New bas­ket­ball net­work

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SARAH SCULLY

Horsham Hor­nets men’s and women’s teams will put their skills to the test against com­pe­ti­tion from dif­fer­ent towns fol­low­ing a Coun­try Bas­ket­ball League ex­pan­sion.

The league has in­tro­duced a north­west con­fer­ence for the 2017-18 sea­son to cater for strong de­mand for the com­pe­ti­tion.

League co-or­di­na­tor Sammy Cartwright said 56 teams from 29 as­so­ci­a­tions, in­clud­ing four from South Aus­tralia, would com­pete in an ex­panded four-con­fer­ence for­mat.

“League num­bers have been steadily ris­ing for the past six years and this has re­sulted in a re­quire­ment to con­sider the CBL con­fer­ence struc­ture, to en­sure a fair and eq­ui­table com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

“The num­ber of teams en­ter­ing from the cen­tral and north­ern ar­eas of coun­try Vic­to­ria have re­sulted in the in­tro­duc­tion of a north-west con­fer­ence to ac­com­mo­date them and keep travel to a min­i­mum.”

Horsham Am­a­teur Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion has been one of the south-west con­fer­ence’s top teams for sev­eral years.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s Coun­try Bas­ket­ball League rep­re­sen­ta­tive and player Matt Lovel said fol­low­ing a reshuf­fle, Horsham would join the new north­west con­fer­ence.

“We didn’t really mind too much which con­fer­ence we were put in,” he said.

“We would’ve liked to have won the south-west con­fer­ence after get­ting close a few times, but it will be good to play against some new teams.”

Stawell Wild­cats will not par­tic­i­pate in the CBL this sea­son, how­ever Ararat Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion will form part of the south-west con­fer­ence, field­ing Red­backs men’s and women’s teams.

“It’s great to have an­other Wim­mera team in the com­pe­ti­tion,” Lovel said.

“It’s strange that we won’t be play­ing in the same con­fer­ence as Ararat but I think they wanted to bal­ance the amount of teams in the con­fer­ences.

“We would’ve liked to have a Wim­mera ri­valry, but that’s just how it goes.”

Horsham will com­pete against Bendigo, Castle­maine, Kyne­ton, Mary­bor­ough, Mil­dura and Swan Hill, while Ararat will go head to head with Co­lac, Mil­li­cent, Mt Gam­bier, Port­land, Terang and War­rnam­bool.

Lovel said the Hor­nets looked for­ward to the chal­lenge.

“We as­sume Bendigo will be the main team we’ll be up against be­cause they use the CBL as a step­ping stone into Big V and SEABL com­pe­ti­tions,” he said.

“Mil­dura is sim­i­lar, they also have a Big V team. They might even use it as a step­ping stone for their ju­niors.

“We don’t know much about the oth­ers.

“All the clubs have women’s teams, ex­cept for Mil­dura, which is just a men’s com­pe­ti­tion.”

Lovel said the Hor­nets had started train­ing, which would ramp up fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of football and net­ball com­mit­ments.

“Our team will be sim­i­lar to last year’s and we’ve got a cou­ple of ju­niors com­ing through, which will be one of our main fo­cuses,” he said. “We’re look­ing for­ward to the sea­son get­ting un­der­way.”

The Hor­nets have re-ap­pointed Cam Bruce as men’s coach and Gareth His­cock as women’s coach.

The 2017-18 sea­son starts on Oc­to­ber 14, with the sched­ule due to be re­leased on Septem­ber 5.

RESHUF­FLE: Cam Bruce will again coach the Horsham Hor­nets men’s team for the 2017-18 Coun­try Bas­ket­ball League sea­son – this time in a new con­fer­ence. Pic­ture: PAUL CAR­RACHER

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