A HEREFORDSHIRE sports club have issued an appeal to ‘everyone who can push a chair and bounce a ball.’
Adam Button is the new club development officer for Hereford Harriers Wheelchair Basketball Team, who train twice a week at Whitecross School.
The club have just competed in their first tournament and are keen to join next year’s British Wheelchair Basketball League.
“We have put up posters in local schools and would very much like to get more children involved,” said Button, who says the sport is not restricted to disabled people.
“I have arthritis and my wife has a spine problem.
“My daughter, Megan, plays in our league team and we have a young lad who plays basketball for Weobley School.
“We really need more people to come along and we’d love to hear from anyone in the county who can push a chair and bounce a ball.
“We have 10 people who come on Saturdays - ranging from adults with Down Syndrome to children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy - and we have some able-bodied.
“Wheelchair basketball is a great game and there’s a very good social side. “We have only really formalised the club in the past eight or nine weeks.” Hereford Harriers run two sessions per week - the Saturday sessions are for novices and anyone wanting to have a go at the sport.
And the Sunday sessions are for those who want to play in a league team, have basketball experience, and can use a wheelchair at speed. The Button family are heavily involved in the Harriers - Adam’s wife, Wendy, a social worker for Wye Valley NHS, is the new club secretary. “We moved the club from thePoint4 to Whitecross School because the school has a fully marked basketball court with permanent nets,” Adam said. “Herefordshire doesn’t really offer a lot of sport for wheelchair users, so this is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved.” The club have joined forces with the University of Worcester to borrow 10 basketball wheelchairs and a trailer. Tom Emmett is another big wheel in the club and helped set it up 12 months ago. It was initially run in conjunction with Hereford United.
Emmett, from Tupsley, is the club chairman and says the hour-long Saturday sessions are great for people wanting to learn the basic skills of basketball.
“It’s a lot of fun as we all mix together - able bodied, disabled, children and adults in a safe, friendly and happy environment,” he said.
“We use sport to keep fit and it teaches people that having a disability doesn’t mean you have to sit around doing nothing.”
Harriers’ head coach Katie Camplin travels from the West Midlands.
Harriers’ players gave a good account of themselves their maiden tournament against the University of Worcester, Bromsgrove Blaze and Gloucester Blazers.
“Our league-level team are progressing nicely and have already played their first tournament after just eight weeks of solid training,” said Katie.
“Although we didn’t come away with a win, I am immensely proud of what the team have achieved in such a short time.
“But we need to find more players for next year’s entry into the British Wheelchair Basketball League.”
Adam said the club could be a chance for people to get back into sport.
“For those that have played basketball before and have got a leg injury or have lost a leg through amputation, this represents a second chance for them to be involved in our league side – it’s a lot of hard work but it’s very rewarding.”