schofield out to meet the fans, give away some tickets, and get a taste of the building atmosphere.
Basketball isn’t the most mainstream of sports in the UK, so we gave a quick rundown of the basic rules for the uninitiated before the game tipped off.
Bruce would be joined in the commentary box by URN’s own Luke Baker, who was introduced by David & Sachin and gave his take on how the men’s game could unfold.
As the players lined up on the court for the National Anthem, Luke and Bruce gave their predictions for the evening, and pointed out which players on each team could be expected to make the difference.
With an electric atmosphere unfolding across the Arena, the men’s game began!
But it was Trent who came out of the blocks best, taking advantage of a sloppy Uni start and pressing their advantage to establish a clear early lead.
With Uni behind already, at the end of the first quarter Patrick Hildred got SU President Amos Teshuva’s take on the game so far. Amos was able to draw on his own experience of playing in goal for Uni at last year’s Varsity Football clash.
As the second quarter unfolded Uni failed to gain ground, with Trent consolidating their lead over them.
Clearly, changes were needed at half-time. Sachin & David discussed what could be going on in the two team’s dressing rooms with Bruce. At the same time, we were treated to a visual spectacle from the Nottingham Uni Knights and Nottingham Trent Tigers cheerleading squads.
The crowd were full of anticipation as the third quarter began, and Luke picked Bruce’s brain for answers to how Uni could overcome the deficit.
Unfortunately, Uni still failed to put their foot on the accelerator, and the third quarter proved a dull one. The only consolation came from the fact that Trent’s performance also faded.
The end of the third quarter left Uni still looking to get back into the game. Sachin & David speculated as to whether growing tiredness would leave the teams liable to making mistakes, and open up more opportunities in the final quarter.
The fourth quarter started with a bang – Uni game out firing on all cylinders and did not let up the pressure, beginning an incredible surge back into contention.
Bruce pointed out that as the final quarter unfolded, Uni did a particularly good job of neutralising Trent’s key player, JoJo Ansah, who had become their only attacking outlet. With him taken out of the game, Uni could attack with impunity.
With just one minute of play left, and Uni leading by the narrowest of margins, the tension in the Arena reached massive heights. Both fans were making massive amounts of noise, but both teams’ players did not let their concentration slip.
The game ended with an incredible comeback victory for Uni which, in the immortal words of Luke Baker, sent Uni fans into raptures, “dancing on the corridors of the Portland Building”!
With a massive result in the bag for Uni, Sachin & David discussed with Bruce which players had turned it around for Uni.
Likewise, they analysed the reasons why, despite their early dominance, Trent had proved unable to hold on and fix themselves a win.
Ultimately, Bruce put forward Uni’s Nigerian small forward Ibey Ajgabe as the night’s Man of The Match, as his engine-room performance had provided Uni with the means to get back into the game, and had provided a platform for other players, such as the talented Aaron Brown, to perform to their peak
Rob Schofield grabbed a word with the celebrating Ajgabe & Brown as they savoured their victory in front of the doting Uni fans.
He also spoke to Uni’s coach, who emphasised that it was a team victory, hard-won by all of the players in his squad.
With two superb victories in the bag for the Nottingham University Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams, David and Sachin summed up the night’s action, and looked forward to the rest of this year’s Varsity Series still to come.
Special thanks to Bruce Lauder and the Nottingham Hoods for their participation in this broadcast.