Comments from the Coach
Well it has been a long hard season, but we didn't expect anything else with the loss of so many persons from last year. We started with a pre-season at Oxford and beat them easy despite an injury to Martin's ankle which kept him out for the first few games. Then we gave several of the pacesetters really hard games which gave encouragement to everyone. Martin's and Richard Cutler's experience allowed Andrew Rowlands and Alex Byrne to step up and we won at Northampton in the cup to set up the first of four games against Plymouth Then the first league win against the same team.
The hard work and dedication from all the squad especially from the likes of Marc Barfoot, lan Broadsmith, Richard Bell -who didn't always get much court time - was not showing much in the way of results. Then we lost Richard to Naval duties, 'then Steve Chant to several injuries, Dean Owen to ligament problems. We certainly missed them, especially at practice. We welcomed back first Drew Sewell and then Roy Lewis and this soon produced some results, but Drew has not been able to travel to all the away games and this has certainly affected tile rhythm and feeling in the team. I always like to have a player on the team like Guy Nicholas. He dives for every 50/50 ball and wins most; and all this with a severe groin strain. Lastly, we welcomed back Joe Morant from his working stint in the USA and when he Martin and Alex hit full stride at Stockton we were winners. He and Martin have always had big hearts, and a tough scrappy nature. It did us all good to have him back allowing Martin and Alex the room to do some scoring. I was very sorry to lose Craig Metcalf with all his talent but he couldn't make practice due to work commitments. He managed two games recently to remind us of what he has to offer.
Chris Mills has helped me with the coaching and his little comments during the game have also been invaluable. He is still learning the game at this level. The team was well managed by my good friend Steve Witt, who also provided the very useful contacts in setting up the Reebok Sponsorship deal. He and his boss, Steve Beale owner of Top Trainers, one of sponsors, have done us proud. The team are very grateful for their efforts. I also must thank Derek Browning, our first rate Physio, for his efforts and support on behalf of the team We relied on him heavily during the season and he has never let us down. Thank you Smiley . Dave Heron has also helped us with the statistics at most of our home matches. Sarah Hamer, has supplied the team stats for all the away games. We value their efforts.
Jim Rumsey, as always, has provided us with his enthusiasm and long driving abilities at great speeds. He is always doing something on behalf of the team. He produces the programme for all the home games. He also co-ordinates the public relations and is always ready for a quick word on Radio Solent, or two. Thank you Jim. The coverage we get in the Southern Echo has been second to none. Our thanks to Wendy Gee. The Eastleigh Weekly News reports from David Ogilvie have been very informative and well written. Grant Coleman and Radio Solent have always been very fair and has kept us in the front line of local sport. The News at Portsmouth has also continued their weekly reports via Dave King.
My sincere thanks to Jon Rumsey for his coaching of the Juniors, they have improved greatly and although we propped up the league we learnt a lot every game, it is a very good league this year. The lads were great to be with and whoever we have selected for junior player of the year represents the whole bunch. Ben, Dave, Chris, Paul, James Mike, Adam, Wilts, Rob, Jenks, Matt, Steve, Simon et al.
Lastly I must thank our directors, Jim and David Varcoe-Baylis for the support they have given me this season, they have really picked me up several times Yet again 1 thank each of you for your support of the team and myself. You are the BEST CROWD IN BASKETBALL in this country. You deserve a better team and I'll do my best to get you one.Mick Byrne. Head Coach Solent Basketball Club.