Tuesday 12 March 2013
Basketball in the Midlands has received a big boost over the past month with Aston Villa’s players displaying their skills to encourage youngsters to take up the game, while a tournament was held involving the three Barclays Premier League clubs from the region.
Fabian Delph and Ciaran Clark swapped the football pitch for the basketball court to support one of Villa's Premier League 4 Sport projects. The Villa pair took part in a session with 13 to 15-year-olds at Arthur Terry School in Sutton Coldfield last month and were joined by Team GB basketball captain Drew Sullivan.
The Villa Premier League 4 Sport scheme has been delivering sports clubs in Birmingham schools since 2010 and has engaged around 2,000 young people in community sports.
"It was really fun," said Clark. "I haven't done this kind of thing since I left school. It was good to get out into the community and see the kids. I wasn't good at basketball at school and I wasn't on this occasion either. Fabian was the same as me - not good!"
The visit came after Sporting Club Albion, a branch of the foundation for West Bromwich Albion, hosted the first regional basketball tournament for Premier League clubs in the Midlands. The tournament included under-14 and under-16 boys and girls teams from Villa, Stoke City and Sporting Club Albion. More than 60 children participated after taking part in satellite sessions at their respective clubs.
Teams competed in a round-robin format, playing each other twice. Stoke won the Under-14 boys, while Sporting Club Albion triumphed in the Under-14 girls and both Under-16 boys and girls. The main aim of the tournament was to give teams the opportunity to compete in a tournament environment, displaying the skills developed within their satellite club and, most importantly, to enjoying the sport.
The tournament was officiated by young volunteers who have gained referee and table officiating qualifications through Premier League 4 Sport and Youth Sports Trust (YST)-funded courses.