Solent Stars - Memories

by David Hedley

My introduction to Solent Stars was at the Southampton Show on the Common, before the start of the first season. I met Harry Smith who told my son and I about the team and his plans to create a successful side.

As a result of this chance meeting I went along to Fleming Park to see the Stars beat Wolverhampton by a record score, over 140 points! The player who impressed me most that Sunday afternoon was a tall American called Jim Guymon, what ever became of him? Despite the one sided victory I saw enough to tell me that Basketball was a highly skilled and exciting sport and since that time I have only missed a handful of home matches.

Initially I was a paying customer along with my, at the time, very young daughter and we both enjoyed the atmosphere and the friendliness of everyone. I remember having no idea what the rules were, who said 'no change there then'? but being a fairly logical guy I tried to work out why body contact fouls were sometimes called as Charging Fouls and at other times as Blocking Fouls. By the end of the first season I had got it worked out…….

If Solent are attacking it is a Charging Foul and If they are defending it is a Blocking Foul!

After over twenty years of involvement I know what the rules actually state but my original definition still seems to fit!!

In the following season I met Dave Owen, who was then Court Manager who conscripted me on to Court team with responsibility for all of the electronics. For many years this seemed to cause my family much amusement considering my lack of basic knowledge of things electrical and electronic. I still don't know what the difference is!

There were many exciting evenings in those years but my memory only recalls those special TV matches. A Cup Semi Final against Crystal Palace when the court was so packed that I watched the match using the monitor on one of the TV cameras, there was just nowhere else to stand that gave a better view. Then there were the Channel Four Monday night games when the electronics had to be set up in about 20 minutes because the special floor had to be laid first. I well remember one member of the TV team who sat on the bleachers all afternoon and finally about quarter to eight as I completed the link up of the scoring system he came down to the table and set up his small unit which allowed him to impose the match score onto the screen in the top left hand corner. I have always wondered just how much he got paid for that onerous task!

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