Porthcawl Comp makes its mark in basketball as four pupils are selected for Wales

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

By Philip Irwin

in Education

Porthcawl Comprehensive School has made big strides in basketball in recent years – and this has been reflected in the selection of four pupils for Welsh teams.

The girls are leading the way, with three called up for the Wales under-18 team that will compete in the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) European Championship in Tblisi, Georgia.

Lucy Edwards plays guard, and this will be the third time she has represented Wales, while Alecia Thomas, a forward, is collecting her Welsh team kit for a second time.

Emily Stradling, who also plays guard, has previously represented Wales at under-16 level, and is going as team captain.

Not to be forgotten, Ethan Waters – yet another guard – recently returned from Greece where he played for Wales under-16.

The young basketball players are coached in school by Andrew Stradling, Emily’s father, and he explained how the sport had grown in the school.

He said:?“We wanted a sport for any of the boys who did not play rugby or football – although some of the rugby boys play too.

“Then, although most of the girls also play netball, we found there was plenty of interest in basketball, particularly as the opportunities to travel abroad as part of a team are greater.”

The three girls are heading for Tblisi intent upon improving on last year’s Welsh performance, when the team took bronze.

Wales play in the ‘small nations’ basketball championships against countries such as Georgia and Armenia.

However, the ultimate aim would be to gain selection for Wales seniors in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Australia.

Working on their basketball requires a lot of dedication from the four. They play schools basketball (as a mixed team) and Porthcawl Comprehensive has won the Cardiff and Vale Schools title three years in a row.

On top of that, all four are now playing for senior teams – testing their skills against much more experienced players.

Lucy and Emily play for and train with Cardiff Archers, while Alecia plays for their capital city rivals, Cardiff Metro.

Ethan plays for the Cardiff Archers under-16 team, and also turns out for the local club, The Cougars, who are based in Cynffig Comprehensive School.

Andrew Stradling said:?“They all certainly have the dedication and determination to do well. They train and play up to six times a week.

“However, travel costs are significant, for training and whenever they are selected to represent Wales.

“The Welsh basketball Association can’t pay to fly a team to places such as Tblisi, so the girls will have to raise funds themselves.”

The school would welcome any sponsor who could assist.

Andrew Stradling said:?“If any business or individual is interested in sponsorship, please get in touch with me via Porthcawl Comprehensive School.”

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