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Wheelchair aces ready to enter British League
WORCESTER Wolves will be further enhancing their profile on the national stage with their wheelchair team entering the British League.
Under the guidance of chairman and player-coach Ollie Buncombe, Wolves’ wheelchair side will be pitting their wits against some of the country’s top sides.
They will be competing in Division Three, in either the Central or South section, from September and will be the only team from the area involved.
Matches are set to take place on Saturdays and Sundays at either the University Arena or the sports hall on the university’s St John’s campus, which is also the club’s training base.
Wolves are also due to host rivals Gloucester Blazers in a friendly on Saturday, August 16.
It is the club’s first venture into competitive basketball but Buncombe believes they can be a force.
He said: “We have got a team that are good enough to play in a league and we are extremely competitive.
“I am very hopeful, I think we are going to be quite a successful team judging by other results we have had.”
Since being formed three and-a-half years ago, the club has gone from strength to strength and now boasts 40 players, both juniors and seniors and disabled and able-bodied.
They train every Saturday from 11.30am to 1.30pm and Buncombe also oversees coaching sessions in schools, with the aim of recruiting more players.
Pupils at Christopher Whitehead Language College, Tudor Grange, Nunnery Wood and Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College all benefit from regular tuition.
Interest in the sport has also been boosted now that the Great Britain wheelchair squads, with whom Buncombe is a coach, are based at the arena in Hylton Road.
He said: “The team has developed to the point where if we didn’t play in a league we would be losing players.
“I want to be the team in this region but not losing the core values of inclusion, health and fitness and integration.
“We are a family club and we are still maintaining that structure even though we are in the league.” The chairman added: “Everything I learn from the GB sessions I bring to my coaching session with the first team and that is developing the club.”
Teams in the national league can compete using one able-bodied player, except in Division One.
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s able-bodied side face Latvia next weekend in two warm-up matches at the University Arena ahead of qualifying for the 2015 Eurobasket season.
The international matches take place on Saturday, July 19, and Sunday, July 20, both at 3pm.