The postponed WBBL Cup Final has been rescheduled and will be contested by the original line-up of Leicester Riders and Sevenoaks Suns on Friday 12th February 2021 at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.
Sevenoaks Suns had previously withdrawn from the originally scheduled date in January due to Covid-19 concerns and were to be replaced by Nottingham Wildcats, who they beat in the semi-final. Their reinstatement to the Final was decided by a vote of all WBBL clubs in line with Covid-19 rule amendments.
Len Busch, Sevenoaks Suns’ Head Coach, commented “We are thrilled to be getting back to basketball starting with the Cup Final on February 12th. It will pit two of the top WBBL teams of the past few years in a Final. We have met Riders in 4 finals in recent years, two Trophies and two Playoff finals. I am hopeful that it will be a good advertisement for the WBBL and our talented athletes.”
The WBBL Cup Final will be live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports YouTube with coverage starting at 5pm GMT, with tip-off at 5.30pm.
Suns WBBL team suspended all play in January due to the pandemic
On January 12th, Sevenoaks Suns announced that due to the current pandemic situation, their WBBL team decided to postpone all matches until the end of the international window on February 8th, 2021 which included withdrawing from the WBBL Cup Final originally scheduled for January 24th, 2021. They shared the below open letter to the whole basketball community explaining their decision:
As a founding member of the WBBL, we, the players, and staff of Sevenoaks Suns have always prided ourselves on standing up for what we believe and doing things the right way.
After deliberating and discussing with all members of our WBBL program, we have decided we cannot participate in any league games until after the end of the National team break on February 13th at the earliest. Also, we cannot play in the Cup Final on January 24th. This decision is not taken lightly but is made with consideration for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones and our Sevenoaks community.
We appreciate all the work that has gone into making it possible for our league to continue. We also realize what a great opportunity it would be for the club to play the Cup Final on Sky. That being said, the COVID situation in the UK has markedly changed since we started our season in November and this has hit Suns especially hard.
We have multiple players whose important work puts them in regular contact with the public. For example, we have a player who works in the NHS. Another player is a physiotherapist working with COVID patients. A third player is a teacher. Many of our players live with families, some members of which are elderly or otherwise vulnerable. These circumstances make any form of bubble impossible.
We love playing basketball and we love playing in the WBBL. To decide to not play has been a painful decision for us to take but we are united and believe that suspending our participation is the right thing for us to do for the health and safety of our players, coaches and families.
We will meet weekly as a team and continue to monitor the situation. Hopefully, the urgency of the situation will lessen, facilities will reopen and we will find a way to get started again.
Our hope is that everyone will understand our situation and know that we are committed to the WBBL and all the promise it holds for women’s basketball in the UK.
Sevenoaks Suns, WBBL