Published: 3 February 2021 at 15:00
Following an ongoing assessment of the viability for our women’s basketball team to safely return to the court, we have taken the unfortunate decision to withdraw from the Women’s National League Division One competition for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
The Basketball England league was paused throughout January in order to re-evaluate the competition structure and has now recommenced with an alternative schedule.
Head of the basketball programme Matthew Harber commented, "It is with the deepest disappointment that we have had to make this decision and my heart goes out to all of our players and coaching staff who have invested so much time and energy to this point.
"However, it is no longer possible for us to play the required number of games before the end of March and this is ultimately the reason for us having to step away."
He went on to say, "WNBL D1 has been a pivotal competition for our basketball programme and has provided our players, teams and coaches with so many special moments over recent years.
"We will continue to look forward to our future and wish all of the remaining teams the very best in the conclusion of this season."
The team will depart their 2020-21 campaign having competed in just three games, including a 69-50 home win over CoLA Southwark Pride, a 59-54 home win against Team Solent Kestrels and a 72-57 away win versus Nottingham Trent University.
Debutant Head Coach Jacob Lloyd said, "We are all obviously disappointed that we don’t get to finish this journey that we’ve started together. I think we were just beginning to see our vision for the team being translated onto the court, and there was a belief internally that we had the ability to be successful this year.
"My experiences with this group of players has been nothing short of incredible. They have continued to work hard, remain positive, and have been a pleasure to coach throughout. I want to thank them all for their application in what has been a unique set of circumstances for us all."
ARU will retain their position within the Basketball England competition for the 2021-22 season, despite not completing the 2020-21 schedule, with Coach Lloyd already planning for their return:
“We now shift our attention towards the 2021/2022 season. As a collective, we look forward to rejoining the league then, and we hope that we can build upon our past successes as we move the programme forward.”