Eastwood Excel in Essex Competition

On 11th January a mixture of Yr 8 and 9 Basketball players took part in the South Essex County Basketball tournament. The competition in Essex is always well represented within the basketball community. County Champions St Martins and the likes of Shenfield and Southend make this tournament a very difficult trophy to win.

The boys performance on the day was nothing but exceptional. An early win over newly formed rivals Shenfield put the boys in high spirits and instilled a belief that took them through the day. Our mixture of Yr 8 and 9 pupils, who have never played together before gelled instantly. With no other school following suit and splitting the team up equally between yr 8 and 9 we were at a disadvantage going into the tournament. There was a transparency between the two sets of players, which has been nurtured and encouraged with the “Team Eastwood” ethos allowing all of the pupils to form united front against the other schools.

The 2nd game proved to be a set back against an unknown Gable Hall who showed a level of athleticism beyond belief. This brought the boys back to reality. We had to work hard and focus if we wanted to come away with the trophy today, but all was not lost. We just had to win our last 2 games to be within a chance of victory.

Our third game was against the old rivals. England vs Scotland, Philippines vs Vietnam, none of them compares to the rivalry over the years.  Tears have been shed and sweat has been left on the tracks, football pitches and basketball courts. Southend High vs Eastwood is the pinnacle of the sporting calendar in any sport. The rivalry now filters down through the pupils and parents. Some would say an unhealthy rivalry, but always a game played in high spirits, intensity and desire. The boys did us proud, a narrow victory put Southend out of contention and us back in the driving seat. Although down at half time, the glorious motivational speech by Mr Pearl, emulating Smithy’s speech at the Sports Personality of the Year awards, invoked a desire in the boys. A quick few baskets and we were back in the lead. From there we were never going to let them back in. Another victory and only the County champions, favourites and the club basketball players of St Martins stood in our way and a memorable tournament victory.

 It was the moment of truth, could a small school that only started playing basketball 5 years ago beat the might St Martins. The St Martins teams have owned the county title over recent years with no schools even close to competing. Today was no exception. Comfortable wins throughout the day, brushing aside team after team. The discussion at the start of the game was about pride and what we had already achieved. This had already been a fantastic day with the team performing way beyond our expectations. Mr Pearl and I quietly discussed the idea of a loss less than 15 points as a victory for Eastwood.

Little did we know the performance that the boys put in. 2-0 up, 4-0 up and still pressing! The boys went out of the block like Mr Futcher out of the car park. We were competing with them, not only that, but controlling the play. Ellis Brealey having the game of his life and the Cameron Carter Vickers performing beyond his years. The scores at half time were tight. A few points separated the mighty ST Martins and our mixture of yr 8 and 9 pupils. The game went right to the wire. The final score separated the teams by just 1 point. The boys came off the court dripping, Drew Rawlinson’s hair wrapped around his face from the sweat. The desire, determination and team spirit the boys had shown to go on to the court and perform as they did was a credit to themselves and the school.  They had lost the final game by 1 point. A remarkable achievement undoubtedly providing lasting memories that will stay with these boys for years to come. Overall we had finished Runner up. A day that truly represented the nature of Eastwood School.

Entering the event as a hopefuls and leaving with a heads held high as Runners Up.

Eastwood Yr 8 and 9 Essex Cup Runners up team;Ellis Brealy, Drew Rawlinson, Brogan Griffiths, Callum Heath, Luke Gouslin, Rhys Faleye, Conner Summerhill, Reece Gunn, Cameron Carter Vickers, Rees Price and Scott Williams.

Report by Mr Judd

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