I can’t lie – and if you saw my post-match comments following our narrow defeat to Ellesmere Port Panthers last week you’ll know – I was gutted to lose that game.
It’s a tough one to take, because for so long we had it in our hands, we rode out their pressure and we went into the fourth having led all game. I take nothing away from the Panthers at all, they got the job done down the stretch and I applaud them for that. It’s a testament to the North Wales Basketball Association that a game of that quality, with two very different teams going head-to-head, can produce such a thrilling game of basketball.
Unfortunately this time we were on the wrong end of things, but the experience taught us a lot about ourselves as a team and we will be much better for it going forward.
Speaking of which, we have seven games left of the Division One campaign and next up are Wrexham Warriors. As we always say, this will be a great game against a great team that offers a very different threat to Panthers. Warriors are a big team and their experience shows in their hard graft and teamwork. This game is going to be a real test of character for us as we’re without a couple of key players.
While that’s not ideal, it does create an opportunity for someone else to step up and stake their claim. That is why our ‘two teams one family’ philosophy is so important. In previous years players would simply have trained before being thrown an opportunity. Now they are all playing competitively week-in, week-out in Division Two with the Lite.
It means if we need to call them up to the Brewers, they are ready to go and seize their chance. It’s a great position to be in and I want to take this opportunity to thank Ben Scott for his work coaching the Lite and giving us that pool of talent.
Players like Hubert Paluch, Easaw George and Marcin Fiedorowicz who have come into the league fresh have been able to acclimatise quickly and are now ready to step up when needed.
Already not far behind them are a group of younger, hungry players graduating from junior ball who are making great strides and the future looks really bright if we can continue to provide opportunities to play and develop.
I’ve name-checked my counterpart Ben for taking charge of the Lite, but I want to also take time out to recognise those who volunteer to keep the club going. It would be impossible to do it alone, and harder still to ensure that we meet our obligations to sponsors, keep certifications up to speed and basically create a safe, secure environment for people to come and enjoy our fantastic sport.
Our volunteers spend a lot of their own time – time they could be spending with family and friends – keeping this show on the road. And we are not unique in that, every club in the NWBA has an army of volunteers who often go unchecked and unrecognised as they arrange fixtures, venues and officials, ensure safeguarding is up to speed and work within the challenging financial conditions that basketball in general occupies.
On behalf of Brewers Basketball, I want to thank all the volunteers and officials of the NWBA for their commitment to the game. Without you none of us could enjoy playing this standard of basketball and we would likely lose the social and mental health benefits we all get from competing alongside our teammates.
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