The Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) unveiled Essex Rebels as its newest franchise yesterday.
Backed by the University of Essex, the team will join for the 2018-19 campaign – having impressed during their time in Basketball England’s National League.
“We started our programme four years ago from scratch, with a basketball scholarship programme at the University of Essex,” recalled Dave Parry, Director of Sport at the University of Essex.
“At the time there weren’t any National League teams in Colchester – although there’s a long history of basketball in the town – but we felt we had the right opportunity and the right people in place to build something.
“We have been fairly focussed on what we wanted to achieve, and we’re not where we ultimately want to be just yet, but, I think we can be really proud of our progress so far.
“Our head coach, Mark Lloyd, has put in huge amounts of hard work to drive the progress that we have made, and he should take most of the credit.
“We have also been extremely fortunate that Sportsafe, our main sponsor, is a company with its roots in Colchester.
“They are now a nationwide, multi-national company and, as the main supplier of Schelde in the U.K., the leading provider of basketball equipment.
“If you wanted the perfect convergence of opportunity, organisations and people you couldn’t go too far wrong with what we have Essex!”
The team will play at the brand new £12 million Essex Sport Arena at the Colchester Campus – a venue that can seat 1,655 spectators.
“The prospect of hosting the best women’s basketball teams at the Essex Sport Arena, the home of Schelde, is really exciting.
“The WBBL may not attract the same size of audience that the men’s game does, but, we’re looking to go some way to changing that, and hope to put on a quality match day experience for our growing fan base.
“We are ambitious and optimistic when looking ahead to our first season in the WBBL, but, we’re under no illusion as to the step up in quality that we will have to make in order to be competitive.
“Our philosophy moving forward will continue to be based upon putting the player first, as we want to help develop talent in the U.K.
“At times this can be a challenging objective to adhere to, but, we have been fairly strict about how we apply this.
“We set individual player targets based upon improvements in their technical, tactical, physical and psycho-social attributes, and regularly review their progress against their individual targets,” concluded Parry.
Image: University of Essex