This ball’s in the popularity court

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Albany Basketball Association president Rob Whalley with junior players ahead of the new season.
Camera IconAlbany Basketball Association president Rob Whalley with junior players ahead of the new season. Credit: Laurie Benson

The Albany Basketball Association has entered record territory, with 221 teams registered for the upcoming 2019-20 season — to break all previous records.

Basketball in the region continues to grow, with an increasing number of entries being a regular occurrence in the past few years.

The men’s A-grade competition has been reduced from eight teams to seven, with the departure of The Farm Athletics, Crabs and Kinjarling Thunder.

New club Railways will field a team in the top men’s division while Blazers are the other addition.

There have has been major changes in the women’s A-grade competition, but there will still be five teams fighting for the title.

Last season’s premiers the Magpies are one of three teams not playing, joined by the Flames and Phoenix.

Kinjarling Storm, the Valkyries and Crystal Blues are the three new teams in the competition.

The men’s B-grade continues to be a pillar of strength for the association with three separate divisions.

Men’s B-grade division 1 has 10 teams. Six sides will contest division 2 and division 3 has nine teams.

Phoenix have returned to women’s B-grade and will form part of a six-team competition division 1. Division 2 has 12 teams.

Taking the reins as president of the ABA again, Rob Whalley said it’s always pleasing to see numbers on the rise.

“Basketball is just a fun game, and great team sport and everyone can play a role,” he said.

“In lower high school we’ve got a massive amount of teams and seniors B-grade are also huge numbers.

“We are now becoming one of the biggest associations in regional WA.

“Participation levels in Albany are off the charts.

“It’s a massive job working on fixtures, grading, court allocations, clashes and special requests, and the people who have done that have poured hours into the task.”

Whalley said a “massive boost” was the addition of new club Railways, who have entered nine teams under their club banner for the new season, joining Infernos as a club-based outfit in the ABA.

Men’s and women’s A-grade will remain on Tuesday night and all competitive grades will be played Monday to Wednesday while the majority of primary school kids will play on Saturdays.

The first three weeks of fixtures have been released with games beginning the week of October 14.

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