U-16 boys denied play-off spot

Albans Wolves were extremely disappointed to learn that their under-16 boys’ team wil not qualify for the play-offs after a ruling by Basketball England.

Adam Pearce’s team finished as one of three teams in 4-6th place with 9-7 records in NBL Premier East. In these circumstances the final placings are decided by collating the results of the games between the teams. The results were as follow:

Ipswich 62 Thunder 78

Thunder 69 Ipswich 78

Thunder 69 Wolves 78

Ipswich 63 Wolves 56


Due to a decision by Basketball England to subdivide each premier division into two with teams playing sides in their own group twice and sides in the other group once, Wolves did not play Ipswich or London Thunder at home, finishing with one less game in the mini league table. We believed that the final table would look like this:

Ipswich W 2 L 1 66.7% Diff 0

Wolves W 1 L 1 50% Diff +2

Thunder W 1 L 2 Diff -2 33.3%

However Basketball England awarded Thunder a losing point from their defeat against Ipswich and ruled the final mini league table was as follows:

Team Won Loss F A Diff league points

Ipswich 2 1 203 203 0 7

London Thunder 1 2 225 209 16 5

St Albans 1 1 125 141 -16 4


Effectively Thunder have been put in fifth place because they played – and lost – one more “mini-league2 game than Wolves. Our suggestion that percentage wins should be used in this instance due to an uneven number of games played have fallen on deaf ears despite an admission from BE that a rule should have been inserted to cover this possibility – with six divisions working on this fixture it was almost inevitable.

When teams from different divisions are compared for play-off plying percentage wins are used. Wolves U-16 girls have the highest number of wins for a team who finished second. However their 12-3 record is obviously worst that Brentwood Fire’s 9-1 record which saw them finish runners-up in the East division, so Ipswich get the higher seed.

Trevor Riley, Wolves U-16 team manager, had done the maths (he’d even got the point difference correct, unlike BE’s table) and they went into their final game knowing (well, believing) that a win against Kent and a loss for Thunder would seal fifth place. To deny them a place in the play-offs because of a technicality that BE had failed to account for seems incredibly unfair.

We’d like to congratulate Adam and his team on a successful season that saw them finish wit a winning record and reach the National Cup final. We will look to give them one final game as a group together after their rightful place in the play-offs was denied.



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