On 10 November 2014 the Inter-Corps Basketball Tournament commenced at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham.
After getting all of the players together for a training week in Deepcut I felt we were strong contenders to win this. A lot of our top players had just returned from Op Herrick 20 and the last time we won this tornement was 7 years ago.
Our first game on the Monday afternoon was against the 2013 Champions, The Infantry. Our tactics were to work them hard on our offence plays and we comfortably beat them by ten points. The guys were massively up-beat after this game, especially having beaten last year’s winners.
The Royal Engineers were next up and they are a well drilled and disciplined team. We had another strong team performance with excellent plays from Cpl Fostin, Pte Evans and Pte Fenton. We had to be defensively strong and LCpl Murray battled as our centre picking up any rebounds. We overcame the RE by 67 ‘ 52 points. Another strong performance by The RLC team.
Our next two games were both wins over the AMS and the Royal Artillery. Outstanding performances from Cpl Fostin and Sgt Jones really put pressure on the their defence. That was it – we were in the crossover Semi finals. We were Pool A winners. We were up against Pool B runners up, Royal Signals next. This was a very hard game they put lots of pressure on us throughout shooting a fair few three pointers which put us on the back foot in the 3rd quarter. Sgt Stedroy Perkins, our captain and my assistant coach came off the bench, and with that the game changed due to his experience and drive. We drove constantly on their basket putting bags of pressure on the defence. This game went down to the wire, I was thinking please let us not have a repeat of last year.
I rotated the bench continuously bringing on fresh players, which paid off and we won that game on pure fitness, by two points. That was it we were in the Final, the guys went “crazyâ€. We all knew this was ours to lose. The final was between us and our biggest Basketball rivals the REME, whose record over the years has been very good. The boys were massively up for this and very focused. As the guys were warming up I stood there watching the crowd of supporters chanting “RLC, RLCâ€ We had fantastic support from our Women’s team and B team players as well as from other Corps’. As the referees called the players in for our one minute warning, I got the team together and told them to believe in themselves and stay focussed, but the most of all go out. The Team had enjoy it and play a good game. Well this was a fantastic game to watch for the neutrals, and one of our hardest games for a long time. We were down by 7 points in the 3rd quarter, but we kept the pressure on throughout.
Cpl Fostin played exceptionally throughout scoring point after point. However, this was a fantastic team performance. I don’t think I’ve been so nervous. We eventually ran out as winners and Inter Corps Champions , 66 -64 points. As that buzzer went at the end it was a sense of relief, joy, commitment and achievement. We had a standing ovation which was fantastic. Cpl Fostin achieved MVP (Most valuable player) which was a fantastic achievement.
I hand over Corps coach next year, but I can honestly say I will be going out on a high – Seven years is a long time in the waiting. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in RLC Basketball past and present, especially Col Nick Byrne for all his support, along with Maj Alli Shields and our Women’s Captain WO2 (SSM) Wendy Eagle. I wish Sgt Perkins and Sgt Jones all the success for the future as the new coaches.