Ravens still soaring after first season

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Ripley Ravens Basketball Club continues to go from strength to strength, and is still attracting more and more players from across the area.

To cope with the demand, the club will be running more training sessions throughout the summer and has had some more good news with the decision of coach Mark Woodhouse to continue his association with the club.

Ripley Ravens was only founded in October 2012 and was inspired into action by a locally-run Back To Basketball initiative.

Take-up was so rapid that the club was able to field a side in the Sherwood Basketball League Division Two for the Ravens’ inaugural, recently-completed season of competitive action.

Club chairman and player Martin Simpson explained: “As expected it was a very hard season for the group of mainly rookie players. However, as the season went on, performances got better and better, especially following the hiring of Mark Woodhouse as coach. And there were a number of very close games, and games where the team played some great basketball, especially towards the end of the season.

“The club rounded off its season with a friendly versus non-league Bolsover and comfortably won 74-38, showing the team’s progress from pre-season, where games versus Bolsover were very close.”

Through Express Coaching Services, the club brought in Mark Woodhouse, a top level player in Europe and England, who is moving into coaching too, initially on a short-term basis, but such was his impact on the club that this was extended to the end of the season - and now beyond.

Martin Simpson said: “Mark Woodhouse is now directly working for the club and will be for the foreseeable future, including the summer and next season. Mark has stated his aim is to compete for the Sherwood League Division Two title next season - and believes we have the players to do so. Mark has a previous track record of winning the league unbeaten with Spondon Flames, the season before this one.

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“All three of our groups are going well. We have good attendance at our now five sessions. These are under 17s (Friday), casual men (Friday), men’s (Friday and Wednesday) and Saturdays Open ‘Just Play’ session. The latest session is the Wednesday session which started recently and runs from 8pm-9.30pm at Aldercar Community Language College. We are also looking at running some summer camps with Mark Woodhouse over the school summer holidays.

“As always we are looking for new players across all groups. We have opened up our men’s sessions from being just for our league players, to any players that want to get to a standard to play in the league next year. They are suitable for all abilities as Mark is taking a back-to-basics approach over the summer.”

He added that the summer sees regular training in preparation for next year, with friendly games every few weeks. In June, Ravens will be taking several teams to a 3v3 tournament in Nottingham while tomorrow (Friday), the club is hosting an evening tournament as part of the Amber Valley Workplace Games.

This event is open to all types of workplaces who want to enter a team. No experience is required, just a willingness to get involved. The games will be five-a-side with 6-8 people allowed per squad (men and women welcome).

It runs from 6.30pm-9.30pm at Ripley Leisure Centre and the cost is £2 per person.

There are still vacancies for teams, so to enter you can either email beth@villagegames.org.uk or call Beth on 07584 904519.