The Bulls match reports from the first round of the UKWB North Development League

The Bulls match reports from the first round of the UKWB North Development League

The Bulls DSC took a squad of seven players to the first UKWB North Development League round of matches, held at the Better Penrith Leisure Centre on Sunday 20th October.

The squad consisted of a range of players, from the newbie to the more experienced player. For Sam and Nia, this was their first experience of competitive wheelchair basketball, having only trained since August 2019; whilst Callum brought more experience from the training court but also had little competitive time under his belt. We drew on the experience of Christina, who has been training with the Bulls for four years and John also travelled with the squad, bringing three years experience, but limited court time in competitive play. We were bolstered with the greater experience of Steve, a player with considerable competitive experience and our coach Graeme, who could come on to support, should the need arise.

After a short delay, our first match against North Wales Knights tipped off and straightaway, the Bulls found themselves under a full-court press, to our surprise! North Wales pressed hard, scoring 12 points to The Bulls nil. At the break, coach Graeme came on in place of Nia and was able to push back against the tough play of The Knights, and we managed to get some points on the board, thanks to free throws from Callum and some nice shots from Graeme and Steve. The match ended 24-9 to The Knights, but there was little time to contemplate this, before we moved straight into our next match.

Carlisle Panthers clearly consisted of a similar mix of new, younger and less experienced players and looked to offer a more evenly matched competition to The Bulls. This allowed the newer and less experienced Bulls players to put into practice some of our drills, such as trying to pick defenders out before looking to drive into the key. This was quite successful, with new players Sam and Nia both finding the hoop for two points each. Nia also had a shot disallowed for not being in control of the chair – a learning point for the future! A closely matched first half ended 10-8 to The Bulls, with the chance to bring Graeme off and Callum on for more match time. The second half continued to be fairly evenly matched, with Sam netting four further points, working off the picks of John and Christina. Carlisle should be commended for the spirit in which they approached the match. With a large number of young and less experienced players, they played a style more in-keeping with the intentions of the development league, which meant players on all sides were able to develop their skills, as well as enjoy the fixture. The match ended 16-12 to The Bulls, which we were pleased to take away.

After a prolonged lunch break, during which the squad were able to sit together, get to know one another more, and to reflect on our earlier match experiences, and to discuss training tactics, we took to the court once more, to face Tees Valley Titans 4. Having seen them play earlier, we anticipated a tough but fair match and we were not disappointed! Tees Valley played very competitively, with a few fouls being committed. This allowed Callum to sink some free throws, and got us going with points on the board. Graeme chose to play in place of Nia, to try and get us ahead and to enable us to compete on a more even footing. This allowed us to go into the break 11-8 up – managing to come out on top, despite the competitive nature of the game. Callum and Sam continued to put points on the board for The Bulls, in the face of tough competition but despite this Titan effort from our squad, we finished the match 19-20, just one point behind Tees Valley. 

Our final match of the day was against Wakefield Whirlwinds 2, another challenging squad to face. Wakefield had impressed us in earlier matches they’d played and it was the end of a long day! The first half proved challenging for the Bulls, with Wakefield coming out on top throughout the first half. Nia managed to get two points in the 9th minute, just in time for the break and for the Bulls to regroup. The second half was more competitive, with The Bulls digging deep and putting up greater resistance to the challenging but fair match in front of us. Further points from Callum and Graeme increased our total to 10, but with Wakefield managing to break through The Bulls defence a few too many times, the match ended 16-10 in favour of Wakefield. In spite of this, we felt it had been a fairly even encounter and all the players took away plenty of lessons learned.

At the end of an exciting day, The Bulls felt that the new UKWB league was a really positive development and we were all keen to come back for the next set of matches in early November. The organisers were happy to accept feedback and to act on it wherever possible, which enhanced the experience for all squads and players. We retired for a 2hr trip back down the M6, tired, hungry but pleased at the way in which our little team had risen to the occasion and had certainly not disgraced ourselves. Bring it on in November!

