Date set for vital Ipswich play to return
ANTICIPATION is turning to measured excitement as Ipswich Basketball Association Inc (IBA) officials plan the return of local competition next month.
After receiving the all-clear to resume non-contact training, regional basketballers are hoping junior and senior fixtures can be played from July 13 at Bundamba.
IBA president Chris Riches was optimistic the 18-20 week Ipswich season could be scheduled as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
"It's really just letting everyone know that we are going to be back up and running, provided there's no delays in what happens with the stages they are forecasting,'' Riches said.
"At the moment, we are just all holding our breath and waiting.''
However, extensive planning has been carried out by IBA general manager Brooke Norgrove, the management committee and local clubs.
A meeting last Thursday night set the framework for moving forward.
Riches said staff and club representatives had completed a specific basketball training course to make them aware of the procedures needed.
They include managing numbers of people in the stadium, having scheduling breaks between games and extra sanitising measures.
He said the biggest challenge had been keeping pace with coronavirus developments.
"It's the changing landscape in sport and what it's going to look like in the future as well as what we've basically just been through so far,'' Riches said.
"There's just so much change and it's happening so rapidly that you're making plans that have changed and have to adapt and evolve them.''
However, the dedicated official and coach was confident everything possible was being done to provide a safe basketball environment.
"We've really been super focused on that,'' he said, acknowledging Norgrove's efforts helping basketball return.
"Brooke has been working tirelessly on trying to get our policies and procedures up to scratch so those things can be managed well.''
The five clubs organising teams for the new Ipswich junior competition are Springfield Brumbies, Brothers, Mt Crosby, Swifts Comets and Easts Tigers.
They will play in respective age-based competitions from five year-olds upwards.
Senior players can line up for clubs or teams formed for the next competition.
Riches said a July 13 start would help senior basketballers also keen to be involved in the Queensland State League (second tier competition) being proposed to run later in the year.
With the inaugural NBL1 North (an expanded QBL series) delayed until next year, the QSL will give Ipswich's best development players an opportunity to keep in shape and press higher level claims.
"Clubs and rep teams are starting to fire up again in preparations for competitions towards the end of the year,'' Riches said.
"A lot of the competitions, for juniors and stuff like that, have just been pushed back.''
Riches said with all sports assessing their futures, a challenge was helping players still able to move between the sports they enjoy. Having an Ipswich basketball competition run at a normal time of the year will assist with that.
"That's important for us as a sport,'' Riches said. "We do play 12 months out of the year so do have people that transition from sport to another.
"They play one season and then play a different sport in the other season.''