Tamworth U14 boys earn a shot at State Cup

TAMWORTH Under 14 Boys’ Division 2 Northern Junior League champions are off to Sutherland for a State Cup basketball showdown.

The Jaydn Hinson-coached side earned a crack at the State Cup after it won its NJL Division 2 title in Grafton on Sunday with a 45-26 win over Port Macquarie Dolphin Under 14 2s.

The Port Macquarie side had inflicted the first NJL Division 2 defeat on the Thunderbolt juniors in the Saturday morning semi-final, the Tamworth Thunderbolts losing 29-28,  team manager Phillip Pearce said.

“They got us by a point,” he said.

“We had to play Bellinger Valley Braves in a preliminary final on Saturday afternoon and won that 63-52 to earn a final against the Dolphins.

Coach Jaydn Hinson (back) with his NJL Division 2-winning Under 14 Tamworth Thunderbolts basketball side (back row from left) Jack Weatherall, John Sainsbury, Ben Pearce, Blake Russell, Izack Fuller (front from left) Jacob Collier, Tom Sheppeard, Jack Connell, Julius Fletcher, Cayden Fletcher.  Photo: Gareth Gardner  150714GGC01

Coach Jaydn Hinson (back) with his NJL Division 2-winning Under 14 Tamworth Thunderbolts basketball side (back row from left) Jack Weatherall, John Sainsbury, Ben Pearce, Blake Russell, Izack Fuller (front from left) Jacob Collier, Tom Sheppeard, Jack Connell, Julius Fletcher, Cayden Fletcher. Photo: Gareth Gardner 150714GGC01

“We improved and played well. We couldn’t ask for a better bunch of boys.”

Hinson agreed.

“It was awesome,” he said.

“It was great fun and they’re  a great bunch of boys.

“Looking after them was hard –  they are so energetic.

“You’ve got to be really alert with them but they have worked hard and trained hard too.

“We’ve done four hours a week with them.”

 Pearce said the side now heads to Sydney to play at Sutherland on August 17-18 in the State Cup.

“They’ve done really well to get there,” he said.

“Jaydn Hinson said they will “have some good competition down there.

“That will test them but we have a couple of practice games against Quirindi and the Division 1 14s  before we go.”

The Tamworth side also went into the finals without one of its talented players –Cayden Fletcher.

“He broke his arm a week before the finals,” Pearce said.

Cayden received his NJL gold medal from coach Hinson in a brief ceremony before the team gathered for a NJL winners’ shot for The Leader  on Tuesday.

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