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Stroud Sharks are giving so many youngsters the chance to play basketball

All Areas > Sport > Basketball

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 26th September 2018, 09:00

Stroud Sharks under-12s Stroud Sharks under-12s

Been bitten by the basketball bug and want to play more? If the answer is ‘yes’, then Stroud Sharks are just the club for you.

The go-ahead set-up were founded in 2006 by Ian Shepherd and in the past couple of years have really gone from strength to strength.

Léo Fauré, who is club secretary, volunteer coordinator and a coach, said: “Last year we had 63 kids playing at under-12, 14 and 16 age groups.”

And that is just the start because the club would like to see the membership go past 70 and push towards 80 this season.

“The aim is offering participation in the Stroud Valley,” added Fauré, who is French. “We’re not looking for the next Michael Jordan, we offer availability although we still want to compete.”

The club train at two locations – Marling School and Thomas Keble School – and play matches at Gloucester College.

The teams compete in the Central Venue League against the likes of Gloucester Saxons and Gloster Jets and there are also plans for the under-16s to compete regionally this season as well.

That’s not the only new development at the thriving club.

“We want to form an under-10s team and one of the big things for us is to open the under-10s and under-12s to girls as well and run mixed teams,” said Fauré.

“We want girls to have the chance to play basketball.”

Although basketball is some way behind other sports such as football, rugby and cricket in terms of popularity in this country, Fauré insists that it is a mainline sport.

“A lot of youngsters play basketball when they are at school,” he said. “The trouble is that there is not a real structure in place when they leave school nor are there enough facilities.”

There is a structure at Stroud Sharks, however, because players have the opportunity to play for Gloucester Saxons, Gloster Jets or Bristol Flyers if they want to play National League and when they become too old for the Sharks, they can join local teams in Gloucester and Cheltenham who compete in a league organised by the Gloucestershire Basketball Association.

And while they are all good teams, there is a good team behind the teams at Stroud Sharks with Fauré explaining that they are all in it together as the club have grown in recent times.

They include Adam Beaumont, a coach who held the club together during a transition period before they kicked on again in 2016.

Then there is the club chairman Phil Swift, who has trained to be a qualified coach and has brought a wealth of experience from his time spent in rugby.

Jake Hawksbee has also been a major player too. “He has been at the club the longest even though he has only just turned 18 and is now a trained Level 2 coach,” added Fauré, who himself is a Level 2 coach.

All the club’s coaches are players with a wealth of playing experience and all still play. And the good news for the coaches is that the club have recruited six volunteer parents to help with all the admin tasks because, as Fauré says, “It takes a lot of time to run a club like this”.

Fauré swapped the South of France for the UK six years ago, moving to the Stroud Valley a couple of years ago.

Married and with an 18-month-old daughter, the 29-year-old who works in marketing would love to to raise the profile of the sport of basketball in his adopted country.

Fauré was brought up on basketball in Marseille where he grew up and said: “I’ve been playing since I was 10. In France it is the second sport after football, it is bigger than rugby.”

Since those early playing days he’s coached, refereed and managed teams and is loving every minute of his time with Stroud Sharks.

When time allowed Fauré played for another Gloucester club – the Tornadoes – last season although he is currently sidelined with an Achilles injury.

Although the injury is not good news, it will at least give him more time to devote to his beloved Stroud Sharks, a club he hopes his daughter Clementine will one day play for.

“Hopefully, that would be great,” he said.

And if and when she does play, you can be sure that dad will still be playing a leading role alongside so many others at the club.

Other Images

Stroud Sharks under-16s
Stroud Sharks under-14s in action
Coach Léo Fauré with the under-16s

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