Community basketball team Mildenhall Jets gearing up first game of the season against Beccles Bombers
A new community basketball team in a Suffolk town is gearing up for its first game tomorrow.
Mildenhall Jets was founded in March and has been holding training sessions since April, with the aim to increase participation in the sport in the area.
The idea for the Mildenhall Jets came from head coach Bradley Day, who has played college basketball in the United States and currently plays for Ipswich men’s team.
Bradley came to Graham Gladstone, a basketball fan and local paramedic, Graham’s wife Lisa, as well as Keith Swann and Steve Gunn who have both coached basketball, with the proposal to get a team started up.
There are currently five teams that all train at Mildenhall Hub, including under 11’s, under 12’s, under 13’s, under 15’s and under 18’s.
Lisa, who is treasurer for the Mildenhall Jets, said: “We are all really excited and enjoying seeing the children making so much progress already.
“It has all been done with the community in mind, we feel great pride in bringing children from all over the area and involving all the parents to create a real family atmosphere.
“We want to develop the club and look to keep welcoming new children as years progress to look to potentially entering National League level teams.
“Individually we want to give the children something that they enjoy whilst making them technically sound, good, all-round players whilst instilling a sense of community and feeling part of the Mildenhall Jets family.”
Over the summer, Bradley, his fiancé Charity, and Graham, gave up their Sunday mornings to hold free basketball sessions at Douglas Park for the community.
“Basketball in the area was not such a popular sport but it is increasing in popularity,” Lisa said.
“When people finally come across basketball, whether watching or playing, they really enjoy it but the problem is a lack of knowledge about the game.
“It is Bradley's mission to bring more people to the sport in the area and he has finally found some like minded people to turn things around with him.
“It is not for profit and all of our coaches are volunteers and who are giving up a lot of their time to the club.”
Lisa added that the team are looking to train up younger coaches and referees to help out with Bradley, Keith, Graham and Charity.
The under 12’s Jets come up against Beccles Bombers in a league game on Sunday at the Mildenhall Hub for a 1.15pm tip off.
Ian Shipp, mayor of Mildenhall, is delighted with the progression of the Mildenhall Jets over the last few months and can’t wait to see how the community side continues to get on.
He said: “It’s great to see the development of Mildenhall Jets basketball club going from strength to strength and I’m really proud of the work the Jets volunteers have put in to support and develop our local players.
“The Jets offer another activity for participation in sport in Mildenhall keeping up our reputation as Suffolk’s most active town.
“I wish the Jets all the best and will be supporting them along the way.”