English National Cup (basketball)
The English National Cup is an annual basketball knock-out competition held between professional, semi-professional and amateur teams from the various divisions of the National Basketball League. For most of the competition's history, the draw has featured the elite of English basketball, but teams from the British Basketball League currently do not compete in the National Cup, as they compete in their own separate competition, the BBL Cup.
The final is usually played midway through the season, at a neutral venue. The winners of the tournament are awarded the George Williams Trophy, which is named for the man who donated the original cup.
The competition was originally launched as the National Championship Cup in 1936, as the first attempt to develop a regular national basketball competition in England. The National Cup was initially structured as an end-of-season event to allow regional champions to compete against their peers from across England and Wales and was organized by the Amateur Basket Ball Association of England and Wales (ABBA), a forerunner of the current Basketball England organisation. During World War II, the competition was put on hiatus; the last pre-war winners, Birmingham Athletic Institute, retained the trophy for the duration of the hostilities.
Following the introduction of the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1972, the cup began a gradual decline in its influence on the English game as alternative national competitions became more established. The introduction of the NBL's own end-of-season playoffs in 1979 resulted in the competition being restructured into a season-long knockout tournament similar to football's FA Cup, with the competition renamed the National Cup to avoid confusion with the league championship. This structure continued through the introduction of the independent, franchise-based British Basketball League in 1987, though the cup was eventually truncated to a 16-team event for 1998 onwards, with the clubs holding a BBL franchise being joined by the top teams from the previous year's NBL Division 1 standings.
In 2003, the governance and competition structure of basketball in England underwent a period of reinvention, which included rebranding the NBL as the English Basketball League and introducing new rules governing the use of import players across all Basketball England competitions. These changes led to conflict with the British Basketball League, which withdrew the support of all top-flight clubs and started their own breakaway competition. The withdrawal of the top-flight clubs led to the National Cup returning to a more open structure, with teams able to enter from all divisions of the NBL. This format largely remains to this day, with small variations in organisation during the early rounds.
The current competition structure is a knockout tournament with pairings drawn completely at random – there are no seeds, with the draw for all the rounds up to and including the quarter-final taking place in May.
When there are an uneven number of clubs in the draw, some pre-selected teams will receive byes into the next round. In some seasons the number of entries has required a preliminary round.
|1935/1936||Hoylake YMCA||London Polytechnic||Birmingham||32 – 21|
|1936/1937||Hoylake YMCA||Latter Day Saints||Liverpool||23 – 17|
|1937/1938||Catford Saints||Rochdale Greys||Wembley Arena||61 – 47|
|1938/1939||Catford Saints||Rochdale Greys||London Arena||53 – 41|
|1939/1940||Birmingham Athletic Institute||Central YMCA||London Arena||35 – 30|
|1946/1947||Carpathians||Birmingham Dolobran||Birmingham||48 – 25|
|1947/1948||Latter Day Saints||Latvian Society||Barking||39 – 30|
|1948/1949||Latter Day Saints||Birmingham Dolobran||Leicester||44 – 35|
|1949/1950||Latter Day Saints||USAF Burtonwood||Nottingham||43 – 32|
|1950/1951||Birmingham Dolobran||London Polytechnic||Nottingham||34 – 33|
|1951/1952||London Polytechnic||Birmingham Dolobran||Wembley Arena||40 – 29|
|1952/1953||London Polytechnic||Birmingham Dolobran||Manchester||55 – 46|
|1953/1954||London Polytechnic||Nottingham YMCA||Birmingham||98 – 53|
|1954/1955||London Polytechnic||Birmingham Dolobran||London Arena||58 – 54|
|1956/1957||Central YMCA||London Polytechnic||London Arena||63 – 51|
|1957/1958||Central YMCA||East Ham||London Arena||48 – 40|
|1958/1959||Aspley OB||Birmingham Dolobran||Leicester||58 – 39|
|1959/1960||Central YMCA||London Polytechnic||Birmingham||95 – 62|
|1960/1961||London University||Central YMCA||South Ruislip||68 – 59|
|1961/1962||Central YMCA||RAE Eagles||South Ruislip||87 – 47|
|1962/1963||Central YMCA||London University||Royal Albert Hall||70 – 69|
|1963/1964||Central YMCA||London University||Royal Albert Hall||78 – 56|
|1964/1965||Aldershot Warriors||Oxford University||Crystal Palace||79 – 63|
|1965/1966||Oxford University||Aldershot Warriors||Crystal Palace||91 – 70|
|1966/1967||Central YMCA||Vauxhall Motors||Crystal Palace||64 – 62|
|1967/1968||Oxford University||Aldershot Warriors||Crystal Palace||61 – 59|
|1968/1969||Central YMCA||Aldershot Warriors||Crystal Palace||70 – 62|
|1969/1970||Liverpool Police||Oxford University||Crystal Palace||73 – 67|
|1970/1971||Manchester University||Sutton||Crystal Palace||88 – 81|
|1971/1972||Avenue||Cambridge||Crystal Palace||78 – 66|
|1972/1973||London Latvian SK||Sutton||Crystal Palace||70 – 69|
|1973/1974||Sutton & Crystal Palace||Embassy All Stars||Crystal Palace||120 – 100|
|1974/1975||Embassy All Stars||Sutton & Crystal Palace||Wembley Arena||82 – 81|
|1975/1976||Crystal Palace||Embassy All Stars||Wembley Arena||108 – 88|
|1976/1977||Crystal Palace||Embassy All Stars||Wembley Arena||91 – 90|
|1977/1978||Crystal Palace||Team Fiat Coventry||Wembley Arena||89 – 87|
|1978/1979||Doncaster Panthers||Crystal Palace||Sheffield Arena||73 – 71|
|1979/1980||Crystal Palace||Doncaster Panthers||Sheffield Arena||97 – 67|
|1980/1981||Crystal Palace||Doncaster Panthers||Coventry||91 – 74|
|1981/1982||Solent Stars||Doncaster Panthers||Leicester||127 – 91|
|1982/1983||Solent Stars||Birmingham Bullets||Leicester||98 – 97|
|1983/1984||Solent Stars||Leicester Riders||Royal Albert Hall||86 – 67|
|1984/1985||Kingston Kings||Manchester United||Royal Albert Hall||103 – 98|
|1985/1986||Kingston Kings||Solent Stars||Royal Albert Hall||113 – 82|
|1986/1987||Kingston Kings||Portsmouth||Royal Albert Hall||95 – 87|
|1987/1988||Kingston Kings||Portsmouth||Royal Albert Hall||90 – 84|
|1988/1989||Bracknell Tigers||Manchester Eagles||London Arena||87 – 75|
|1989/1990||Kingston Kings||Sunderland Saints||London Arena||103 – 78|
|1990/1991||Sunderland Saints||Leicester Riders||London Arena||88 – 81|
|1991/1992||Kingston Kings||Thames Valley Tigers||Sheffield Arena||90 – 71|
|1992/1993||Guildford Kings||Worthing Bears||Doncaster||82 – 72|
|1993/1994||Worthing Bears||Thames Valley Tigers||Sheffield Arena||92 – 83|
|1994/1995||Sheffield Sharks||Thames Valley Tigers||Sheffield Arena||89 – 66|
|1995/1996||London Towers||Sheffield Sharks||Sheffield Arena||70 – 58|
|1996/1997||London Leopards||Sheffield Sharks||Sheffield Arena||87 – 79|
|1997/1998||Thames Valley Tigers||Leicester Riders||Sheffield Arena||82 – 78|
|1998/1999||Sheffield Sharks||London Leopards||Sheffield Arena||67 – 65|
|1999/2000||Sheffield Sharks||Manchester Giants||Sheffield Arena||89 – 80|
|2000/2001||Leicester Riders||London Leopards||Sheffield Arena||84 – 80|
|2001/2002||Chester Jets||Birmingham Bullets||Sheffield Arena||112–105|
|2002/2003||Brighton Bears||Chester Jets||National Indoor Arena, Birmingham||89 – 79|
|2003/2004||Plymouth Raiders||Teesside Mohawks||English Institute of Sport, Sheffield||89 – 82|
|2004/2005||Reading Rockets||City of Sheffield Arrows||National Indoor Arena, Birmingham||76 – 75|
|2005/2006||Essex & Herts Leopards||Reading Rockets||National Indoor Arena, Birmingham||79 – 75|
|2006/2007||Manchester Magic||Worthing Thunder||National Indoor Arena, Birmingham||85 – 80|
|2007/2008||Manchester Magic||Worthing Thunder||Moorways Centre, Derby||104 – 89|
|2008/2009||Reading Rockets||Manchester Magic||English Institute of Sport, Sheffield||74 – 68|
|2009/2010||Bristol Academy Flyers||Manchester Magic||English Institute of Sport, Sheffield||63 – 61 (OT)|
|2010/2011||Brixton TopCats||Bristol Academy Flyers||Ponds Forge, Sheffield||77 – 63|
|2011/2012||London Leopards||Bristol Academy Flyers||Ponds Forge, Sheffield||64 – 63|
|2012/2013||Leeds Carnegie||Bristol Academy Flyers||Ponds Forge, Sheffield||66 – 64|
|2013/2014||Reading Rockets||Newham Neptunes||Worcester Arena, Worcester||93 – 72|
|2014/2015||Manchester Magic||Reading Rockets||English Institute of Sport, Sheffield||76 – 58|
|2015/2016||Manchester Magic||Worthing Thunder||English Institute of Sport, Sheffield||97 – 84|
|2016/2017||Team Northumbria||Solent Kestrels||Worcester Arena, Worcester||73 – 56|
|2017/2018||Hemel Storm||Manchester Magic||UEL SportsDock||94 – 77|
|2018/2019||Loughborough Riders||Solent Kestrels||University of Essex Arena, Colchester||82 – 63|
- "History of the Game". Exeter District Basketball. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- "Men's Competition History". pawprint75.co.uk. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "James slams National Cup wreckers". getreading.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Men's National Competition Winners". England Basketball. Archived from the original on June 18, 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Basketball England Statistics". Basketball England. Retrieved 9 February 2019.