The Bulls matches LIVE on Facebook

The Bulls kick off the new season today in the UKWB North League 2. The Bulls’ development team take on four teams today at Penrith Leisure Centre with all games being streamed LIVE on Facebook.

Follow all of the action at the links below.

The Bulls 2 vs North Wales Knights
Tip off: 9:35am
Live from: 9:30am
Stream link: https://www.facebook.com/thebullsdsc/posts/1144766005722355

Carlisle Panthers 2 vs The Bulls 2
Tip off: 10:10am
Live from: 10:05am
Stream link: https://www.facebook.com/thebullsdsc/posts/1144767722388850

The Bulls 2 vs Tees Valley Titans 4
Tip off: 2:20pm
Live from: 2:15pm
Stream link: https://www.facebook.com/thebullsdsc/posts/1144768599055429

Wakefield Whirlwinds 2 vs The Bulls 2
Tip off: 4:40pm
Live from: 4:35pm
Stream link: https://www.facebook.com/thebullsdsc/posts/1144770825721873

The Bulls enter new UKWB League

The Bulls are excited to confirm that we have entered the new UKWB league structure, which is sponsored by RGK Wheelchairs Ltd.

The new UKWB organisation has set up North, Central and South leagues, playing all matches at centralised locations to keep the costs down to just £100 per team and £6 per player. All UKWB matches will be live streamed on their social media platforms.

The UKWB model is based upon the professional league in Germany, with able bodied players, players with learning disabilities and players with other disabilities that struggle to get classified under the IWBF classification system all being classified as 4.5 classification players. This is to promote inclusion and increase participation, ensuring the sport is truly open to all.

The Bulls are the only club playing in the UKWB structure to enter teams in two different regions; The Bulls have entered a development team in the North league and a competitive team in the Central league.

As a proud grassroots club focused on bringing new people in to wheelchair basketball, we will be able to offer our players invaluable minutes focused purely on development as well as competitive matches.

 


Development League

Our development team will be playing at Penrith Leisure Centre, Southend Road, Penrith, CA11 8JH.

All development matches will be played as 2 x 10 minutes halves.

The confirmed fixtures for the development team are;

20th October 2019
  • 9:35am – The Bulls 2 vs North Wales Knights
  • 10:45am – Carlisle Panthers 2 vs The Bulls 2
  • 2:20pm – The Bulls 2 vs Tees Valley Titans 4
  • 4:40pm – Wakefield Whirlwinds 2 vs The Bulls 2
3rd November 2019
  • 10:30am – The Bulls 2 vs Chester Phoenix
  • 12pm – Vikings vs The Bulls 2
  • 1pm – North Wales Knights vs The Bulls 2
  • 2pm – The Bulls 2 vs Carlisle Panthers 2
29th March 2020
  • 10am – Tees Valley Titans 4 vs The Bulls 2
  • 12pm – The Bulls 2 vs Wakefield Whirlwinds 2
  • 2pm – Chester Phoenix vs The Bulls 2
  • 3:30pm – The Bulls 2 vs Vikings

There will also be a knockout format cup competition on 19th January 2020.


Competitive League

Our competitive team will be playing at Wildcats Arena, Greenwood Road, Nottingham, NG3 7ED.

All competitive matches will be full 40 minutes matches and the top 2 teams will go to the national finals at the end of the season.

The confirmed fixtures for the competitive team are;

9th November 2019
  • 2:30pm – Wolverhampton vs The Bulls 1
18th January 2020
  • 12:30pm – Gloucester Blazers vs The Bulls 1
  • 4:30pm – Sheffield Steelers vs The Bulls 1
23rd February 2020
  • 10:30am – The Bulls 1 vs Steelers Wheelers
21st March 2020
  • 2:30pm – The Bulls 1 vs Leicester Cobras

About UKWB

UKWB is a not-for-profit organisation which has the simple aim to provide competitive sporting opportunities for everyone.

UKWB was founded in 2019 by Ray McBride and Lee Fawcett with the help of the title sponsor RGK Wheelchairs. Originally flourishing in the North of England, UKWB is based upon over two years of extensive work with younger players of wheelchair basketball.

