The captivating and exciting sport of wheelchair basketball has completely and wholeheartedly captured the hearts, minds and souls of so many across North Wales.
This is your fortnightly, one stop shop of all things North Wales in the Wheelchair Basketball world. To start this first post, a look at how the region works and a season wind down with some of the action that’s been.
North Wales boosts four regional clubs; Caernarfon Celts, Conwy Thunder, Anglesey Hawks and Rhyl Raptors, all of which work with and are supported by the Regional hub WBNW (Wheelchair Basketball North Wales) who enable players, coaches and officials a step up into the British Wheelchair Basketball National Leagues, Junior League and Womens League under the team North Wales Knights.
With the busy, thrilling, heart stopping and mind blowing season of 2016/17 come to a close, North Wales Knights represented the region with a dragons roar and fire in the belly. Never more so than with the U15s, the chants and shouts still ring in the air, from when Britain’s best supporters cheered on the Knights U15s in the Junior Champs.
Round after round the grit, determination and team spirit both on the court, on the bench and in the crowd drove the U15s undefeated into the Finals, where they faced strong and passionate teams all vying for the same outcome, to be crowned Junior Champions.
A tense day in Worcester, had North Wales glued to Facebook as excited parents and fans streamed the action for all to see and the special moment that no one will forget, tears on the court, tears on the stands and tears on the bench as Knights U15s were crowned British Junior Champions.
Elsewhere this season, Knights played three National League teams, Knights 1 played in Division 1 North, a tough and hard fought season filled with exhilarating games.
While Knights 2 played in Division 3 North and Knights 3 played in Division 3 NW/Mids, both teams welcoming new players from the North Wales regional clubs and themselves playing in some intense white knuckle games.
An exciting season for both newcomers and the experienced players.
The action wasn’t confined to the National League teams, as this year saw the return of the North Wales League, now named the RGK North Wales League.
The league provides a welcoming, friendly yet competitive opportunity to the next generation of players as the four local clubs compete in round robin games at four full day rounds spaced through out the season.
The latest round, 3/4, took place at the home of WBNW, Eirias Park at the end of June and saw action packed games, full of thrills and spills. With players making their NWL debut and national league team mates now playing against one another, the day promised a lot of banter between clubs and close hard-fought games…… and it didn’t disappoint!
The highlight of every round is indeed the U15s and Women’s games, where all the clubs nominate players, who are then combined and split into two teams. This year an U19s game was also added. The energy and buzz as the Knights golden yellow and rich maroon Vests are pulled over the local club tops, as Hawks, Raptors, Celts and Thunders join together to become Knights.
The success of these rounds become all too evident, as all the clubs pull together and rivals become team mates, coaches combine forces and the crowd can’t help but cheer.
These round days also provide the perfect learning and game experience for the newly qualified level 1 and also nearly qualified level 2 coaches, in a safe and understanding environment but with the excitement, rules and tension of any game
As the final NWL round looms near, all the clubs finalise the squads and prepare the game plans for what is always a fantastic GOG (Gogledd Cymru -North Wales) get together.
The team at WBNW are working hard preparing the squad line ups ready for the pre-season training to commence ahead of the 2017/18 season, a season that’s already looking exciting for North Wales.