Improvement for Ripley Ravens after a tough start to their first league season

The inaugural season for Ripley Ravens in the Sherwood Basketball League Division Two has seen a tough start but continual improvement over the opening games.

The club only started up a year ago but it flourished to such an extent that the decision was taken to play league basketball, an impressive achievement after such a short time together.

After the months of planning came the first match of the season, at home to last year’s Division Two winners Spondon. The Ravens, who had several key players missing due to injury and illness, put up a strong fight.

The first three quarters of the game saw Ripley within two-three points of their opponents. Unfortunately, in the final quarter with the Ripley players fatigued due to having to play extended minutes due to the missing players and Spondon pulled away for the win.

The difficult start continued as Ripley played three more of the top four clubs in the leagues, recording losses in all of them but the team fared much better in their outing to a middle of the table Ilkeston Outlaws 2nds.

Ripley, who held the lead for most of the game, suffered from foul trouble in the last quarter with two key defensive players fouling out. Ilkeston capitalized to go on a run of five points in the last 30 seconds and beat Ripley by just two points. Highlights of the game included a three-point buzzer beater at the end of the half by Ripley point guard Elvyn Leo.

Fridays saw Ravens take on unbeaten league leaders Team BC, losing 110-37 and Sunday saw them play at Eastwood.

Ravens were leading for the first two quarters and played some attractive basketball but they gave the lead away in the second half to lose 58-40.

Club chairman Martin Simpson said: “We are still looking for the elusive first win but there are improvements in every game. All the pieces (players) are there but the team needs experience and time to gel. This will hopefully be sped up in the coming weeks as the club has engaged the help of Express Coaching services, who are affiliated with National League club Mansfield Giants, to mentor the senior team and player/coaches.”

The Ravens’ next two fixtures are away to Arena Bulls of Nottingham on November 14 and at home to Rolls-Royce Merlins on November 22 (7.45pm start at Ripley Leisure Centre.

The club continues to grow, adding more and more players to its development/casual/youth team virtually every week.

People wishing to find out more about the club can email or call Martin Simpson on 07989 678527.