Myerscough Basketball Academy is finally making its return to the European Youth Basketball League (EYBL), beginning their 2022-23 season this weekend.
Following the 2019-2021 season which saw Myerscough claim the regular season crown, the Academy re-signed with the European competition for an additional two years, but basketball – and international travel – was put on pause due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Myerscough will open its third regular season in Valmiera, Latvia on Friday (September 23) against Sweden’s Haga BG Dolphins, before group fixtures against RIG Lulea (Sweden), KFUM CB (Sweden), JBA Gradia (Finland) and Bracknell Cobras (United Kingdom). RIG Lulea are the only familiar faces who have been opponents in Myerscough’s previous two European campaigns.
Myerscough EYBL Stage 1 Schedule (All Times EEST / UK):
Friday, Sept. 23 – Haga BG Dolphins vs. Myerscough BA (12:00pm / 10:00am UK)
Friday, Sept. 23 – Myerscough BA vs. RIG Lulea (6:00pm / 4:00pm UK)
Saturday, Sept. 24 – KFUM CB vs Myerscough BA (1:30pm / 11:30am UK)
Saturday, Sept. 24 – Myerscough BA vs. JBA Gradia (7:30pm / 5:30pm UK)
Sunday, Sept. 25 – Myerscough BA vs. Bracknell Cobras/BWC Playmakers (12:00pm / 10:00am UK)
“It is safe to say that we have missed the competition and the experience that the EYBL provides, so it means a huge amount to be heading back out to Europe,” said Myerscough head coach Neal Hopkins. “That season (2019-20) was the best we have ever had – to win the regular season and progress to the SuperFinal again spoke volumes about the progress that we had made.
“There was certainly some unfinished business at the end of the season both abroad and domestically and I know our guys would’ve risen to the task if given the chance. To be able to be back on that stage and give a new group a chance to re-establish ourselves and work towards a new set of goals with their own challenges will be exciting.”
Myerscough amassed a 26-5 regular season record and a 27-7 mark overall in its initial two years in the league, which included booking back-to-back trips to the SuperFinal. The Academy finished fourth at their first-ever appearance at the year-end showpiece event, but never got a chance to play in the 2020 SuperFinal that was cancelled.
By virtue of its 14-1 record during the 2019-20 season, Myerscough made history by becoming the first British basketball team at any level to win a season-long European competition.
Neal adds: “We are two years removed from the title-winning year and a lot has changed. Our mantra was to go to Europe and earn credibility as a programme—which we did—and we will head back to Europe as a programme that is now known, but in reality, we will be back at the beginning with a new group of players. You really need continuity at that level to be successful and will work towards that over the next few seasons.”
The competition, which is a 15-game regular season staged over three phases before culminating in a four-team final, features some of the top under-20 players from EuroLeague, Champions League and Europe Cup established clubs.
“It is a huge challenge on a number of levels but one that has really helped in shaping the pathway for those who have been through it. To experience playing at an unfamiliar level against teams with a huge history is a privilege, the EYBL is an amazing opportunity.”
For more information about the EYBL, visit: www.eybl.lv