So what is a Parliamentary sketch? Well it is usually a story of something that happens in Parliament which maybe the cameras didn’t catch, something off beat, but none the less, something which is really interesting.

Well I think I might have had the equivalent of my own Parliamentary sketch last weekend.

I am talking of-course of the BBL Cup Final at the National Indoor Arena Birmingham. For weeks now I have been raving about this year’s BBL Cup following two great semi-finals between the Plymouth Raiders and the Guildford Heat and the Newcastle Eagles and the Everton Tigers.

In the end the Tigers won more comprehensively than any other BBL Trophy has ever been won.

When I am doing commentary I always say at the end of the game congratulations to whoever has won and commiserations to whoever has lost. On Sunday I really needed something much stronger. Commiserating with the Plymouth Raiders really didn’t seem strong enough. I just wanted to hug each and every member of their fantastic travelling support.

I know Gary Stronach and I know the Plymouth Raiders and I know they will put up a better show next time.

The Tigers of course are only two years old and what the have achieved in this time is quite remarkable. Congratulations must go to the whole organisation from Chairman Gary Townsend down.

I am delighted for a number of people; for Henry Mooney who was smiling long before the final whistle. For Tony Garbelotto who, as one of out top basketball journalists noted, has finally got the monkey off his back.

I was delighted for Richard Midgley who is proving what I have known for many years, that he is a great guard and hopefully that will hold him in good stead for the GB exploits in Poland this summer.

I am delighted for Chris Haslam who was a rock in the Final. When you read some of the crap that’s been written about him on-line, I think he has answered in the best possible way. I am so happy for Donna and for all the volunteers and fans of the organisation.

Oh yea and for Tigers mascot Toxteth who showed real Merseyside cool all night long. I could go on but I won’t.

So what was the equivalent of the Parliamentary sketch?

Well as you may know I was Master of Ceremonies for the event while John Walker did the commentary on the game. I therefore had no official seat at the table so I found a chair and stuck it at the end of the table next to the sound guys Philip and David. They are the Sharks sound guys who are the best in the business and who get used for all the major basketball events. This meant that my chair was right behind the substitute chairs on the Tigers side.

All went well until Gill Cody who looks after the dancers Cody’s Cats, at the Tigers also found herself with nowhere to sit. So we played musical chairs all evening.

Luckily for me I was able to secure the seat to get ready for the official end of game celebrations. Now I have to tell you that during all the over 30 years I have been involved with basketball, you could count on one hand the number of times a player has actually spoken to me during a game.

Late in this game Andre Smith who had been on the bench, laughing and joking with Dorsey, (yet another winner’s medal) and Josh Gross (a medal in his walking clothes), was sent back out on to the floor by Coach Garbelotto.

He was on the subs chair for a while and he leaned over to me and said, “Who you got for MVP?”

“Bad news” I said “I got Marcus Bailey, he’s been awesome tonight!” “Well we’ll have to see about that,” says Andre.

Smith already had a bucket full of points and rebounds and to most fans he was probably the MVP but, in my opinion, Marcus Bailey had done more on the floor. As well as his points, he had effectively shut down the Raiders biggest threat Andrew Lasker who would end up with just 9 points.

So Andre steps on the floor and nails two monster threes and that was that. He got the nomination as MVP in his first final in the BBL.

Now I have to say I have nothing to do with picking the official MVP and reading the on-line stuff many people, including it seems Andre, thought that Marcus should have got it but by the end it could have gone either way, and I have no complaints. They both finished with 26 points and 4 assists but Andre out rebounded Marcus by 10 to 3.

I think the threes at the end secured it for Andre. He knew that it was close and that he needed something extra to get him over the line, so he went out and did it.

I wonder who made him think it was close.


Mike S

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