Wildcats pull out of 2017/18 CBL season

The Stawell Wildcats will not enter a team into the Country Basketball League for the 2017/18 season.

The Stawell Wildcats Basketball Association came to the decision to withdraw from both men’s and women’s competitions for the upcoming season mainly due to a lack of numbers.

Wildcats vice-president Richard Hackwill said the decision was not made lightly.

“It came down to a numbers factor,” he said.

“We have a lot of players that are at university, so for them the season starts just as they are getting into their exam period.

“The timing of it all makes things difficult.

“We have also lost four to five CBL quality players in the last few years which doesn’t help either.”

Stawell’s withdrawal comes among a raft of changes to the CBL, with Ararat entering teams after a hiatus and Horsham moving to the North West conference.

Former Wildcats women’s coach Grace Bibby said the changes are not good for basketball in the region.

“It is obviously very disappointing to see Stawell withdraw for next season,” she said.

“Basketball in the Wimmera as a whole is a bit of an issue at the moment.

“Having Stawell, Ararat and Horsham in the same competition would have been ideal to develop the sport in the region, so it is a bit of a shame they won’t be. 

“Without a senior team in Stawell it limits the appeal for younger players to aspire to play at higher levels.”

Hackwill said there will still be options for the junior players at Stawell. 

“There is still a solid future here,” he said.

“We will be looking forward over the next 12 months with the juniors that we have to develop and get them closer to the CBL level.

“We will send them to various tournaments over the next few months to keep getting them as much experience as possible.”

Hackwill said Stawell would find it difficult to fit in with the new conference that have been decided on.

“We are not too sure where we fit. We are right in the middle of the South West and North West conferences,” he said.

“We are a small town trying to compete with bigger towns which makes it very difficult.”

The Stawell Wildcats Basketball Association will hold it’s Annual General Meeting from 6pm on Wednesday, August 23.