Blogs & Opinion


The Cheshire Phoenix have risen from the Jets' ashes. Daniel Routledge lauds those involved...

Features Posted 30th November 2012 view comments

This week we got the news that all BBL fans have been waiting for, particularly those in Cheshire - top flight basketball has been preserved in Chester.

After a difficult summer it looked like things were on the up in the Roman City, but barely three weeks in they were in crisis again when the owner who came in to save them in the summer said he was pulling the team out of the league.

Chez Marks in action for the Cheshire Jets

Chez Marks in action for the Cheshire Jets

The BBL moved quickly to take over the interim running of the franchise to give their fans and a group of local businessmen some breathing space to raise the funds needed to ensure the club's immediate future.

That work was completed this week, with the announcement on Thursday that the Cheshire Phoenix had risen from the Jets' ashes.

Great news indeed for all of us who love British basketball, so well done to everyone involved in the rescuing of this great club, particularly Andrew Donaldson, Terry Hearfield, Mike Burton and Andy Green.

Lauding

I'm not sure there are two people more steeped in Cheshire basketball than Mike and Andy so it was little surprise to see these two stalwarts in the vanguard of the rescue effort.

As the local paper said, 'take a bow Cheshire basketball fans. You have secured the future of your team'.

Daniel Routledge
Quotes of the week

But the way the whole community has rallied to the cause was as impressive as it was heartening. As the local paper said, 'take a bow Cheshire basketball fans. You have secured the future of your team'.

Let's not forget the BBL and their COO Andy Webb when it comes to dishing out the credit.

The league's support over the last month or so and, perhaps most importantly, their decisive action in the first place which kept the club afloat, deserves lauding.

Maybe they didn't score, but they certainly get an assist on my stat sheet!

Interestingly the Phoenix are going to be run as a not-for-profit Community Interest Club, following the path of Chester FC, who came into existence in 2010 after Chester City were wound-up.

The observant amongst you will notice the similarity between the clubs' logos, which is more than just coincidence as they have agreed to work together for the benefit of the sporting community in the county.

Let's hope the Phoenix go from strength to strength, but this week's news is a welcome first step on that journey. On a lighter note, I look forward to seeing how the Cheshire fans deal with that extra syllable when it comes to their most famous chant - We are Cheshire Phoenix!

Question

On the court, the BBL Cup semi-finals take centre stage as the final four look to book a spot in January's showpiece at the National Indoor Arena.

I say four, and mathematically that is still true, but in my head the only question is who is going to be facing the Eagles.

If Newcastle give up a 17-point first leg lead at Sports Central, then I'll dunk over Foxy off the trampette when I go down to the Pavilions next week!

In the other semi-final, Sheffield play their first leg with Leicester in our televised game and the smart money would be on the Riders given the respective form of the two sides.

But the Sharks have just made a roster change, with BJ Holmes replacing Gage Daye in the backcourt. It's not clear if he'll be cleared in time to play, but if he is, it will add an element of the unknown to the contest.

First thing I thought when I heard of the signing was did anyone tell Surrey? How have they missed the chance to sign yet another Holmes, to play alongside Travis, Chavis and Frank???

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