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Cornard hoping to emerge as the new kings of the basketball court

HIGH HOPES: Fledgling Cornard Kings face the camera ahead of Saturday's friendly match
HIGH HOPES: Fledgling Cornard Kings face the camera ahead of Saturday's friendly match

Setting up a new sports club would seem a daunting challenge but, with more players than kit, Cornard Kings Basketball Club are already making giant strides.

Stuart Stearns felt there was a gap for a basketball team in the area, and he has certainly proved himself right ahead of the club’s first competitive fixture later this month.

TOUGH GAME: Action from Cornard's friendly with Clacton
TOUGH GAME: Action from Cornard's friendly with Clacton

Ahead of hosting Lithuanian side Meru II in their Suffolk Basketball League Division Two opener at Sudbury Sports Centre on September 30 (3.15pm), plans are already in the pipeline to expand the club, such has been the initial demand.

“Usually the first season is a starting point, but come the second season we will be looking to put an ‘A’ team and a ‘B’ team in,” said Stearns, the founder who is also the club’s head coach.

“Even now I have got people asking to play, and I do not really have enough places.

“We would like to get an all-girls team together as well.

“In time we would like to get ourselves in Division One, but at the moment I am just happy it has taken off.”

Stearns explained how the club, which will take the name of the former junior side run by Babergh District Council back in 2006, started out as just a dream 18 months ago, but has quickly become a reality.

“I am a qualified coach and I have played for different teams all my life; Colchester, Ipswich and Bury,” he said. “And I thought it was about time we got a team in the Sudbury-Cornard area. So I started out 18 months ago with just a few of us.

“I think all the players are looking forward to it and I think in some ways we have outdone ourselves as we have got more players than kit!”

The 18-game season for Cornard will run right through until March, with Stearns saying a successful season would involve ‘winning half our games’.

But the club’s most recent match, a home friendly defeat to Clacton Bombers on Saturday, provided a rude awakening.

“It was a big eye-opener,” Stearns said.

He explained a mix of playing abilities have joined with six foot 11 inch Cornard lad Jonny Hall set to star from centre when not playing for Ipswich in the National League. While 6ft 8in Neil Thompson has been appointed captain.

Stearns, 38, who will be registered to play himself, thanked assistant coach Alex Deane and treasurer Claire Hyee for all their help in getting the club up-and-running.

n The club, who have a Facebook page ‘Cornard Kings basketball’ are looking for a sponsor for their shirts, anyone interested is asked to call Stuart Stearns on 07866 353963

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