Month: February 2018

We Need Your Vote - Tesco Bags of Help

Great Manchester Community Basketball calls out for votes to bag a share of Tesco’s bag fund

Greater Manchester Community Basketball is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Greater Manchester Community Basketball is one of the groups on the shortlist.

Greater Manchester Community Basketball, aka the Manchester Magic and Mystics, will be running a number of 3×3 leagues and competitions at its base in Whalley Range from May onwards. These will be for adults and children, men, women, boys and girls. All ages and abilities will be welcome to sign up.

“Here at GMCB, we’re big on participation and giving people of ages and backgrounds the chance to play basketball. We believe the growing popularity of the 3×3 game will help us reach even more men, women, boys and girls. So our plan is to run leagues and tournaments from May through to July – and to do that we need your support to help us secure the funds we need to make them a success.” said Phil Gordos, CEO of GMCB.

Voting is open in participating Tesco stores throughout March and April. See the list below to find out where you can vote. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £43 million to more than 10,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for March and April. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit

You can vote at the following stores:


Burnage (D) M19 1TF Superstores






East Didsbury (B) M20 5NP Superstores













To check the location of any of the above stores, please go to the Tesco website here:

Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 beat the Junior Royals

8 out of the 10 Mystics on duty for last Sunday’s home game against Tameside Royals Juniors have at least 1 more year at U14 level. However, even they looked positively veteran compared to the aptly named opposition. For once, we actually out-heighted the other team and had a distinct edge in rebound potential. Lily Hayes, Esha Nayar, Eleni Vourliotis and Zara Masadeh-Tate all certainly took full advantage of this without having to stand on any boxes for a change.

In the absence of Charli Wroe, Kizzy Spence and Lily Gilronan, I detailed Daisy Bryan and Nia Molloy to share point guard duties with Lily H and Olivia Forster. Both Lily and Olivia both showed great maturity and a sense of ‘team first’ by willingly taking something of a back seat on this occasion. The composure and level of skill shown by Daisy and Nia, our 2 youngest players, bodes well for next season.

Even though we were facing, or more accurately, looking down at very inexperienced opponents, there were plenty of positives to be drawn from the game. Top of the list is the fact that no less than 6 Mystics scored in double figures with Jo Vourliotis, Esha and Emily Wood leading the way. That said, it was Lia Vourliotis who got us started as she, her younger sister Eleni, cousin Jo (we like to keep it in the family!), Esha and Lily moved the basketball quickly and accurately enough to register a creditable 18 points in the first 5 minutes, conceding 7.

This quintet were then replaced by the 5 bench-warmers- Daisy, Nia, Olivia, Emily and Zara. Their tally was marginally less at 16 but they did restrict Tameside to just 1 point. The second quarter followed on like most books written by Barbara Cartland- it was a similar story. The younger Tameside players had been unable to match up physically or skill-wise but, unlike for Ann Boleyn, no heads dropped and they never stopped hustling.

Nothing was to be gained by seeking to double our score after the break. Restrictions were laid own. Lily, Olivia and Emily made sure they were implemented throughout the remaining 20 minutes. Tameside deserve praise for their spirited display in the fourth period and can look forward to a far more successful campaign next time round.

Mystics now go from the equivalent of being faced with a very mild Thai Red curry to having to cope with a very fierce Vindaloo in the form of the undefeated Sheffield Hatters. Mad or not, if we can overcome them by 9, we will be seeded 2 for the play-offs. if not, it will probably be number 7 seed for us which is obviously less favorable but is by no means what Christopher Columbus thought America was – the end of the world.

As usual, thanks to all helpers and supporters. Hopefully, you will all be in good voice next Sunday at 12.30pm.


Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 beat high Fliers Hatfield

Many a true Lancastrian would rather be stricken with a bout of influenza than be required to cross the border into the land of the Yorkies. Poor Charli Wroe and Lia Vourliotis had to endure both last Sunday. Lia was nearly better, Charli wasn’t when we invaded Thrybergh to face a talented Hatfield side who, like Mystics U14s had already qualified for the last 16 round of the play-offs.

