Spartan Nomads finished 2nd in the league with a 11 & 3 record, they are current Cup holders.
Exeter University II finished 4th with a 8 & 6 record and a ‘mixed’ bag of results, but want to gain something from their season.
They have met twice in the league this season, both sides winning at home, University 56-47 and Spartan Nomads 64-53
With the gap in season records this match might appear to be a ‘one-sided’ affair, but Exeter University II had just beaten the Division I Champions to book their space in the final, so they were not to be overlooked.
The first two finals had been very tentative in their starts, not the Premier Play Off Final which started with 3’s from both sides. The baskets flowed both directions and that doesn’t mean that defence didn’t play a part as that was just as determined, the 1st quarter ended 20 – 17 to Spartan Nomads I.
Nomads were clearly unhappy that they had been unable to shake off Exeter University II and in the start of the 2nd quarter they set about building a lead with Henri LITTLE, James HORRELL and then Ryan PARKER-BOWKER turning the screw on the University side, they outscored the University side 19 – 8 and therefore led at half time 39 – 25.
The 14 point lead was substantial, but during the break University II had re-focused and came out firing in the 2nd half, and when Jamie MUNBY sank a 3 on the buzzer to end the quarter the lead for Nomads had been reduced to 9, not substantial BUT in the right direction, Nomads led 52 – 43.
In the 4th quarter Exeter University II continued the comeback, after the first 3 minutes they were just 4 points behind (51 – 55), Spartan Nomads dropped a couple of 3 pointers to keep their lead, but it was being chipped away and with 3 minutes to go (and a time out called by Nomads) they were holding on 58 – 62. University had noisy student support (as can be expected), and this game was becoming too close to call, LITTLE sank a 2, but University came back with 4 points, entering the 9th minute the score is 62 – 64 Nomads.
Just at the right time Henri LITTLE sank his 1st 3 of the match, 67 – 62, surely that makes the game safe, but SAATORI gets a basket, and then another, moving into the final minute Spartan Nomads had a 1-point lead 67 – 66, this was tense, University fouled to get the possibility of the ball back, Ryan PARKER-BOWKER to the line, scores the first 68 – 66, misses the 2nd, University rebound, and despite much effort and two further offences, no further score was made and Spartan Nomads I take the trophy.
This game was a LOT closer than could have been expected, that is credit to both times, and a demonstration of the standard in our game, congratulation to Spartan Nomads on the win, and Exeter University II on the standard of competition, if you can bear to watch the match again, it is on our YouTube Channel: