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Essex Rebels aim for top-four league finish after reaching first major final

Essex Rebels are targeting a top-four finish in the Women’s British Basketball League after reaching their first major final.

The Rebels lost 83-67 to London Lions in the Betty Codona Trophy showpiece.

The team have a best of sixth in the Championship since their 2018-19 debut.

“Maybe we didn’t get the result we hoped for but it’s still fantastic progress from our basketball programme,” said University of Essex director of sport Dr Dave Parry.

“It’s been a really interesting journey over the last few years. We’ve positioned our Rebels programme at the heart of our university community, it’s really bringing an element of life, entertainment, belonging and community to our campus.”

He told BBC Essex: “This season there’s about a 70% increase in attendances, our women’s games have averaged somewhere between 700 and 800 per game, up from about 400 last year.

“We’re really seeing a surge in interest and basketball is the second most popular participation team sport among young people in the country.”