Basketball is bouncing back in Great Yarmouth
PUBLISHED: 10:08 24 October 2014
A basketball club is bouncing back in the Great Yarmouth Borough – under the chairmanship of professional player, Patrick Manifold.
Great Yarmouth Basketball club, which used to meet at the Drill Hall, in York Road, has struggled to find a suitable venue to host regular training sessions and fixtures, due to circumstances beyond their control.
Now a team of enthusiasts have re-launched the club at the Marina Leisure Centre, which is now a suitable venue thanks to the new sportshall flooring laid as part of a wider refurbishment by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
New members, aged 16 and over, are invited to join the club, whose chairman Manifold is a professional player, most recently with Glasgow Rocks, and lives in Gorleston.
The coaches are James Borg and Tom Allard, both experienced players. The club is also supported by the Borough Council, County Sports Partnership Active Norfolk and the Great Yarmouth Sport & Leisure Trust.
The long-term aim of the club is to further develop basketball across the borough, building on the work of Active Norfolk and other partners to inspire youngsters to get into the sport.
Patrick said: “I am really excited to get Great Yarmouth Basketball club up and running again. There are so many basketball enthusiasts in the area and we would love to give them a place to play where they can receive quality coaching, and join a team that can be competitive now, with the goal of excelling in the future.
“All the people behind the scenes of the club are so passionate about the game, and we all want to see it grow to its full potential in the area, and Great Yarmouth Basketball club is the way to do that.
“I urge any players or fans, young or old, from beginners to veterans, to come along to our sessions or get in contact with us so that they can be a part of something special. I am very proud of my hometown of Great Yarmouth, and I believe it has the potential to be a powerhouse town in English basketball.
“There are some talented players around here and I want my success as a basketball player to show what is possible for youngsters in the area. With hard work, dedication and self-belief, anything is possible.”
Active Norfolk is working with Norfolk Basketball Association and Basketball England to promote the sport in Norfolk, because basketball is one of Sport England’s 49 national governing body priority sports which active Norfolk have highlighted as a priority.
Basketball is increasingly popular in the Great Yarmouth borough, which has been identified as one of three key areas in which to develop the sport, alongside Norwich and King’s Lynn.
To get youngsters interested, club and satellite coach Tom Allard runs after-school satellite sessions at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy, Great Yarmouth High School, and East Norfolk Sixth Form College, which have been well attended since starting in September.
Separately, once the season closes, Patrick visits Great Yarmouth schools to introduce pupils to the game. He also runs camps to help individuals enhance their skills, and is the organiser and promoter of Gorleston Clifftop Charity Basketball Tournament.
Cllr Bernard Williamson, the borough council’s cabinet member for transformation and regeneration, whose portfolio includes sport and leisure, said: “I am delighted that the borough council’s investment in the Marina Leisure Centre has acted as a catalyst for the re-establishment of Great Yarmouth Basketball club.
“You only have to walk past the basketball courts, on North Drive, to see that basketball is a popular sport in the Great Yarmouth borough. It is estimated there are 200 to 300 people here who play with friends, without a more formal outlet for their talents.
“Now they can join an actual club, Great Yarmouth Basketball, which should go from strength to strength, supported by the work of Active Norfolk, Patrick Manifold and other local champions of the sport.”
Head coach James Borg said: “This is about meeting the demand in our area, and uniting the community through the game of basketball, and nurturing the talents of players by passing on what we’ve learnt over the years from elite coaches, to allow new players to join us in the basketball community here in Great Yarmouth.
“I hope to contribute towards this as a coach for the club, and be part of the wonderful team we have assembled here.”
Wayne Nixon, the general manager of the Marina Centre, said: “I am glad to be actively encouraging and promoting basketball in the community, and able to offer the use of our fantastic refurbished sportshall.”
At this stage, the sessions are only open to those aged 16 and over. But as the after-school satellite sessions grow, the club hopes to establish separate men’s, ladies’ and junior teams, which could compete in fixtures around Norfolk and further afield.
For more information, contact Great Yarmouth Basketball secretary, Jo Thomas, on 07503 083563, or visit the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GreatYarmouthBasketball