Club’s aiming for the minor leagues

Members of a fun weekly basketball club in Ripley say they have taken to the sport so well- they plan on starting the town’s first official team.

The 14 club members ranging in age from 15 to 50 began meeting every Friday at Ripley Leisure Centre on Derby Road in October, as part of a post-Olympics Government run initiative called Ball Again.

But when funding for the scheme, led by professional basketball coach Barish Salih, dried up at the end of last year, the group continued to meet, chipping in for the £32-an-hour cost of hiring the court.

Now member Martin Simpson is trying to get more support and players to make the team official - with the ultimate aim of joining the lower echelons of the Nottinghamshire Basketball League.

The computer engineer, 27, said: “We’ve got a core of players that want to try and develop the club, have more sessions and look at playing in the league at some point. We have guys come here that have never played - right through to people who have been playing for the last ten years.”

He added: “At the moment we are just trying to raise awareness that the sessions are going on and increase the attendance and membership.

“We don’t want to lose the casual players though.”

The club has no coach and currently no regular funding stream. But Spondon man Martin, who only took up the sport in October, says the support for the idea is strong - with players travelling from as far as Long Eaton to take part.

“We found a lot of people who attend the sessions have been looking for this for years,” he said. “It’s a really good team sport, and it’s quite an easy game to pick up.”

If you would like to join the club, which meets at Ripley Leisure Centre every Friday between 7pm and 9pm just turn up, or email Comfortable sports clothes, trainers and a drink are needed, and players must be 15 or above.