Scottish Universities 49-78 English Universities
England needed victory to clinch a third successive Home Nations crown. With their women, who had earlier defeated Scotland to take the women’s championship, watching on, there was an element of pressure on the broad shoulders of the English, who posed matchup problems for the Scots at all positions. It was, in the end, a comfortable victory for England, who used a big third quarter run to end any hopes of a Scottish comeback.
The first half was closer than many anticipated, with England leading by only eight at half-time. St Mirren and Stirling University teammates Chris Cleary and Neil Fraser had come out strongly for Scotland, with 11 and ten points respectively at the half-way point; Cleary also contributing seven rebounds and three blocks in the first half. England were led by Adrian Fenyn on 14 points, who was to top-score with 18 going into the third quarter.
A 4-19 run from the English to start the second-half gave the Scots a huge problem and though the remainder of the quarter showed only a 6-7 advantage for the English, their blistering start gave them a 43-67 lead entering the fourth quarter. Fenyn still led the English scorers, but eight other English players had registered points in the third quarter as they sought to show that it was not only their women’s team who could boast formidable depth of squad, in both ability and size. Dan Donnelly scored six in the third for Scotland, but with only Fraser and Cleary registering further points, Scotland struggled to eat into the commanding English lead.
The final quarter of the championships saw a dour opening spell, with England scoring only six points to Scotland’s two, and things were not to improve. The quarter finished 6-11 to England for a final margin of victory of 29, which reflected the huge English advantages in height, size and depth. England were worthy champions, with only the Northern Irish really challenging them throughout the week’s play, and the Home Nations title will stay with England for a third year in succession.
Players of the game
Scotland: Chris Cleary was Scotland’s best player, playing through a shoulder injury to tally 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Neil Fraser’s 12 points were a solid effort, while Dan Donnelly shot an efficient 3/4 from the field.
England: Adrian Fenyn’s 18 points and 10 rebounds were game-highs, with Reed Doucette contributing 12 points. No English player played more than 23 minutes, demonstrating the formidable depth of their squad in a team effort.