CBL Playoff Final Preview

Shenley Brook End or Bracknell & Wokingham College will be able to etch their name on the CBL trophy for the first time this week, with both teams making their first ever CBL final.

It will also be the inaugural final for the newly-named competition, with the tournament being rebranded from the Academy Basketball League (ABL) to the College Basketball League ahead of the 2022/23 season.

With Shenley Brook End winning Tier Two’s Group A and Bracknell & Wokingham sealing Group C, neither side has met this season, adding an extra layer of intrigue to this year’s showpiece. 

Shenley are still unbeaten this season, going 12-0 in the regular season before adding back-to-back playoff wins against #8 Carmel College and #4 Haringey Sixth Form College.

Bracknell & Wokingham College

Bracknell & Wokingham tied with Haringey at the top of Group C with an 11-1 record, taking top spot via the head-to-head tiebreaker. They’ve built on that record with wins against #6 Nottingham Academy Wildcats and #3 The Crest Academy, punching their ticket to Manchester’s NBPC. 

Both teams were well represented in their group’s end of season awards, with Robertas Barkauskas and Billy Beddow winning MVP and Coach of the Year honours in Group A, whilst MK5D captain William Issekya was a Team of the Year selection. 

Myers Amoo-Gottfried was the Group C MVP, with father Martin claiming the coaching honours from Bracknell & Wokingham. Co-captain Gabe Romero-Sanz was included in the group’s Team of the Year as well. 

MK5D Shenley Brook End head coach Billy Beddow said: “The team is so excited to have made the final.  

“It’s been an amazing year for all our teams in Milton Keynes, but this U19 academy team is particularly special.

“Last year, we started the basketball academy and unfortunately didn’t make the playoffs. Due to their hard work, we now get to compete in the finals.

“We have played Bracknell at U18 Premier level, they’re a talented and well-organised team. We are looking forward to having a really competitive game with them and representing Milton Keynes as best we can.”

Billy Beddow in action

MK5D Shenley Brook End captain William Issekya said: “I’m super proud of the team, we’ve really wanted to achieve this and have been working for it all season.  

“Personally, I’m excited for the opportunity to help MK5D Shenley Brook End to be the first CBL champions.”

Bracknell & Wokingham head coach Martin Amoo-Gottfried said: “We are all very excited about reaching the CBL final.

“It is a culmination of three years of hard work. I’m very proud of what the players have achieved and want them to enjoy this moment.

“I look forward to a tough game against a very good team.”

Bracknell & Wokingham co-captain Gabe Romero-Sanz said: “Last season, we didn’t get where we wanted to be and I feel like this year we have really shown what the team has to offer.

None of us enjoyed the feeling of coming so close to winning it all and this season we are where we are supposed to be. Winning Group C and being in the CBL finals is where BWC deserves to be.

“We have a huge chance of making history for Bracknell and I am confident that we will perform to our fullest.”

This year’s final will take place on Wednesday 29 March 2023 at Manchester’s National Basketball Performance Centre, with a 11:30am tip.

Tickets to attend the final are free, but still need to be purchased for capacity reasons.

To secure your ticket, please head to the Basketball England shop by clicking here.

You can also watch the game online through the Basketball England YouTube account.