As British Basketball gets the nod of approval from the government to finally restart the game, we take a look at what that means for Sevenoaks Suns and their ambitions to lift the Womens British Basketball League (WBBL) title once again.
Firstly, our local professional basketball side will not be able to play their home matches within the district this season. A lack of venues, together with the removal of the Sennocke Centre facilities at Sevenoaks School, means that Head Coach Len Busch and his squad will play the majority of their matches at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, home to Surrey Scorchers of the BBL. However, there maybe some opportunities for the club to play a handful of matches at Tonbridge School.
Then there’s Covid, and all that comes with it! Normally teams in the WBBL would travel the length and breadth of the country each weekend, from Cardiff to Newcastle and London to Manchester. The early part of the season will prove very difficult to manage those trips so the WBBL have decided to start with the WBBL Cup group stages before breaking for the GB Women’s International window. Renee Busch will join her Suns team mate Janice Monakana when she takes to the court representing GB Basketball, whilst her Dad Len, will be looking after the under 20’s.
The WBBL Championship will then tip-off on December 12th, with two weeks of action before breaking for Christmas and New Years. Suns will however play just the once, away at Newcastle Eagles, dependant on local lockdowns.
The Championship season will end on the weekend of April 24/25, 2021 with the Play-Offs commencing immediately before the grand season finale at a date/venue to be announced.
Busch said: ”I am really looking forward to getting back on the court. We were very disappointed when last season was called off in March. We were well on our way to winning the league again and were looking forward to another successful playoff run”.
The hugely popular duo of Cat Carr and Ta’Yani Clark will return to the court for Sevenoaks in 2020/21, meaning fans can continue to enjoy the pair of WBBL legends for another season.
As usual, the twin turbos will spearhead the silverware challenge on all fronts for Suns, with Carr ready to appear for what will be her ninth season in British Basketball and her eighth with Sevenoaks. A perennial individual WBBL award winner, including multiple MVP accolades, Carr has been the centrepiece of Suns’ rise to the status of a WBBL powerhouse.
The do-it-all star will be looking to dominate as usual, no doubt re-taking her spot at the top of every opponents’ scouting report.
Similarly, Clark will also look to ride high and show her class once again, having also provided a powerful thrust in Sevenoaks’ charge towards honours in past seasons.
Head coach Len Busch is both thrilled and relieved that the pair have committed to another campaign, saying: “I am a very lucky coach to have had these two for the past four years together. They are both such great people who lead both on and off the court.
The Sevenoaks play-caller continued: “This will be Cat’s eighth season with Suns and the amazing thing is she has improved every single year. Bringing her good friend Ta’Yani to Suns four years ago was one of my better moves and I really do owe them both a lot, so it’s extra special they will continue to represent the club for a bit longer”.
On top of the returning duo Sevenoaks have signed Lavinia DaSilva who played with Barking Abbey last season. DaSilva, a Portuguese international, will bolster the inside presence alongside returnee Julia Koppl.
They have also brought in Millie Stevens who came up through the ranks with Suns, played Division One basketball in America, and has now decided to return to Suns after taking some time away from the game.
Busch added: “I’m looking forward to Renee Busch and Irene Garrido playing bigger roles this season. Both were playing quite well at the end of last season.
“We also have some young players who will get some court time. Most notably, Asha Andrews who I think can contribute right now. The others, Mila Stepanovic, Izzy Wood, and Zulieka Franklyn will all see action too.
“I think Cat Carr and Ta’Yani Clark have another good run in them. If we can just get going and not have too many virus complications. The league looks a lot stronger this year so the games should be very entertaining”.