Doncaster woman and Sheffield Hatters star Helen Naylor ‘buzzing’ after appearance in Great Britain Euro qualifier victory

Helen Naylor in action for GB against Montenegro. Photo: FIBA/Mansoor Ahmed
Helen Naylor in action for GB against Montenegro. Photo: FIBA/Mansoor Ahmed

Sheffield Hatters’ Helen Naylor featured in a thrilling comeback for Great Britain as they rekindled their hopes of qualifying for Eurobasket 2017.

GB trailed Montenegro by 10 points in the last quarter at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester, before hitting back to win 71-67.

And Naylor was buzzing after the match, which lifts GB to 2-2 in Group C, along with Wednesday night’s opponents - although Italy are in pole position after moving to 4-0 with a win in Albania.

The 5ft 11ins forward, from Doncaster, said: “It’s been a fantastic 10 days everyone has been so focused on what we had to do.

“It has been such an honour to pull on the GB vest on home soil and we now keep our hopes alive for Eurobasket and we are definitely setting our sites on that.”

In earlier group games GB had lost 60-48 to Italy and 78-64 to Montenegro but beaten Albania 122-36.

Hatters coach Vanessa Ellis, an assistant with Great Britain, said: “It was a very successful camp, getting two wins - keeping our qualification chances alive.

“The win was one of the biggest in GB women’s history and I’m proud that myself and Helen were part of it.”

* Eight WBBL clubs are to feature in a re-formatted Betty Codona Classic to be hosted by holders Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters on the weekend of Saturday 12 and Sunday, March 13.

The top four teams in the WBBL Championship will fight it out for the BCC Cup and the other four clubs will compete for the BCC Plate.

With four games on each day, it promises to be another terrific event which will showcase the WBBL family.

Saturday will open up with a real cracker as Nottingham Wildcats tip-off the competition against Team Northumbria, a game that will be followed by the other BBC semi-final; a repeat of the 2016 WBBL Trophy final as the Hatters lock horns with Barking Abbey Crusaders.

It is then the turn of Leicester Riders to get the BCC Plate Semi-Finals underway against Brixton Topcats, with Cardiff Met Archers then taking on Sevenoaks Suns.

After a gala dinner on Saturday evening, the two losing semi-finalists from both the BCC Cup and BCC Trophy will play each other on Sunday - followed by the BCC Plate Final and the BCC Cup Final. The action starts at 11am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday.

Weekend tickets are available for Adults at £15 and U16’s at £7.50. There will also be family tickets available for two adults and up to three children for £25 per day or £35 for the entire weekend.

More information about how to obtain tickets will be available soon.

* Hatters, third in the WBBL, are at home to second-placed Team Northumbria on Sunday (2pm).

* The Linbraze Arrows bounced back from consecutive defeats against table-toppers Loughborough to comfortably beat London Eastside Eagles 80-45 at Chesterfield.

Scorers: Baugh 25, Wilson 12, Lycoudis 10, Kelly 9, Turner 9, Broodie 7, Heymann 6, Dennison 2

The Arrows now stand at 11-6 and targetting a top four home play-off place but they need to win their five remaining games starting with tomorrow’s visit of Liverpool to Queens Park (6.45pm).

Arrows women team the Gems host Leeds Trinity in a title decider (4.15).

Arrows Under-14 had a stylish 89-39 home win over Leeds Force II.

Scorers: El-Ghannay 20, Shepherd 19, Askwith 14, Godber 11, Mc Curdy 6, Billam 5, Jones 4, Sabin 4, Sweet 2, Ward 2, Stennett 2.

* Basketball round-up every week in Grass Roots.