The Ripley Ravens’ success story moves to the next level tomorrow night (Friday) when the basketball club plays its first league game.
Less than a year after it was formed, the flourishing club plays its debut match in the Sherwood Basketball League Division Two, at home to Spondon Flames, at Ripley Leisure Centre (7.45pm start).
The club was formed out of a Back To Basketball scheme last October, a national initiative to get people playing the sport again.
Player and club chairman Martin Simpson explained: “It just took off from there, particularly in the last few months.
“The progress has been so fast that it doesn’t seem so long ago that we had five players and we were playing three against three, with the coach joining in! But now it has really blossomed to the stage where we have over 30 people coming along to training sessions and we have had to split them into two.
“The 6.30pm-8pm session on Fridays, is for the more beginner level and from 8pm-9.30pm it is for the more senior players.
“We have players from the Derby area, Long Eaton, Mansfield etc plus lots of local guys so it’s going from strength to strength. There’s obviously a need out there and we are happy to fill it.”
The Sherwood Basketball League is a long-established set-up catering for teams from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and features some strong teams with quite a few ex-national league players, but Martin feels Ravens have the capability to hold their own.
“We are attracting more and more players who are coming on board because they want to be a part of it. When we made the decision to go into the league, you could possibly argue we weren’t quite ready for it, but there has been a real explosion since then, to the extent that we certainly feel we are ready for it now.
“We have had a busy pre-season and we hosted a tournament on Friday where there were two Ravens’ teams, one from Bolsover, plus the locally-based perennials Team BC and a team from Macclesfield who saw on social media we were holding it and came down to take part, so that was great.
“We would eventually like to have two teams plus a youth team, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves just yet. There has been a lot of work involved in getting a team in the league, but we are really looking to the first game.
“We have picked up a quite a few experienced league players to the point where we certainly feel we can be competitive in this league.
“We have to pinch ourselves sometimes to see how far and fast we have come but we’re building all the time. It’s been great to see the club flourish.”
People wishing to find out more about the club and its sessions can email email@example.com or call Martin Simpson on 07989 678527.