Grainger Cup in Queens hands

Gloucester City Queens 88-42 Reading Rockets

Gloucester City Queens won their first game in franchise history in comfortable style as they lifted the first ever Grainger Cup with an 88-42 victory over the Reading Rockets.

The Queens looked calm and collected in their first preseason match of the year, with Maura Fitzpatrick leading the team with 29 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

Showings from Marlee Ball and Melita Emmanuel-Carr also helped the Queens dominate the game, jumping to a 40-point lead by the end of the third quarter.

Despite the Rockets putting up a fight late in the fourth quarter, it had come too late as Gloucester took home their first ever win and trophy.

A starting five of Inma Bautista, Emmanuel-Carr, Ball, Fitzpatrick and Layla Hall got the home side off to a strong start as they scored eight unanswered points to start the game.

It would take off in the second quarter though, consecutive threes on multiple occasions from the Queens proved too deadly for the Rockets as Gloucester extended their lead to 19, going into the half with a 43-24 scoreline.

It was more of the same to start the second half - the team’s excellent defence allowing the Rockets just four points in the entire third quarter showed off this squad’s potential.

Despite having been together for a matter of weeks, the home side showed off a level of cohesion fit for a WBBL side as they took a convincing win in their first preseason match.

After the game, center Hall gave her plaudits to her new teammates and thanked the fans for their support.

“I think we played really well as a whole; we haven’t been together very long so it’s nice to get a victory in for preseason.

“That’s across the entire team, it was good to see everyone get their minutes in, getting warm and getting used to the game was nice.

“We had quite a few fans here for the first Grainger Cup which was good, it’s nice to play with a great atmosphere.”

Head coach Jay Marriott was pleased with his side’s performance, especially given their limited time with each other.

“It was great, it’s only preseason, we needed repetitions but considering we’ve had eight or so practice sessions together, the girls looked really sharp.

“I just told them to relax and enjoy it, we’ve got to have fun with it. This season, we’re trying to represent, we’ve got a beautiful arena to play in, a really exciting team and we’re ready to play loose and relaxed.”

Marriott also spoke ahead of the game in tribute to Joe Grainger, a player and popular coach who was instrumental to basketball in the South-West who sadly passed away in November last year. “It just gave it that extra spice, I’m only new here, I’m three months in but I’ve spoken to a lot of people and Joe meant a lot to so many from Basketball England.

“I thought [the Grainger Cup] was great, I was glad that we can put our stamp on it because this is something we’ll do every year.”

The Queens start their season off against Cardiff Met Archers on September 25th in their first ever WBBL Cup game at the Archers Arena.

Attendance: 150