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KINGSWAY POWER
TAME LEEDS 
TO WIN U13 FINALS

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After the disappointment of last season's final defeat to Oldham NC, Kingsway Power bounced back twelve months later to win the U13 YNPL Grand Finals against competition favourites Leeds Athletic. A blistering opening quarter put Leeds on the back foot and they never recovered and had to settle for a runners-up spot after such high hopes of success this season.

The quarter-final ties saw little resistance from the Southern-based teams who find themselves amongst some very talented teams in the North. Leeds Athletic, Kingsway Power, and Oldham all came through their games with relative ease and it was left to Southern champions Starz to fly the flag for the South. Starz took on YWCA Bury in their quarter-final tie and it was one of the standout games of the competition. YWCA Bury started well and was ahead in the first quarter and at half-time. Bury though would suffer the same fate as Wyre last season and were pushed back in the third quarter, Starz storming back and bringing the game back to a draw with one quarter to go. In the final quarter, Starz professionally dispatched Bury, winning 30-24.

Starz NC took on Kingsway Power in the semi-finals and was confident they could give the most successful club in the ENG history a challenge. Starting the game strong against Kingsway Power is a must and Starz unfortunately failed to do, allowing Kingsway a four-point lead after the first quarter. Even though it was a small margin, it's not a wise idea to be chasing a game against Kingsway Power, and their lead was extended further going into halftime. Starz did improve in the second half but the damage had already been done and they lost the tie 32-21.

The big game of the competition at this point was the Northern champions Leeds Athletic taking on last season's champions Oldham NC. The game started positively for Oldham who went straight into a two-goal lead, but Leeds Athletic settled down and the game went goal for goal with Leeds just edging the first quarter 7-5. The second quarter saw Leeds storm into a 10-6 lead and there was a slight danger Oldham could allow them to start dominating the game. Oldham though found that heart and desire which won them this event last season and managed to force numerous turnovers to level the tie and we were back to the game being a goal for goal. Leeds edged the score at halftime, 13-12 and it was all to play for in the second half. Leeds started the third quarter like they did the second and found themselves four goals in front, but once again Oldham battled back and had the chance to reduce the tie to one point, but a misplaced pass at the centre line took the pressure off Leeds who then capitalised and went into the final quarter three goals in front. In the final eight minutes, Leeds maintained and healthy four-point lead throughout and won the tie at the end 30-24 against last season's champions.

In the 3rd/4th playoff game, Oldham NC secured a third-place finish overall without too much trouble after a comprehensive win over Starz NC who once again finished 4th place overall, the same position as the 2022 finals.

The final saw Kingsway Power take on the hot favourites to win this competition Leeds Athletic. Having won the league weeks prior, Leeds Athletic were looking to build their legacy further by winning this national competition. The opening quarter saw Kingsway Power outwork and outplay Leeds who couldn't handle the sheer determination of the Kingsway attack and defence and they went in 10-6 down after the first quarter. The second quarter continued in a similar fashion with Leeds struggling to find consistency in their play and KWP moving the ball down the court with ease and their shooters scoring with incredible consistency. Once again KWP had a four-point lead going in the second half. With the Leeds team not being in this position in quite a long time they knew they needed a big quarter to get back into this game. The third quarter would be the most disastrous for the Yorkshire-based side and would prove to be the final nail in the coffin regarding their hopes of winning their first YNPL Grand Finals title. Kingsway Power upped the gears and took advantage of their opponent's desperation to get back into the game and got redemption for their league title defeat and went on to win comfortably 31-23. A special moment for Kingsway who lost in the final the previous season.

Positions:

1st: Kingsway Power

2nd: Leeds Athletic

3rd: Oldham NC

4th: Starz NC

5th: YWCA Bury

6th: Turnford NC

7th: Sutton Town

8th: CD Phoenix

MVP: Faith Barlow Gambles (Kingsway Power)

All Star Team: Ella Rae Russell (Sutton Town), Tilly Nicholson (Starz NC), Ella (Kingsway Power) Hannah Johnson (Turnford NC), Sapphira Plessard Da Silver (CD Phoenix), Amelie Nield (YWCA Bury) Elizabeth Starmer (Oldham NC), Niamh Hogan (Leeds Athletic)

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