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Shropshire Warriors hoping to net new support

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Shropshire Warriors Basketball Club are appealing to players, fans and businesses to help them chase their dream of turning professional.

The Warriors currently run seven teams – down from 13 in 2011 – including a women’s outfit, a wheelchair side, two youth teams and three senior men’s sides.

They play their home games at the impressive TCAT Arena, which features two practice courts and a superb main match play court.

The top male team is currently mid-table in Division Four of the National Basketball League, putting them at least four years of success away from making the professional British League.

The other two men’s side are holding their own in Divisions One and Two respectively, with the women’s team second in the top division, and the wheelchair team around mid-table of the highest level also.

Coach Everton Forbes, who works predominantly with the under-16s team, said the club are hoping for some support in their bid to make the sport a big success in Shropshire.

“Basketball is struggling since the funding was cut by Basketball England,” said Forbes.

“We’re self-sufficient, so any money we need we have to provide ourselves and any money we have is reinvested into the club.

“With the cost of courts, travel, referees and more, it can be really difficult. It’s a very volunteer-based situation at the moment.

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“A few years ago, we had between three and four hundred people coming down to watch our games at TCAT on a Saturday.

“On a full day we will have games at 12pm, 2pm, and 7pm. For whatever reason, those numbers have dwindled over the years.”

The club, which was formed in 1997, has identified coaching as its man focus for some time, and they’ve clearly reaped the rewards from that, with all teams performing well in their respective leagues.

The women’s team includes multiple former internationals, and the top male team boast the country’s fourth highest scorer in Simon Hoar.

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“We always start with the coaching,” continued Forbes. “If we do that right, we hope everything else will fall into place nicely.”

The hope is that Warriors can expand to and beyond the heights of 2011 when they ran 13 teams.

The aim is to attract more players into the club to help create more teams and added competition, and also hopefully result in more money coming in to support coaches in their bid to bring the club up to the professional level.

“We want more players to come and play for us,” added Forbes.

“We’re open to players of all abilities and we want to build more teams and add competition for the players who are already here.

“We’re hoping there are some local businesses that will want to help by investing in us.

“We’re looking for sponsorship so we can bring in more coaches and hopefully rise into the British Basketball League.

“Anyone who wants to play for us can contact us via the Facebook page – Shropshire Warriors Basketball Club – and anyone who would like to discuss sponsorship should speak to our chairman, Wayne Gethings.”

Warriors, who boast around 200 playing members will be training at the TCAT (Telford College of Art and Technology) in Haybridge Road, Wellington throughout the summer.

Anyone interested in playing can also contact Forbes on 07980 738789.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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