Ipswich head into the WNBL Division One season, following a strong first campaign at the highest level of the National League.
It is almost impossible to think of the Ipswich team without associating them with the team of 2017/2018, who made basketball history, going 23-0, and much of last season was this new look group establishing their own reputation. With new faces Becky Harwood—Bellis and Charlotte Redhead drafted in, while established ‘stars’ Ash Pink and Maya Price off to University in America, Ipswich completed a 13-10 record in all competitions, including reaching the National Cup and playoff quarter finals, while battling injuries and ill health for much of the season. Fast forward twelve months and Ipswich are now an established Division One side, with a similar looking roster to last term, but with a full season of experience under their belts.
The young Ipswich team returns the majority of their playing squad from the 18/19 season (Photo - Pavel Kricka)
The Suffolk based team will start the season with dynamic wing Esther Little sidelined with a foot injury, and without retired former captain, Amy Linton, but other than the absence of those two, the roster looks much the same. Division One leading scorer and newly appointed club captain, Harriet Welham will spearhead the Ipswich offence. Welham was good for twenty four points per game last season, and was selected to the WNBL Division One ‘team of the season’.
Also returning are Danni Cazey, Charlotte Redhead, Beck Harwood-Bellis and Ella Pearson while the exciting young duo of Cameron Taylor-Willis and Susannah Rafiu complete the list of returnee’s. Ipswich have also bolstered their squad with the addition of guard Colleen ‘Coco’ Leung. The former Essex Rebel will become the teams starting guard, filling a position that the club struggled with last season. There are also plans to further extend the depth of the roster, but Head Coach Nick Drane is keeping his cards very close to his chest “We have a very talented roster, one that I think will be very competitive at this level. We still have a few irons in the fire and hope to recruit a couple more players before things really get going, but we kind of have to wait for that because we don’t find out what players are out there until other teams establish their rosters”.
Ipswich started their season last weekend, recording an impressive victory on the road to league champions, Bristol Flyers, but this Saturday is the day the ‘blue army’ have been waiting for.
Saturday see’s the women host Southwark Pride at 3pm before the Senior Men host Solent Kestrels at 5:30.