Month: October 2017

We Need Your Vote

Vote for our Basketball Roadshow

We need your vote!

The club is attempting to win funding for a brand new project that we believe will get more people playing and involved in basketball.

It’s a Basketball Roadshow that will visit parks, open spaces and festivals in Greater Manchester and the North West of England.

We’ve already come through two rounds of the Aviva Community Fund selection process.

Now we need your help to take us closer to our goal.

Click on the link below to find out more about the project and how your vote can help!

Aviva Community Fund

Manchester Mystics

Tough away loss on opening weekend for Mystics U14

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to be thrown in at the deep end or not. It’s how I was ‘taught’ to swim but it didn’t enable me to go on to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100 metres front crawl! I digress (as I often do). Before last Saturday, only 4 of Mystics new U14 twelve strong squad had ever represented the club at national league level and 2 of the 4 had had – not many people stutter when they write! – limited experience. Not ideal when your first conference game of the season is Sheffield away. (Never an easy fixture for all sorts of reasons.)

Would we sink or would we swim better than I can? In the event, we swam as well as anything aquatic. Prior to game, I was convinced I knew the make-up of their side. (Players not brand of lipstick, eye shadow etc.) I expected just 1 major player from last season’s team which reached the Final Fours to be involved. More incompetence! It turned out to be as many as 4. What I assumed would be akin to a test on the 11 times table had instantly become upgraded to an A level pure maths examination, particularly as 1 of the 4 was England U16 squad member, Abby Whitehouse.

I began with the under-sized 5 of Lily Hayes, Charli Wroe, Olivia Forster, Emily Wood and Jo Vourliotis. (Our 2 biggest players, Zara Masada-Tate and Eleni Vourliotis are both injured.) It became instantly apparent that we were as fit for purpose as several Presidents of the USA have been in recent times. We were confronted with too many physical match-up problems and soon trailed 2-6 in front of a healthy crowd. (None of them looked ill!)

We desperately needed someone to compete on the boards so I brought on the supremely athletic Kizzi Spence. Within 4 minutes, Kizzi helped turn the opening skirmishes in our favour. We now led 10-6 and despite our relative inexperience, looked to be the equals of our prestigious opponents. Our young players then held their nerve to shade the first quarter 15-13 as the closing 3 minutes consisted almost exclusively of our Charli driving to basket, being unceremoniously whacked and composing herself to convert the resultant free throws and their Abby powering her way through either on blistering give n goes or running through (literally) our defenders to secure offensive rebounds and convert unerringly.

Things got even better for us at the beginning of the second period. Our decision making remained sound and confidence continued to grow. Lily was doing a fine job containing Abby which severely hampered Sheffield’s scoring options. The hosts were having difficulty containing the skill and speed of Charli, Olivia and Kizzi. Over a productive 11 minute stretch, we outscored the opposition 22-10 which meant that with 14 minutes gone, we led 24-16. It then looked as if it would become 26-16 as Kizzi flew (she has wings!) past 3 defenders en route to basket. Unfortunately, she and a fourth defender collided heavily enough for this to be Kizzi’s final act on the day. She spent the rest of the day in A & E and was greatly missed.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, it coincided with Sheffield subsequently being awarded as many as 16 free throws in the remaining 5 minutes (the equivalent of a world record 128 if repeated over a full game)! These 2 things enabled our opponents to go from 8 points down to 4 up- just 3 short of a well-known fizzy drink! They went into the interval 30-34 to the good and the whole complexion of the contest had been turned on its head.

That said, Mystics took it all in their stride and came out after the interval in a positive frame of mind. The girls’ sheer effort and determination was such that for fully 9 minutes they restricted Sheffield’s potent offense to a mere 2 field baskets, an outstanding achievement by all concerned. Tellingly, however, the home side were awarded a further 8 free-throws, 6 of which were converted. In view of the fact that we were unable to utilise our most productive weapon, the fast break, due to the opposition’s dominance of the boards, we had to seek alternative ways to stay in touch. We did and again, shaded the quarter, 17-16.

This meant we entered the final period with all to play for at 47-50 but we were in foul trouble. Key players Charli, Olivia and 11 year old Daisy Bryan, who, as with the other 2, had made significant contributions at both ends of the floor, plus our leading rebounder, Esha Nayar, were all on either 3 or 4 fouls. Undaunted, in Kizzi’s absence, all 9 remaining Mystics on show- those already mentioned plus 4 more debutants, the tireless Nia Molloy and Emily Wood as well as the battling cousins, Lia and Jo Vourliotis- continued to display great resolve, giving their all for the team. As a result, we again shaded the quarter, 17-16.

