ALTHOUGH the league season has finished, training and practice has not stopped and during a busy period in the off-season Warwickshire Bears junior and senior athletes have enjoyed success at Invictus and West Midlands junior trials.
Some of the Bears’ ex-service personnel attended Invictus Trials held last week in Sheffield where both Joe Preston and Andy Roberts won silver medals in wheelchair basketball, whilst Rick Powell and Dan Gill finished with a bronze medal.
Bears coach Tom Masterson said: “I’m so thrilled and proud of the Bears players who have been selected this year to take part in the Invictus games, as well as the Bears Cubs who have been selected to represent West Midlands in the upcoming regional finals in Worcester.
“We are enormously proud of all of our ex-service personnel at the club and to see four players from the Bears winning medals is fantastic. To top off a great week it was great to also see a number of Cubs picked for the West Midlands junior team.
“This all helps to reinforce the work we are doing at the club with our juniors and all the hard work they have put in this season.”
Last season, Bears entered a team into the junior league for the first time in their history. Despite not having much success, the Cubs have made a huge leap in their abilities and the club is looking to re-enter a team this season.
“We started a new Saturday session last season to try and make it easier for parents to bring the kids along and it seems to be working,” added Masterson.
“We also took the decision to offer the sessions free of charge to make it more appealing to parents as well. We are still a bit thin on numbers for the junior team, so again this year we are actively seeking to recruit more players to the juniors alongside our women’s team and National League teams.
“The great thing about this sport is the women and men play together in the same teams in all the leagues, except the women’s league. In fact, with the rules of the league, it is more beneficial to have more women and junior players in the squad.”
Bears are looking to recruit disabled or injured players, both male and female, plus any able-bodied player who fancies trying a new sport. The specialist wheelchairs are provided and the Saturday session will run over the summer period at Warwickshire College Henley-in-Arden Sports Centre.
“The opportunities for the juniors and women players are tremendous in our sport,” said Masterson.
“The juniors can get offered scholarships and help with universities if they get recognised internationally, plus players get financial help if they get recognised internationally at all ages.”