UKWB founders McBride and Fawcett noticed that the provisions for younger players were not being met so, with the support of RGK, they offered a competitive league for all teams from around the UK to attend.

Jim Heggie, 1950 – 2019

 

 

 

The Bulls are deeply saddened to pass on the news that our dear friend Jim Heggie passed away on Monday 29th July 2019.

Jim co-founded our club and played for us for many years before retiring from playing a few seasons ago. Jim also held a number of positions within the club and charity, including head coach, chairman and until the end of last season he was a table official at all of our home games and served as match secretary organising all of our fixtures, often a thankless task.

In 2016, we were very proud to see Jim awarded the “Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year” award at the Bolton Sports Awards.

More importantly than any of that, Jim was a great friend to us all and we will miss him greatly. The thoughts of everyone at The Bulls are with Jim’s wife Maureen, their son Jack and the whole Heggie family.

Jim was well known and loved across the country within the wider wheelchair basketball community and we know many people will be heartbroken to learn of his passing.

We would like to invite everyone in the wheelchair basketball community to share as many memories as they would like to share about Jim and perhaps share some photos too.

We have set up a “Memories of Jim Heggie” page and we will put all of the memories and photos we receive in to a book for the Heggie family.

We’re rebranding!

Over the last few months, we have been working closely with our sponsors, Kresko Ltd, to give our charity’s brand a complete overhaul and a more professional look and feel.

Today we can officially unveil our new website, www.thebulls.org.uk, our new logo and our new name; “The Bulls Disabled Sports Club”.

The Bulls will continue to be based in Bolton for the foreseeable future but we feel the name change better reflects the present day position of the charity, with members from across the Greater Manchester area representing us on the court.

Renaming to be a “Disabled Sports Club” will also open up the possibility of providing other sports to our members in the future.

Press Release: The Bulls launch urgent fundraising appeal

Local wheelchair basketball charity, The Bolton Bulls Wheelchair Basketball Club, have launched an urgent fundraising appeal.

Bolton Bulls are hoping to raise £5,000 to help the charity pay for the annual running costs beyond the current 2018-19 basketball season.

The high running costs include weekly training sessions and competitive home matches requiring court hire, officials fees and other costs.

Steve Aston, Club Secretary at Bolton Bulls, said ”The club in its most basic form costs around £5,000 per annum to run. This figure doesn’t include any capital costs such as the purchase of basketball specific wheelchairs which cost in the region of £2-3k.”

“Given the lack of sponsorship available in the sport generally and more specifically in the lower divisions we’re heavily dependant on grants and the generosity of the public and local businesses.”

As the only club in Bolton and the surrounding areas, Bolton Bulls provide a vital sporting and social activity for disabled people and able bodied people on a weekly basis.

As an all inclusive club, Bolton Bulls can offer a rare opportunity for people of all genders, age groups, abilities and disabilities to play together in one team. Bolton Bulls are very much a grassroots club, with many players being new to the sport over the last year or two.

Kayli English, 17, has played for Bolton Bulls for 2 years and has recently represented the North West at the National Junior Championships.

Kayli said “Bolton Bulls is the club that first introduced me to wheelchair basketball at the ‘Sport On The Square’ event in Bolton and since joining the club in 2016 they have helped me develop my ability and knowledge of the sport, allowing me to become a more competent player.”

“The club have also introduced me to other pathways such as Junior League and regional skills camps which aid my progression. I aspire to further my skills within basketball and hopefully play wheelchair basketball at Paralympic level.”

“As well as developing my basketball skills, Bolton Bulls have helped me with other things outside of sport for example my confidence. Before I joined, I tended to be rather shy in social situations whereas playing basketball with the team has brought out and strengthened my confidence.”

A fundraising page has been set up on JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/urgent-appeal-for-bolton-bulls and the charity is appealing to anyone who is able and willing to help them to give what they can.

The club is also hoping to speak to local businesses regarding sponsorship opportunities and would invite any interested businesses to contact the club at boltonbulls@gmail.com.