Bobcats set for return to action

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Ipswich Bobcats open their Women's Basketball National League campaign with the visit of Nottingham Wildcats this weekend.Bobcats are back in action in the top flight of the newly-formed and prestigious WNBL Conference.

IPSWICH Bobcats open their Women's Basketball National League campaign with the visit of Nottingham Wildcats this weekend.

Bobcats are back in action in the top flight of the newly-formed and prestigious WNBL Conference.

The Ipswich-based outfit, after a successful season last year, have been accepted into the Conference after being recognised as one of the best organised and well supported clubs, both on and off court, in the country.

The other teams that make up the Conference are reigning champions Sheffield Hatters, Rhondda Rebels, Nottingham Wildcats, Thames Valley Tigers, UWIC (Cardiff), London Sting and Swindon Sonics.

The Bobcats still lack any sort of major sponsorship and the club has to raise all its funds through the normal fund-raising methods which as always is a very difficult and time consuming task.

The club has always tried to give the talented players in Suffolk the opportunity to compete at the highest level if finances allow, but as time goes by this becomes much more difficult.

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This coming season is no different although the club has benefited at Junior level with the RAF funding a new kit as well as providing a small amount of financial help.

Once again the club is appealing to any businesses or individuals who would like to sponsor the club in any way to come forward.

Bobcats are looking for programme advertisers, kit sponsorship or anybody that would like to have their company as part of the team name. Interested parties can contact the club through the website at

The team line-up this season will be similar to last term with a blend of youth and experience.

Laura Shemming will again captain the side after what was one of her best season's ever last year.

Shemming has now risen to second in the club's all-time points scorers list which is a great tribute to her ability and loyalty to the club.

She will be backed up by Kirsty Clark, who recently gained her first Scottish international cap, Helen Wood, Line Brodie and Catherine MacLean.

The return of the evergreen Angela Orvis on a limited basis will also be a great bonus to the club and she is another player that features highly on the all-time list of top points scorers.

The younger players will be Kayleigh Read, Kirsty Banns, Charlotte Dunne, Kayleigh Button and Lauren Lindsay but as other youngsters improve they may also force their way on to the bench.

Elaine Miller will again coach the senior team, assisted by Karen Read and with the step up in class they are going to be busy motivating the team to reach these higher levels of performance.

The Cadette team sees the return to the club of former Bobcat Fay Greaves as coach.

She has a talented group of rising stars to take charge of and this season should be a successful one. Bernard Ball will be overseeing the development of the younger players and will be assisted by another former player in the shape of Sandy Brown together with current players Brodie and Shemming.

The Bobcats are still searching for a tall inside player to complete the roster and with none available locally may have to look further afield.

The club always welcomes new players and interested prospective players can contact the club through the website.

The Bobcats will also be running Centres of Excellence programmes for junior (Under-16) female players, which will be open to anyone in Suffolk and North Essex that has the talent and commitment to play at Junior National League standard. More details of these are on the website. Currently the main sessions are at Holywells High, Nacton Dome, on Friday's. The sessions run from 5-6pm for Under-12s, 6-7.30pm (Under-14s) and 7.30-9pm (14-plus-seniors).

The Bobcats' first home game will be at Maidenhall Sports Centre against Nottingham on Saturday (tip-off 6.30pm).

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