Ladies national league basketball comes to Derby for the first time

Derby Trailblazers U16 Girls Team

Derby Trailblazers are delighted to announce the launch of a Ladies National League side in readiness for the 2018/19 season.

The addition of the Ladies programme is the final piece in the jigsaw of the club which started as a boys’ junior operation in 2000. It means the Trailblazers will now have male and female teams from U12 through to adults for the first time in their history.

The background for this exciting new development has come over the past three years, during which time a dedicated group of volunteers have met the challenge of establishing a junior female programme within Derby.

This started with a Sport England funded initiative in 2015 to provide an opportunity for girls to experience the game over a six-week period without cost.

With word spreading of the club’s female offering, the number of players doubled over the next 12 months which resulted in U14 & U16 Girls teams being entered into the National Basketball League for the 2016/17 season.

Their hard work was quickly noticed on a representative level, with a number of players being selected for East Midlands regional squads.

Last season, both Girls teams made the end of season playoffs, with the U14’s making history by progressing to the playoff quarter-final where they were narrowly edged out by Sheffield Hatters.

On a representative level, twelve Trailblazers girls were selected to play for the East Midlands in regional tournaments and for the first time, three girls were selected to be part of the England U15 squad, one of whom went on to captain her country at a recent international tournament in Denmark.

With a solid base of female participation in the club now established, two new programmes will be added, catering for Women and U12’s.

Heading up the Women’s National League team will be Leanne Chandler, a former professional and Great Britain international player who is a native of Derby, having attended Chellaston School before heading to the America to progress her basketball and academic ambitions.

The new team will compete in Division 2 of the National Basketball League and will be looking to establish themselves as a competitive team during their inaugural season.

The second of the new programmes will be targeted at U12 players and aims to attract a large number of girls aged 8-12 to get involved and enjoy playing the game and which will provide a pool of players who will then progress through the clubs many competitive outlets to hopefully playing for the senior women and on a representative level.

Commenting on the progression of the female programmes, club chairman David Woodyatt said:

“I believe these are exciting times for our Club. This programme for Ladies is part of our vision for Basketball in Derby. There’s never been a better time to introduce a programme for ladies sport and I’m proud to be part of the team who will be making it happen.”

These new developments mean the Trailblazers now has opportunities for anyone to get involved, whether they have played before or want to try the sport for the first time.

The new Ladies team will features some of the best players from the current U16 Girls programme alongside Ladies from Trailblazers Academy. Head Coach Paul Bowen commented:

“We are delighted that Derby Trailblazers will have a senior National League outlet for our female players. Since 2013, the Girls Academy has provided a brilliant opportunity for girls to play basketball, competing across the UK and going on tour to Denmark and Belgium all whilst studying a wide range of qualifications.

“The creation of this Senior National League programme provides a pathway which will ensure female players have even more opportunity to play basketball to a higher level and we hope it will inspire many more girls to take part in the sport.”

The first practice for the Women’s National League team will take place on Monday 23rdJuly, 2000-2145 at the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre, Noel Baker Academy in Derby.

Anyone interested in playing for the team should get in touch through the clubs website or through Facebook or Twitter

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