Michael Miller - The First Interview
Posted: Friday, June 11th 2021
Tuesday, June 4th 2019
The 2018/19 season proved to be a momentous one for the Bristol Flyers Women, where they finished top of the pile in WNBL Division One and took home the first silverware in club history.
In an inauspicious start to the season, the Flyers lost their first game by just four points away from home to Barking Abbey. Leading the scoring for the Flyers, new signing Flo Ward set the tone for the rest of the season, as she became a big offensive threat for the team all year round.
The Flyers came out swinging after that initial loss by winning the next nine straight games – including an away win against Ipswich, which ended the newly-promoted team’s 20 game unbeaten streak.
In nearly all the games in the first half of the season, new signing Cristina Bigica was the top scorer with double-digit points. She produced the best individual scoring effort in a contest throughout the season – 26 points, a total she reached on three occasions.
After Christmas, the Flyers showed no signs of slowing down with a huge away win against Sevenoaks Suns, where the Flyers were just two points shy of a century, while the Suns only managed 44. The win streak came to an end the following week with a heavy defeat to Ipswich at home.
Though they were able to quickly pick themselves up and won the next three fixtures, the Flyers suffered another set back at the end of February. Losing 81-74 to Anglia Ruskin, this result also meant they lost the head-to-head advantage against their biggest title rivals.
Adding to this, the home stretch of the Flyers’ season would see them face three of the league’s most established, competitive and unforgiving teams. They knew they could not afford any slip-ups here, as it could cost them the championship.
After overcoming Southwark Pride in their closest game of the season, 47-45, they bolstered their title chances after a more convincing victory in their penultimate game over Team Solent Kestrels. With Anglia Ruskin still threatening to take the top spot, it was going to come down to the last game of the season.
The Flyers were due to face the Loughborough Riders in the final game, but Loughborough forfeited the game on the day – resulting in the Flyers making history by becoming the first team from Bristol to win a national women’s basketball title.
Come April, when the play-offs began, there was high expectation and belief for the team to make it to the final. As it unfolded, the Flyers found they were going down in an earlier round.
After breezing past Barking Abbey in the quarterfinals, the physicality and tenacity of their next opponents, the Reading Rockets, proved too much for them, and after 40 minutes their 2018/19 season was at an end.
While not the desired conclusion to the season, the maiden league title is something that cannot be taken away from the Flyers, and a great achievement for both the team and for the city of Bristol.
“It was a disappointing end, we would have loved to have got to the final, but overall we can look back and say we’ve had a really good season,” said head coach Gareth Till.
“I want to congratulate the team on an amazing year - we made big steps forward this season - and I want to say a big thank you to all the volunteers and everyone who came to support us.
“Hopefully, with all this great support, this team will continue to go in the right direction and become one of the premier women’s basketball organisations in the UK.”
Written by Erin Hunter and Jack Ford.
Erin Hunter plays as a shooting guard for the Flyers Women and contributes game reports of all their road games.
Jack Ford is part of the arena team on gamedays for the Flyers men’s team and writes reports, news and feature articles for the women’s team.
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