... with 4 teams entered from Blackburn, Blackpool, Lancaster and Preston. The league took a round robin format with each team playing each other twice over the course of 6 weeks from mid-June to late-July.
The league was founded to give the opportunity for teams to get a run out during the Summer off season but also to give invaluable experience to level 1 referees and table officials. As hosts, Preston Pride wanted to do things properly with 2 officials, table staff and stats available for each game and for the tournament to be hosted at a high quality venue. The feedback for the league has been very positive and the court space has already been booked for 2020. Lancashire Basketball Association supported the event with Bob McGilveray offering his wealth of experience to both table officials and referees, even refereeing the crunch match between Blackpool and Preston.
Winners - Blackpool
Blackpool dug deep into their squads to see 19 different players represent their club throughout the tournament. Many of their National League squad played mixed with local league players. Winning all 6 games, they were the specialists of the 4th quarter with 3 wins coming with margins of 6 points or less. In the end their quality came through and they ran out deserved winners. Chris Pangan took the tournament MVP for consistent performances including 2, 25+ point games.
Runners Up - Preston Pride
Preston Pride fielded a mixed team with 24 different players representing over the 6 games. The senior men's first and second team members were joined by some of the Under 18 squad present and past as well as some trialling players new to the club. They were beaten only narrowly twice by Blackpool in 2 very exciting games and almost hit 100 points in a shoot off with Blackburn.
Team Captain Danny Farnell commented "I thought summer league was great and a huge success! 6 weeks of good competitive games to learn and compete against some real class players. Not only that, it gave some opportunities for Lancashire's new officials to get some experience on the tables and refereeing."
3rd Place - Lancaster Lions
Lancaster Lions are a brand new club in Lancashire and have only been together for around 5 months or so. They fielded a core squad of 12 players across the games and their team play and cohesion grew throughout the tournament. Through individually understated team play they managed to beat Blackburn twice, with the latter result a nail biting 1 point victory. The lads were a pleasure to play against a watch and played the game the right way.
Captain Carlo Sozzi commented "Lancaster Lions just want to say a big thank to Andrew and everyone in involved in the PSBL - It's been a huge success, the standard was high from the teams invited to the way the entire league has been run and the little extra touches like the statistics have been brilliant." He went on to add "we also just want to say thanks to the refs who throughout the tournament have been patient with us while we got up to speed and always willing to take a moment to help us understand and learn. The entire Lions teams have learnt a lot and we can't wait to come back next season and hopefully push on!"
4th Place - Blackburn
The Blackburn team went through some significant changes after the team from the first couple of weeks struggled to get transport to the venue. Fortunately a number of local players were able to step in to get some game time and the team performed admirably considering. They were unfortunate on a few occasions not to get a win which would have come if the team had longer to gel.
If you would like to participate in PSBL 2020 then please check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PrestonSBL/ or email email@example.com. Thanks again for everyone's support and look forward to seeing you all next year.