THIS time last year Warwickshire Bears Wheelchair Basketball Club were concerned about whether the club would be able to exist following a lack of Government support and funding.
But 12 months on and after a lot of hard work and dedication, the Bears have finished up as Division Three champions.
The Bears showed just how far they have come by winning all three play-off matches to be crowned winners of the National Division Three last month.
The Bears beat the previously undefeated Lancaster Bulldogs of the North West Division 52-30 in the first game before overcoming the undefeated Sheffield Stealers, who had two Great Britain players in their ranks, 74-28.
The final game proved to be the toughest but the Bears came out on top again by defeating the Southern champions Swindon 60-49.
Success has led to the introduction of a second team which will be entered into the women’s league next season as well as the current team which has been promoted to the Division Two.
“I’m really proud of the team and glad we pulled together to finish a fan-tastic season by going to the Championships and winning overall,” said coach Tom Masterson.
“I’m excited for next season with the formation of another team plus entering a women’s team into the league. We have players with real potential and it is great to celebrate such success.
“Running the club costs around £10,000 annually but the team and community have pulled together and support for fund-raising days and collections has been wonderful.
“A basketball chair costs £3,000 and the club provides chairs for players as well as covering court rental costs, kit etc.
“Thanks to phenomenal fundraising efforts and corporate challenge days, the Bears raised enough money to cover last season but are looking to maintain this winning momentum with new sponsors.”
Funding is still a struggle but Leamington Spa based company, Emerald Business Communications, is supporting the push for team sponsorship with a new website bearswbc.com.