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The University’s National Basketball League (NBL) team celebrated winning the final of the National Shield, a major national basketball competition which was held at the Sports Dock in London.

This was the first time the team has reached the finals of the National Shield, which is a knockout competition where only NBL Division Three and Four teams are eligible to play.

The NBL team competed against London BC Medelynas in a tense game. By the final quarter, the BC Medelynas were leading by eight points, but Chester played a strong game in the final five minutes to win, with a final score of 88-83.

Most Valuable Player (MVP) was awarded to Phil Brandreth, who scored 23 points with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Head Coach, Chris Wilson, said: “To win feels absolutely brilliant. I thought we’d lost it at the start of the fourth. We went cold on offence and we couldn’t get the stops we needed but we really came together as a team and showed some great resilience to get the win.”

The University’s Cheerleading squad, the Chester Vixens, also competed in the Future Cheer National Championships over the weekend, at Manchester Central Arena. Cheerleading teams across the country competed.

The competition saw University teams from across the UK battle it out with a routine filled with stunts, gymnastics, dance and synchronised jumps, as well as a separate stunt-only performance which also won first place.

Chester Vixens claimed the coveted Ultimate Champion prize, as well as Division and Grand Champions, with a score of 97.31%, beating the other 120 teams in attendance.

Zoe and Millie Deponeo, both aged 21, from Chester, are the Club Captains of Chester Vixens. They said: “We are so proud to have represented the University of Chester so well, and bring home the gold. The majority of our athletes are brand new to cheerleading, which makes the win all the more sweeter. With provisional recognition as an Olympic sport, we can’t wait to see where cheerleading will take us in the future!”

More sporting success comes from Sports Scholar, Laura Turley, aged 22, from Deeside, who studies Sport Science at the University. Laura placed 11th in the Women’s 400m at the British Indoor Championships at Arena Birmingham.

Laura said: “I achieved a personal best of 54.67 seconds and really surprised myself – I wasn’t expecting a personal best so early on in the year,  but I felt really strong and held my own throughout the races, so I knew my hard training has been paying off. I enjoyed the whole experience so much. This is the start of only my second season competing over the 400m, so to have been in races and actually be competitive with the best athletes in the country was really amazing.”

Laura also recently won gold at the Welsh Athletics Indoor Championships 2019, successfully defending her 400m title at the National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cardiff. Laura competed against 14 of the country’s top athletes across two rounds of competition, before finally crossing the finish line with a time of 55.94 seconds.

Laura added: “One of my main goals is to win a medal at the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championships next weekend. I placed fourth last year, so I got really close. My ultimate goal is to compete in the Commonwealth Games in 2022 - so I’ve got a few years to train for that!”

Laura will be competing in the BUCS Championships next weekend in Sheffield.

Sarah Latham, Student Activity Manager, Chester Students’ Union, said: “We are extremely proud of the achievements of all the sports over the weekend. The determination and hard work has really paid off and we are excited to see further success over the next couple of months.”

Gordon Reay, Director of Sport and Active Lifestyle at the University, added: “We have been working closely with the Students' Union over the past five years to support our sports teams to achieve at the highest level. Whether that is providing facilities, coaching, strength and conditioning, or sports scholarships, the University has progressively increased its funding for sports. We are delighted that the investment has paid dividends and it is testament to all the hard work from many individuals that these successes have come to fruition. We are delighted that our partnership with the Students' Union is going from strength to strength.”

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