With only a few weeks remaining until the grand final of the new Coonabarabran Basketball competition, the long-awaited return of the popular team sport has been heralded a great success.
Jumping off on 17 July, the competition has attracted strong interest from new and former players.
A total of 91 registered players, aged 13-years and older, make up 10 mixed teams.
Coonabarabran Basketball secretary, Narda Abel, said she wasn’t surprised with the final numbers, given the feedback from former members about how strong basketball in Coonabarabran had been over the years.
“There’s a lot of experience in the town,” Narda said.
“A lot of people were eager to see basketball back up and running and we’ve been supported by the whole community.
“But I was surprised with the number of players who have registered that have never played before and it is fantastic so see how they are going now.”
The idea to reform a local basketball league came directly from the youth of Coonabarabran.
Several teams were travelling to Gunnedah and Dubbo, often late at night, in order to compete.
Nardal said the teenagers were very vocal about starting a competition in Coonabarabran.
“And obviously, parents want to provide opportunities for their children, which is how the local competition came to be,” she said.
“Basketball NSW has been very supportive - they’re running a referee training course in October, which will be very beneficial when our players do travel away, because they can referee as well as participate in competitions.
“There’s also some exciting development stuff going on for junior members this month.”
The club has plans to field two teams for the 40th anniversary of the Windmill Basketball Carnival, in Gilgandra in November.
During its peak in the 1970’s and 80’s, spearheaded by Don and Virginia Pollock and other basketball enthusiasts, Coonabarabran Basketball had a strong sporting presence, running several nights a week on three courts, with more than 400 registered players.
“Some of the talent that is in Coonabarabran is awesome,” Narda said.
“There’s been a lot of spectator support and everyone is looking after each other and instructing one another.
“We’ve had fantastic feedback from players too.”
While the grand final of the winter competition has been set down for Monday, 25 September, Narda said this was just the start of the return of basketball to Coonabarabran.
“We will be having other competitions during the year.
“In our next competition we’re hoping to run youth competitions and hopefully we can just grow from this.
“For a new sporting group, it’s going really well!”
Jake Cameron takes a shot from near the half-way line, during the relaunched Coonabarabran Basketball competition.