Now in its 7th year the Yamba Prawn Bowl (basketball carnival) held at the RLSC over the weekend proved it has become the must attend premier preseason basketball carnival for teams in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland. This year saw a rise in team nominations with the two court stadium packed to capacity, with 25 teams attending.
A Grade men were split into two pools and all other grades battled it out through the rounds on Saturday. It was hard to judge any clear favourites in all grades due to the close competition.
In the B Grade women, all teams had a chance to make the grand final coming into the final round on Sunday. Bellingen just managed to get over Yamba by four points with Bellingen moving through to the final. Byron Bay went through to the final defeating Ballina quite convincingly. The B women’s final saw Bellingen defeat Byron Bay 30 to 22.
The B Grade men was a tight competition overall with Grafton and Ballina making it through to the finals after a tough physical round of games. The final saw Grafton settle and take full control, utilising all players to grind out a win 45 points to 37.
The A women saw a three way tie in the round games with “The Wrek” from Byron Bay finishing first on for and against, taking on 4th placed side Bellingen and the Jaca Queens finishing 2nd taking on Norfolk and Chance from the Gold Coast.
The Wrek went through to the final unopposed with the Jaca Queens fighting through a tough win against Norfolk & Chance. This set up the A women’s final with The Wrek taking on the Jaca Queens. From the tip off the Jaca Queens controlled the game and become Prawn Bowl title holders for the first time.
With 10 teams battling it out for the A Grade men’s Prawn Bowl it came down to the final four. The young State League side of Tamworth took on Beef Truck, a Northern NSW based side. Beef Truck went through to the final. The second semi-final saw Bellingen Orange take on Ballina. Ballina showed great skill to move into the semi-finals defeating the Power House of Byron Bay. Ballina went into this semi as favourites but the Bellingen boys overcame their favoured opponents winning 42 to 37.
The grand final featuring Bellingen and Tamworth had spectators expecting an easy win from Tamworth as Tamworth. From the tip off Bellingen tried to blow Tamworth off the court. James Whitby scored 19 out of Bellingen first half total score of 23 and was taking Tamworth apart single-handedly. The second half started with more of the same. James did start tiring and Tamworth managed to pick up steals through poor passing and eventually ran away 49 to 43 points winners. Tamworth was extremely excited about their first Prawn Bowl win and are convinced this will hold them in good stead for a successful 2016 State League season.
Yamba basketball community would like to thank all the referees who helped out this weekend especially Andrew Lothian. Local trawler fisherman Daniel Toyer and father of three Junior Trawler basketballers provided the magnificent Yamba prawns for the winning teams fresh on Sunday morning. All of the volunteers who helped with the BBQ and scoring games Jo Morgan and Roma Brotherson and of course all the teams for coming.