Formartine youngsters turn out for basketball festival

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YOUNGSTERS from across Formartine converged on the Meadows on Friday for Basketball Scotland’s ‘Festival of Basketball’ event.

Dozens of pupils from schools across the area competed against eachother for a place in the Grampian Regional finals, which will see the winning team face others from the whole of the north-east.

Coach Simon Turner told the Times: “The ‘Bounce into Basketball’ initiative is designed to introduce kids to basketball, and encourage them to take up the sport on a regular basis. For many it will be their first experience, but we have already established an Ellon Club - the ‘Ellon Phantoms who will be playing once a week at the Academy - and we hope that some of these youngsters will go on to consider doing it frequently.”

Speaking for Basketball Scotland, Kevin Pringle said: “We’ve had a really enthusiastic take up. There are somewhere around 170 kids here, and a further 70 in the Oldmeldrum area. That’s well over 200 kids.”

Asked whether there was demand for the sport in the north-east - which is traditionally dominated by football- Mr Pringle was upbeat.

“There’s a good club culture in Grampian, and it’s one that’s growing fast.”

Henry Allen spoke for Senergy, who are sponsoring the event, said that his company’s investment was well worthwhile.

“The idea came up after discussions with Kevin, and it’s a great way for us to make a difference. By putting funds into this programme, we’re allowing initiatives like this to take place.”

The youngsters the Times spoke to took a more straightforward view. Asked if they were enjoying themselves, Foveran pupils replied emphatically: “Yes!”

“It’s great fun. Much better than being at school!” said P6 Josh.