Hereward Heat Wheelchair Basketball Club train throughout the year at Comberton Village College Sports Hall on Tuesday evenings, 8.00 p.m. until 10.00 p.m. The club runs two teams who play in the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association’s national league. The club’s 1st team play in the 1st Division and the 2nd team play in 3rd Division Central. The club plays its home matches at the St. Ivo Recreation Centre, St. Ives. The 1st team play in a national section of the league, so it has to play away matches as far afield as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Teesside, Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and South London.
Wheelchair basketball is a mixed sport for people with a lower limb disability, which prevents them from playing the running game. This includes players from a number of disability groups, amputees, spinal injury, spina bifida, polio, cerebral palsy, being just a few. In Great Britain, to aid development of the sport, able-bodied players are allowed to play in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions. The game is played on a full size court with the baskets at regulation height. There are very few differences in the rules between the wheelchair and running games, the main one being the dribbling rule, where players may only push twice on their wheels before it is necessary for them to bounce the ball. There is also no double dribble rule in the wheelchair game.
Each player is classified in accordance with their functional ability from 1.0 to 4.5, with a 1.0 point player being the most severely disabled. A 4.5 player generally is able to use leg muscles to assist their range of movement and sitting balance, whereas a 1.0 player would have poor sitting balance with limited range of movement, generally only the upper torso. Able-bodied players are mandatory classified as 5.0 point players. Teams may play a maximum of 14 player points on court at any one time, 15 points in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions. Women players, when competing alongside men, receive a 1.5 reduction in their classification, whilst juniors (under 18) receive a 1.0 point reduction.
Hereward Heat WBC currently has 20 playing members but is always on the look out for new members. The club has a number of spare wheelchairs which can be used by novice players when they first come to the club. Serious players play in purpose built wheelchairs specifically manufactured for the sport. These allow players to achieve the maximum manoeuvrability and speed necessary when playing the game at the highest level. These wheelchairs cost in the region of £1,400 each to buy.
The club is hoping to create a junior club during the next 6 months and has received funding from the National Lottery Awards for All programme to set this up.
For further information contact Steve Spilka (Secretary & Coach), Telephone 01354 695560. Fax 01354 695752.