On the ball
PUBLISHED: 17:33 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:21 04 May 2010
BASKETBALL in Royston is in a healthy state as the sport continues to go from strength to strength. The standard of the sport in and around Royston has been highlighted by Royston and District Sports Council chairman Ken Charles, and Corvus Cornix coach
BASKETBALL in Royston is in a healthy state as the sport continues to go from strength to strength.
The standard of the sport in and around Royston has been highlighted by Royston and District Sports Council chairman Ken Charles, and Corvus Cornix coach Terry Graves.
This looks to be another great year as the town's youngsters continue to impress on court, with a number of players competing in the national league.
Under-14 players Joe Graves, Nathan Crossman, and Neil Addison have been in impressive form for both school and club, with the Meridian students shining for the Essex and Herts Leopards.
Meridian also boasts the talents of national league Under-16 players Tom Higton, Robbie Connell, Tom Manning, and Ben Jackson, while Charlie Graves, Ashley Judge, and former Meridian student Nathan Wilson line up for the under-18s.
Graves, who has had all the youngsters under his guidance at both Greneway School and Corvus Cornix Basketball Club, said: "At school level, the standard of basketball is very high. Greneway has won 21 championships in the last 13 years!
"Royston has become a stronghold for school basketball, with Greneway, and more recently, Meridian, leading the way.
"And the players are learning so much by playing at a national level with their skill, understanding, fitness, team play, and experience all improving.
"And that rubs off on the schools, as the quality of these players also enhances the quality and performances of their respective school teams, and raises the profile of the sport."
Last season Greneway and Meridian won four out of the five district championships, with the Meridian Under-19 team also participating in the National Schools competition, and Greneway leading the way at the Hertfordshire Youth Games.
Royston has also produced a number of talented girls over the years, with Charlotte Rees, Emma Higton, Charlotte Foulger, and Emmie Sayers playing at national league level, while Rachel Smith represented England.
There is also much hope for 18-year-old Nathan Wilson, who has already represented England Under-18s.
Graves said: "Nathan is an exceptional player who can be as good as he wants to be.
"I think that he will get even better with time.
"The latest crop of players has the potential to be as good, but only time will tell if they reach the high levels Nathan has set."
Ken Charles, who was once the FIBA mini-basketball president, said: "The development of basketball within Royston has been hugely supported over the years, and the youngsters receive good grounding at both Greneway and Corvus Cornix.
"I've been involved with the sport for many years, and I've seen so many young players come through and go on to great things - and that was one of the reasons why I became involved - to give children the opportunity to release their potential.
"And over the years Royston's young players have had a lot of that.
"Now, 30-40 years on, the town is still producing fantastic young players, which I also feel is down to the quality of coaching that has and is being offered.
"Basketball in Royston is in a very healthy position, and it has the potential to get even better.