Colchester Basketball Steering Group has achieved one of its key targets two years ahead of schedule.
Thanks to sterling efforts by the group and with £17,000 sponsorship from Sportsafe UK Ltd and Andreas Carter Sports, Colchester will be represented by The Blades, from the University of Essex in both the men’s and women’s National Basketball Leagues (NBL).
An NBL team for Colchester was part of the group’s long-term plan but early success means this September will see the men starting in the National Development League while the women will compete in the South East Region League of the single tier national competition. Both teams will also compete in the National Cup competitions.
Between them both teams will have a fixture list of nearly 60 games, with home games, to be staged on Saturday evenings at the University of Essex Sports Centre, open to all basketball fans.
Jonathan Neill, Managing Director at Sportsafe UK, said: “I couldn’t wait to be involved with a new NBL team for Colchester. Following the success of our first Easter camp and our planned summer camp the group is clearly achieving its plans to make Colchester the home of basketball in the East of England. Encouraging participation in sport at grass roots level is at the heart of everything we do at Sportsafe as we strive to achieve our mission in supporting the next generation.”
The team rosters are made up almost entirely of sports scholarship students at the University of Essex and include many international athletes, many of whom have played for their national teams. Potential star players for the coming season are Monika Kucerkova, who has represented Slovakia in the European Under 20 championships and a number of American National Collegiate Athletic Association stars coming to play for The Blades while undertaking post-graduate studies at the University.
Andreas Carter Sports have been the official kit suppliers to the Great Britain Senior Men, Women and U20’s teams for the last two seasons. Jerry Carter, MD said: “We are delighted to be continuing our involvement with The Blades having supported basketball in Colchester for many years. It’s a very exciting time to be involved and we look to seeing basketball accelerate to the highest possible level in Colchester.
For the full fixture list and further information please visit www.colchesterbasketballsteeringgroup.co.uk