The Basketball Club recently hosted the Old Boys charity basketball games. The annual event saw current and former students from the University of Chester each donate £5 to play in a series of basketball games in aid of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Fighting Blindness.
In this week’s blog post, Niel Gillard, Men’s Basketball Club Captain, tells us a bit more about the club and their recent charity games. Niel graduated from the University of Chester in 2014 with a BA (Hons) in Law. He is now studying for his PhD at the University, while also maintaining his role as Men’s Basketball Club Captain.
“At the University, Men’s Basketball have a First team which consists of both current students and alumni. Ahead of the 2014/15 season, the Men’s Basketball Club entered their First team into the Basketball England Club National League System. The University team started at the bottom in the Men’s National Founders Cup, but has won back to back promotions into Division 4, then Division 3, and after finishing second in Division 3 North this season, we are in contention to be promoted to Division 2.
“Our basketball programme aspires to become nationally recognised and give student players, alongside alumni, the opportunity to represent the University regularly at a higher level. The current student players continue to benefit from training and playing with more experienced players, who help to raise the standard of training, improve development and become role models for student players. Alumni benefit by staying involved with the University and continuing to play an important role in developing the basketball programme.
“So far the team has proven extremely successful and has benefitted the club immensely, as can be shown by team performances in both BUCS and Basketball England competitions. This year the BUCS First team came second in BUCS Division 2A and won the BUCS Northern Conference Cup, while the first team were runners up in NBL Division 3 North, semi-finalists in the National Shield and reached the Play-Off quarter finals.
“Unfortunately, we do not have any more competitive games left this season, however we did have the Old Boys charity games on Saturday, May 6. Shortly after 12 noon, current students and alumni arrived at the Downes Sports Hall. The day started with a match between the current students and alumni. The alumni team spanned from alumni who graduated in 2004, to more recent alumni who graduated last year.
“The moment the game tipped off, competitiveness kicked in, with both teams wanting to be crowned victorious. In previous years, the games tendered to start off close before the current team’s superior fitness levels came into effect. This year started off no differently, with teams exchanging baskets early in the first quarter. Towards the end of the first quarter the current team began to build a lead. In the second quarter however the Old Boys fought back to reduce the deficit, but the current team continued to build on their lead. It was not until the third quarter that the Old Boys began slowly chipping away at the lead. They continued to fight well into the final quarter, reducing what had been a 40 point lead to the current team down to just 25 points by the end of the game!
“After the match had finished, the teams were broken down into two teams of current students and two teams of alumni. The final was played and the current students emerged victorious. With the basketball finished, everyone moved to the Students’ Union bar where old kit was sold off. Many of the Alumni had been eager to purchase the kit they once played in. We then went for food before heading into town to explore all the new bars which have opened since the Old Boys had graduated. All in all, it was a fun day for everyone involved.”
Plans for next year’s Old Boys charity games are already underway. If you would like to take part and be kept informed of events, please contact the Basketball Club’s Charity Officer, Jamaine Bernard: firstname.lastname@example.org.