Another year another Youth Games! 2005 saw a whole new Borough team grace the floor of Crystal Palace and come away with the nasty taste of 3 losses but a healthy hunger to do better next year.
Not only was the team new but it also featured new coach, Terry Reeve. Having come through Erkenwald's Junior and Senior programmes, Terry has built up his basketball knowledge with mentoring from the likes of Lee McCarthy, Ed Bailey and most of all his good friend and coach Julian Morvan. After the demise of Erks 1, he took a break from playing last season and decided to get his coaching up to standard. Working with the Barking & Dagenham Sports Development Unit he became not only the youngest (at a tender age of just 18) but the only fully qualified Basketball Coach in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
Six weeks before June 5th, the date for the preliminaries, some young new talent arrived at Sydney Russell Leisure Centre for the London Youth Games Trials. Many perished at the first hurdle, but some survived. On the second Friday night training session the team was whittled down to the squad of 20. Coach Reeve put the 20 players through their paces and eventually found his 12 players. In Coach Reeve's words: "One of the most confident and talented teams ever to don a B&D Youth Games Shirt."
Sunday 5th arrived and at 6:30am the team was gathered, wide eyed and ready to ball. The early confidence was dented a little after it was announced that B&D had been drawn in one of the hardest groups in the preliminary tournament comprising Ealing, Brent and Haringey. All three teams being well organised and well established in local leagues.
Even Coach Reeve was worried, but he had confidence in his team and knew that Barking and Dagenham would give them a run for their money. He did acknowledge that, with only a short period of team practice, it was going to be a tough ride for everyone.
The first game was against Ealing and B&D sunk their first points after a shaky first minute. The "5 minute running clock quarters" format made it hard for this new team to settle. Unfortunately Ealing took the lead with a well devised post move but Coach Reeve was determined not to let his team back down. After the 3rd quarter, B&D were down four baskets and Ealing called time out. Coach Reeve took the opportunity to impale the word "DEFENSE" in to his team but sadly that wasn't enough to stop Ealing running out winners. After the game, the team looked disappointed with themselves but a reassuring coach motivated them to look forward to the next game.
For the second game, against Brent, Coach Reeve started his biggest and strongest team which again took us on and off the lead in the first quarter. This was a better performance by B&D and they managed to prevent Brent from running away with a lead through playing a solid 2-3 defense. This gave B&D a chance to open up their 3 point shooters. Even though B&D eventually lost the second game, everyone made a fantastic effort and Coach Reeve decided to make sure everyone got equal court time in the third and final game.
The final game was against Haringey who had also lost their first two games. This meant that B&D were playing for 3rd place in the group. Unfortunately B&D just didn't have the time to settle and Haringey took the points and third place.
Coach Reeve summed up the day: "Every player on the Barking and Dagenham Team played fantastically and with all their heart. They all enjoyed the atmosphere and apart from losing, team spirit was at a high all day. With more time and a better structured team next year, the Outer East London borough are gonna be ready to make a came back. Well played boys fantastic effort we was just unlucky! See ya'll next year, and we might even go through..."
Coach Terry Reeve
1. Damien Regan
2. Joe Akinola
3. Akwere You
4. Chukki N
5. Bode A
6. Omar M
7. Femi A
8. Elvis Mula
9. Darren Wong
10. Elliott O
11. Tameem N
* Matt O
Report posted: 15/06/05