Hartlepool HEAT’s season hots up for finale

Hartlepool HEAT (red) V Sunderland.
Hartlepool HEAT (red) V Sunderland.

IT could be a glory-filled end of the season for basketball in Hartlepool with numerous trophies poised to fill town trophy cabinets.

Hartlepool HEAT’s terrific season thus far across junior, women and senior level continues to get better with four of their five teams contending for silverware.

The senior side, seconds and ladies team are all involved in league title deciders and should they be successful they would add to the league crown already attained by the U16s who are also through to the cup final.

The U16s, already league champions, beat Middlesbrough Lions in the U16 Durham County Cup semi final this Sunday to maintain their aspirations of a season double.

They beat the Lions 40-34 in a hard fought game at Eston where despite HEAT always in front their lead came under constant threat.

But come the end 17 net points for Andrew Busby, nine for Jonathan Mee and eight for Jade Walton ensured progression to the final.

Senior side captain and U16s coach Anthony Robinson delighted in victory.

He told SportMail: “I am so proud of the team today.

“The team have worked so hard but it’s not over yet. Now we are in the finals we want to win it not just make the numbers up.”

HEAT’s seniors, second in the Durham Basketball League Division 1, are one game away from being League Cup winners.

Robinson radiated confidence when speaking to SportMail about the side’s home semi final against Houghton.

He said: “We have had some good battles with Houghton and Sunday will be no different.

“They will have a league and cup double in mind too but we can certainly upset them.

“They have only lost one game this season and the two times we played them we ran them really close and the last match went down to the last shot of the game.”

The men’s second team are top of Division 2 but have played two more games than title rivals Stockton Rams and two teams’ head-to-head on March 12 will decide the title’s destiny.

What is certain, though, is the second team’s appearance at finals day, to be held at Sunderland University’s Olympic-sized basketball arena.

“Our seconds are in the League Cup final and could play the Rams in the finals,” Robinson explained.

“The Division 2 Cup is one of only a few trophies the club is yet to win and these last few team performances will be crucial if the team are to succeed.”

The ladies, undoubtedly the region’s best team in recent years, have not let-up in their league and cup dominance this year.

Undefeated in Division One, the upcoming away game at second-placed East Durham will determine whether or not the women are champions.

A further aim is to defend the County Cup they have been victors of for the past two seasons.

The first hurdle to ensure a third consecutive success is to beat a strong Nunthorpe outfit, a task by no means a guarantee, as coach Sharon Weatherill attests.

“Although we still haven’t lost a game we have some tough games ahead including two games against Nunthorpe and East Durham which are never easy games,” she said.

“However we have a strong side this year and I’m confident we can be successful.

“It would be excellent for the club and the town if we could claim the title again and win the county cup for a third year in a row.”