Monday, 4 February 2013

THE COLD END DOES.....BASKETBALL... AT THE HEMEL STORM

TheColdEnd visited the Hemel Storm on Saturday night who played host to the Westminster Warriors in a vcars.co.uk English Basketball League Division One match up. This is effectively the second tier of Basketball in England with only the British Basketball League (BBL) above it. The BBL works on a franchise system so there is officially no promotion or relegation between the EBL and BBL. Although many teams have made the step up. There is promotion between the EBL leagues which operates eight men's and four women's divisions as you can see from the below information.

English Basketball League System 2012/13 - Men
DIVISION 1 NATIONAL (14 TEAMS)
DIVISION 2 NATIONAL (12 TEAMS)
DIVISION 3 NORTH AND SOUTH DIVISIONS (24 TEAMS)
DIVISION 4 NORTH,MIDLANDS,SOUTH-EAST & SOUTH WEST DIVISIONS (40 TEAMS)

English Basketball League System 2012/13 - Women
DIVISION 1 NATIONAL (8 TEAMS)
DIVISION 2 NORTH, MIDLANDS/SOUTH EAST & MIDLANDS SOUTH WEST (29 TEAMS)

The town of Hemel Hemsptead has a rich history of Basketball with the Hemel Lakers formed in 1977 having many seasons of National League success where they finished in the play-off positions and played at Wembley Arena. The club eventually moved in 1998 to Milton Keynes to become the MK Lions who last season departed the Buckinghamshire town to become the London Lions and from the start of 2013/13 will play their BBL matches in the Copper Box arena on the Olympic Park.

The new club was formed in 2006 and has played as a feeder club to the West Herts Warriors before becoming the Watford Storm in 2008 following the parent club's withdrawal from the league. For 2009/10 the club became the Edmonton Storm and eventually settled in the Hemel Sportspace for the start of the 2010/11 season. This season is their first in Division One having won promotion from Division Two at the end of 2011/12.  Although there is officially no connection between The Storm and the original Laker's club there were many people involved with the old club who help run the new one. Including current Head Coach David Titmuss. The return to Hemel in 2010 put an end to a thirteen year absence of the game from the town.

Their opponents the Westminster Warriors were formed in 1987 as a community club focused on making a positive impact on local young people. The club has many youth teams and after a few years without an Adult first team they re-joined the league in 2007. After three promotions they now find themsleves competing in Division One alongside Storm and twelve other clubs from across the country from the Bradford Dragons to the Worthing Thunder.

TheColdEnd can highly recommend a trip to Hemel to watch a game as it's a great value for money night out for all the family with a very friendly atmosphere. My five year old little boy loved it (so much so he wants to return as soon as we can) and it was great to see every player involved getting on with the game and respecting the match officials. There was no bad language or back chat which is, unfortunately, not like the football games I see regularly.

This was a close game in the first half with the scores near enough level (39-40) at the half time break. A strong second half performance from the home side saw them end up winners by 94-80. There were impressive dunks and many three successful three point shots from both sides which you'll see from the match highlights I managed to record below.

It's only £5 for adults and £1 for kids to get in for matches although The Storm regularly run promotions for cheap entry on their website

As well as Hemel Stom there are other local Basketball clubs in the Hertfordshire and North London area which will be well worth visiting too. Check out englandbasketball.co.uk for fixture information.

The Ware Rebels (reformed for this season) play in Division Four South-East and have a few home games coming up at Wodson Park. They face a derby match on Sunday 17th February when they welcome Hertfordshire Warriors. rebelsbasketball.co.uk will have more details if you fancy taking in a game.

Hemel's next home game is on Saturday 9th February 2013 when they host the Essex Leopards in a National Trophy Semi-Final. The game tips off at 7pm.

SOME MATCH HIGHLIGHTS are below



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