Charli’s pre-match coughing fit and the fact that I’ve seen more colour in a pint of milk, persuaded me not to start with her and to use her as one takes nasty medicine- in small doses. Nia Molloy was, therefore, given the unenviable task of marking the opposition’s excellent play-maker, A Racjan and what an outstanding job the ever-improving Nia made of it.

Against significantly taller opponents, Lily Hayes, Kizzy Spence and Emily Wood were initially detailed to compete on the boards. (Back not bill.) All 3 did remarkably well and gave up no second chance points. Due to her defensive expertise and ability to read the game, I asked Olivia Forster to do her best to subdue the player who top-scored for Hatfield when we played them earlier in the season. Olivia’s best turned out to be more than good enough.

I’m not a worrier but I was worried (= contradiction!) that the combination of being without a far from fully fit Charli, of having had no game last week and just one game in three weeks would have an initial impact upon our performance in an away fixture against a strong top 4 side. I was even more worried 10 minutes into the contest! Defensively, we were sound as a pound. Offensively, we were only worth a few pence. Our finishing throughout the first quarter was as efficient as a solar torch.

6-14 down and looking as out of sorts as an asthmatic without an inhaler, I toyed with the idea of singing the Billy Ocean classic, ‘When the going gets tough,’ to the girls. I decided not to for two reasons – I don’t know the words and my voice makes a similar noise to that of someone’s nails scraping across a blackboard. Instead, I re-assured them that Hatfield were playing as well as they good while we had yet to settle but we were still in the game. If we upped our defensive intensity a notch and did the simple things better on offense, we would be fine. We did both.

Each of the 8 Mystics who saw court time in the second quarter- the 5 starters plus Charli, Daisy Bryan, who, despite being 2 years young at this age-group, provided the stability and calmness we needed and Lily Gilronan who excelled in a most impressive debut – deserve enormous credit for steadying the ship and sending us on a scintillating 13-0 run during which Olivia and Emily hit top gear offensively. Everyone was now fully clued in to Hatfield’s preferred method of attack and how to counter it. This resulted in numerous 24 second calls from the 2 impressive referees and meant that we were good enough to transform an 8 point deficit into a 6 point lead at 25-19 by half-time.

As one can glean from how things had gone up to now, this was never going to be a game which saw a merry-go-round of substitutions – Hatfield employed just 6 players until the very last minute – but after the break, I did manage to use the 4 Mystics who had yet to appear and all 4 did well for us. 3 of the 4 – Esha Nayar, Eleni Vourliotis and Jo Vourliotis  are young enough to play at u14 level next season. All 3 have shown that once they have served their apprenticeship, as most first year National League players do, they have the potential to make major contributions next season. On this occasion, Esha and Eleni showed just how much their individual and team defence has improved recently with faultless displays in this discipline. Jo is more inclined to catch the eye on offense and she showed some nice touches once again. The other member of the quartet, Lia Vourliotis was as diligent as ever and fitted in competently in the latter stages to help seal a deserved victory. The selfless attitude of these 4 committed players will be duly rewarded in games to come.

To restrict a team with the scoring potential of Hatfield to less than 40 is no mean achievement. To do so using all 12 available Mystics is even more impressive. Well played everyone. Many thanks to my assistant James and our brilliant team managers, Sam and Carys for all their assistance and to all parents/supporters/taxi drivers for all you do for our team.


Manchester Mystics

Mystics hosted successful Under 12s Tournament

The Manchester Mystics U12s held a four team tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Amaechi Basketball Centre. There were two Mystics teams and a team from Sheffield and a team from Northants taking part.

Due to a visiting team pulling out of the tournament, the Mystics were split into two equal ability teams of seven players, Manchester Blue (Daisy who missed the first game, Elizandra, Ciara, Maisie, Rae, Ruby, Paige and Ferne) and Manchester Red (Emily, Carina, Izzy, Bella, Maria and Kady).

Despite this the players had some great performances and showed tremendous spirit and their commitment was outstanding.

