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Pioneers plan for next season

PUBLISHED: 13:32 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:33 24 August 2010

LONDON Pioneers coach James Markham believes the future is still bright for his under-14 side despite their below-par display in the RAF Final Fours. The Paddington team slumped 82-58 in their semi-final against Manchester Magic on Sunday and then lost ou

LONDON Pioneers coach James Markham believes the future is still bright for his under-14 side despite their below-par display in the RAF Final Fours.

The Paddington team slumped 82-58 in their semi-final against Manchester Magic on Sunday and then lost out to Leeds Tigers by a similar margin in the third-place play-off.

But Markham was encouraged by the potential of some of the youngsters he threw in for the second game, saying: "I don't think it makes any difference whether you finish third or fourth.

"So we gave a lot of the younger players in the squad a go. I was particularly pleased with Khani Marius and Joseph Walsh-Norman, who are both only 11 and played fearlessly.

"Overall, I didn't feel the boys performed to their potential. The intensity dropped off in practice and I think they thought the goal had been reaching the final four rather than actually going there to win it.

"But I think now they realise the importance of being committed and we're going to learn from this. We'll keep going through the summer and work more on improving individual skills rather than tactics."

In only their first season, the Pioneers were clear underdogs as they took on Manchester in the first match and quickly conceded 10 points without reply.

At one point the Londoners did cut the deficit to five points and appeared to have a glimmer of hope, but two players then got into foul trouble and the Magic pulled away to win by 24 points.

Manchester went on to take the national under-14 title, beating Newham All Star Sports Academy in the final, while the Pioneers went down 84-59 in the play-off with Leeds.

For more information about Pioneers development sessions at Torquay Street, Paddington, (Wednesday and Thursday, 4.30-6pm for under-12s and Saturday, 9.45-11.45am for over-12s), visit www.londonpioneers.com


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