Bendigo Wheelchair Braves to battle Gators on home court

THE Bendigo Wheelchair Braves will hit their home court on Saturday afternoon to take on the Shepparton Rolla Gators.

READY FOR ACTION: Bendigo Wheelchair Braves' Jontee Brown, Ewan Hauler, Breanna O'Bryan, Kim Hampton, Caleb Logan and William Ilsley.

READY FOR ACTION: Bendigo Wheelchair Braves' Jontee Brown, Ewan Hauler, Breanna O'Bryan, Kim Hampton, Caleb Logan and William Ilsley.

It will be the second meeting this year between the two sides, with the more experienced Rolla Gators having won their previous encounter by five points.

The Braves and Rolla Gators will clash from 3.45pm at the Bendigo Stadium, with the match to be later followed by the WNBL game between the Bendigo Spirit and Townsville from 7pm.

As well as Shepparton, the team has been competing against sides in Geelong, Ballarat, Kilsyth and Gippsland for the past 12 months under the Braves banner having previously been known as the Bendigo Gold.

“Thanks to the ongoing support of the Bendigo Stadium the Bendigo Wheelchair Braves continue to grow in numbers and talent,” team manager Mark Logan said this week.

“We accommodate both beginners and competitors with spare chairs to jump in and try the sport out.

“Training is broken up into beginner and inter-mediate and later competition training.

“We welcome anyone with or without a disability that has a passion for wheelchair basketball and a desire to stay fit, meet new people and maybe try out for the competition team.”

Ages in the team range from teenagers to adults.

Kim Hampton

Kim Hampton

“This is not a new sport to Bendigo, but certainly a sport that is growing rapidly around Australia,” Logan said.

The club has been the launching pad for both Bendigo’s Bree Mellberg and Jontee Brown to go on to represent Australia in wheelchair basketball.

Earlier this year Mellberg – a former champion diver who suffered a broken neck in a trampoline accident in 2013 – toured Europe with the Australian Gliders women’s wheelchair basketball team.

The team won a pair of bronze medals in the two competitions it contested – the World Super Cup and Continental Clash.

Brown is a member of the Australian Under-23 Spinners wheelchair team that earlier this year competed in the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation World Championships in Canada.

The Spinners finished third behind Great Britain and Turkey.

For more information on the Bendigo Wheelchair Braves, or anyone interested in sponsoring the club to assist in the ongoing maintenance of chairs and equipment, contact Logan on 0498 753 531 or email wcbravesmgr@outlook.com

The team will have its final training session of the year next Wednesday from 6pm to 7.30pm on court four at the Bendigo Stadium.