Teams played four 7 minute quarters, with a five minute half time, with stopping clock and one time out per half per team, otherwise normal basketball rules applied.



Court 1: Manchester Blue 42-35 Northants

Court 2: Manchester Red 36-21 Sheffield


Court 1: Manchester Blue 41-30 Sheffield

Court 2: Manchester Red 41-27 Northants


Court 1: Manchester Blue 31-30 Manchester Red

Court 2: Sheffield 20-19 Northants

We would like to thank both Sheffield and Northants for participating in the tournament.

Many thanks to all the parents for their support with table duties, preparing food for the visiting teams and taking care of kit.

Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 enjoy success at Lancashire Spinners’ new venue

Lancashire Spinners could be a reasonable name for a NW folk group as well as a thriving basketball club. Thankfully. there was no such music playing last Sunday when we arrived at Elton High School’s pristine new sports hall where it is twice as warm as the old one which doubled as an igloo.

A victory would enhance Mystics U14s prospects of a home tie in the last 16 round of the play-offs in early April. It duly arrived thanks to an excellent first half display, during which Charli Wroe and Olivia Forster were outstanding.

Blessed with a squad of 13 players who all display superb attitudes and commitment, when we are faced with opposition we are expected to beat, I like to offer 1 or 2 places in the first 5 as a reward to those who don’t normally start. Esha Nayar started in the previous game and did well. This time, the honour to accompany Charli, Olivia and Lily Hayes was bestowed upon cousins Eleni Vourliotis and Jo Vourliotis. They did not let themselves, or anyone else, down.

This new combination looked at home (even though we were playing away) defensively but a bit like everyone on a cruise – all at sea – on offense. This was hardly surprising given that we had no game the previous week, this particular 5 had rarely, if ever, played together and 3 of the 5 are a year young. With the score at 4-4, I introduced regular starters Emily Wood and Nia Molloy. We immediately sprung to life like a 5 star mattress with 14 unanswered points in under 5 minutes.

We were equally dominant throughout the whole of the second quarter which meant that the outcome was in little doubt by half time at 43-13 with all 12 Mystics having shown their true worth. (In diamonds, not lire.) This huge lead persuaded me to largely ignore the formidable services of Charli and Olivia for much of the remaining 20 minutes in order to give others the opportunity to do what the sun does. (Shine.)

We didn’t find it as difficult as trying to eat soup with a fork but did find it hard going without them, only winning the third quarter 11-10 and the fourth 16-15. We suffered from a lack of movement and poor finishing on offense while defensively, our relatively small line-up struggled to keep 6ft +++ Rebecca Smith off the offensive boards. She scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half.

That said, there was still plenty to admire from our perspective. Lily and the super-athletic Kizzy Spence stood out for their exceptional defensive rebounding, Eleni, Nia, Esha and Lia Vourliotis showed a pleasing ever-increasing ability to play help defence without fouling unnecessarily while Emily and Zara Masadeh-Tate did most of the scoring. 2 of our youngest players, Jo and Daisy Bryan again held their own at both ends of the court and with 7 players returning to play at this age group next season, the future looks brighter than any citrus fruit.

Unfortunately, we are again without a game next week which is hardly good preparation for the week after that when we travel abroad to South Yorkshire to play fellow play-off contenders, Hatfield.


Thanks to James and Sam for their help on the day and to all supporters for getting behind our team.

Sam Dom and Georgia in GB squad

Mystics trio selected in Great Britain squad for upcoming FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers

Manchester Mystics trio Dominique Allen, Georgia Jones and Samantha Roscoe have been selected in the 16-strong Great Britain Women’s Squad for the upcoming FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers.

The team will congregate for a short preparation camp on 4 February and then will depart for Faro on 8 February, ahead of their clash against Portugal on Saturday 10 February at 9pm in Pavilhao.

They will then move on to Israel, who they will go up against on Wednesday 14 February at 6.30pm in Tel Aviv.

For more information on FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019 click HERE and follow #EuroBasketWomen and #BritishBasketball