Against all the odds, Mystics had managed to win 2 of the 3 quarters contested so far but still trailed 47-50. This was far from insurmountable, provided that we still had the necessary energy and focus to compete at a level previously unvisited by most of the team. We did so for 3 minutes and at 51-55 were like town criers- in with a shout! It seemed to be anybody’s game but Abby Whitehouse had other ideas. She used her physical superiority effectively enough to dominate proceedings for the next telling 4 minutes. She proved unstoppable and almost single-handed forged a crucial 15 point lead for her side. Far from crumble, Mystics dug deep and rallied to cut the margin to 8 and closing before running out of time.

Almost everyone likes to win but sometimes the performance is just as important as the result. This was one such occasion. Every Mystic did herself and her club proud with the manner in which they conducted themselves on and of court. It is very much to their credit that Sheffield’s accomplished coaching staff felt so threatened that they decided to give only 6 of their 10 players anything like meaningful court time. Of those 6, our gallant young team succeeded in almost completely nullifying 4 of them but we could not match up with the other 2 who were good enough and strong enough to amass a match-winning combined 58 points.

Our players will have gained an enormous amount of game experience (as well as plenty of bruises) which will undoubtedly stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season. Thank you so much to all parents and supporters, plus helpers-in-chief, James, Sam and Carys for your assistance and cooperation. It is much appreciated.

Next up on 22 October at 12.30 is a (very) local derby against Mystics II.


Becky Harwood-Bellis

Rising Mystics star says self-belief is the key

Becky Harwood-Bellis is in her first season with the Manchester Mystics, but the 15-year-old, whose twin brother, Taylor, plays football for Manchester City and England, is already making her mark.

Here, she tells us why she likes basketball and reflects on her Great Britain debut in the summer.

How did you get into basketball?

Becky: My brother. Someone came into my school. St Philip’s in Stockport, to run some basketball lessons. My brother said he wanted to start and I said I didn’t. I’ve always been scared to try new things. He really wanted to do it but said he would only do it if I did it. I decided to give it a go.

And you liked it?

Becky: I couldn’t even catch a ball when I started, but I stuck at it. I’d tried other things, like ballet, but nothing really appealed. I had two left feet when it came to football. With basketball, I enjoyed the amount of stuff there was to learn. And I liked the physicality, the toughness.

Becky Harwood-Bellis

Now you’re a GB international!

What was it like to get selected for the European Championships?

Becky: I cried a lot. I was in pure shock. Everyone else believes in me, but I don’t believe in myself.

Who was your debut against?

Becky: Denmark. I was so scared. I didn’t tell anyone I was scared. My brain was doing overtime. My first touch of the ball, I shot a three. I was so happy.

What difference has playing for GB made to you?

Becky: My confidence levels have gone from zero to a hundred. But I’ve still got more to give. I’ve also learned that if I want something I can achieve it.

So what now?

Becky: My weakness is still my confidence. I need to believe in myself.

And another Euros in 2018?

Becky: I’ve got more of a chance having played in one already, but I’m not taking anything for granted. I’ve got to keep on working.

Total Physio

Magic secure second season of sponsorship from Total Physiotherapy

Manchester Magic’s Division One team have secured a second season of sponsorship from Total Physiotherapy.

The deal means Magic’s squad will get the best care possible as they look to challenge for yet more honours in 2017/18.

“We’re very grateful for Total Physiotherapy’s continued backing,” said Phil Gordos, CEO of Greater Manchester Community Basketball, which runs the Magic.

“If we’re going to be competing for silverware again, we need our players are in the best shape possible. This agreement means we can support them professionally on and off the court.”

Richard Crook, CEO of Total Physiotherapy, added: “We look forward to supporting the Manchester Magic again.

“Welove supporting andhelpingoutthe communities we work in through thesponsorship of local clubs and this is agreatway of both doing that and promoting what we do.

“The Total Physiotherapy team look forward to seeing Manchester Magic is action this year and hopefully challenging for more silverware.”

Total Physiotherapy, which has 14 clinics and also incorporates the David Roberts Physiotherapy clinics, treats people across the North West of England.

Staff provide a holistic range of services, including physiotherapy, pilates, podiatry, chiropody, massage, acupuncture, psychological services, gym and personal training.

To find out more about Total Physiotherapy, visit or call head office on 0161 683 0652.

To find out more about the club and find out when the next home game is, visit or follow the club on social media.

Magic and Mystics Great Britain

Mystics Allen and Jones earn GB call up

Congratulations to Manchester Mystics’ Dominique Allen and Georgia Jones, who have been called up to the Great Britain Senior Women’s Squad for the EuroBasket 2019 qualifiers in November.

The squad announced today, will meet at the Mystics home base in Manchester in the first full week of November ahead of the visit of Israel to the National Basketball Performance Centre on Saturday November 11th. Tickets are available for the first women’s international there since their epic comeback 71-67 win over Montenegro in February 2016.

Britain then travel to Northern Greece where they will face their first away game at the 4,000 capacity Kozani Arena on Wednesday November 15th.