The club has faced several challenges over the years, not least due to the vast size of the region. The league has changed dramatically in this time too, as every year new teams are formed, giving more and more women across the country the chance to take part in wheelchair basketball.
For more information on the future of Eastern Blue Stars please see the Five Year Plan in the Policies and Documents section or follow the link at the bottom of this page.
At the inaugural meeting of the East Region Wheelchair Basketball Association (ERWBA) in September 2009, it was agreed Emily Scrivener and Caroline Maclean could find enough women players in the East Anglia region to set up their own team to enter the women’s league in September 2010.
The first year…
Federation of Small Business’s (FSB) GBWBA Women’s league – Season 2010/2011 – four teams in Division One and three teams in Division Two
The Eastern Blue Stars (EBS) was formed in 2010 bringing players together from across the East Anglia region, some of whom had previously travelled up to 150 miles for training and games. Players gave suggestions and then voted on a name for the new team; Eastern Blue Stars was the clear winner!
At that time (2010/2011 season), there was an incredibly high calibre of players within the region – it was possible to encourage one player out of retirement and sign two exceptional players from outside of the region – so EBS were entered straight into the Great British Wheelchair Basketball Association (GBWBA) Women’s League Division One. The team played three weekends over the season, winning most of their matches held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury and Warwick University, and so won a place at the GBWBA Championships Finals Weekend in Sheffield on 14/15th May 2011. The team beat Sheffield Steelers in the first play off and went through to the final, where they faced Capital City. EBS were the winners in this exciting league final, and were crowned the Division One League Champions at their first attempt.
Several East region players had sat on the bench all season, as they were not experienced enough to play in the first Division. So to provide these players with a chance to play in the women’s league, Emily Scrivener brokered a second team with players from Capital city, for the following season (2011/2012). Again players gave suggestions for the team name, which were then voted upon; Aspire Stars was the clear winner.
The second year…
BOOST GBWBA Women’s league – Season 2011/2012 – four teams in Division One and four teams in Division Two
The 2011/2012 season was another extremely successful one for EBS in GBWBA Division One, when the team won most of their matches, now held at Wildcats Arena, Nottingham, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury, Surrey Sports Centre and Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre, Cambridge. EBS earned their place again at the GBWBA Championships Finals Weekend in Sheffield on 12th/13th May 2012. The team beat West Coast Tornadoes in the first play off, and were through to the final to defend their title. The team faced Vixens and fought hard to win the game and be crowned Division One League Champions for a second consecutive year.
The Aspire Stars entered the GBWBA Division Two, where the level of competition was still very intense, which led to the more experienced Capital City players receiving more court time than the East region players again. Aspire Stars won the division that year, but did not go the GBWBA Championships Finals Weekend as the club preferred not to have both teams in Division One.
The third year…
GBWBA Women’s league – Season 2012/2013 – four teams in Division One and four teams in Division Two
The 2012/2013 season continued the extremely successful run for EBS in GBWBA Division One; again the team won most of its matches (played at Wildcats Arena, Nottingham), earned its place at the GBWBA Championships Finals Weekend (Sheffield, May 2013), got through to the final and won, so were crowned the Division One League Champions for the third consecutive year.
The Aspire Stars had a mixed season as Capital City, now renamed Titans, were finding and developing more new players and the issue of fair amounts of court time for all players continued, as well as the significant improvement in the level of competition within Division Two. Despite all odds, Aspire Stars won two out of their six games. Soon after the close of the season it was agreed that Aspire Stars would split from Titans, and field separate teams the following season.
The fourth year…
BWB Women’s league – Season 2013/2014 – three teams in Division One and six teams in Division Two
GBWBA were renamed as British Wheelchair basketball (BWB).
Sadly in the 2013/2104 season, Eastern Blue Stars withdrew from Division One due to administration problems. The first team disbanded; players moved on to university in the UK and USA, others joined different clubs or retired. Emily Scrivener moved to Aspire Stars to support their development, now it was only East region players. The second team had already entered the league as Aspire Stars, so continued under this team name for the season. Games were played at Worcester Arena and Wildcats Arena, Nottingham. Again the competition level in Division Two had improved significantly, and Aspire Stars won just one game that season. The most memorable part of the season was being evacuated from Worcester Arena as the river flooded the road outside!
The fifth year…
BWB Women’s league – Season 2014/2015 – four teams in Division One and eight teams in Division Two
In the season 2014/2105, the Aspire Stars team reclaimed the name Eastern Blue Stars and entered Division Two; pool B, now with seven opposing teams (three of which were brand new clubs), and a new coach Mike Ebanks. Matches were played at Wildcats Arena, Nottingham. The team won one match against Angels of the North 2 and finished 7th in Division Two after the mini play-off. The league results do not do justice to how hard a relatively small squad worked against teams with much bigger and faster players.
The sixth year…
BWB Women’s league – Season 2015/2016– five teams in Division One, four teams in Division Two and eight teams in Division Three, split into two pools
Emily Scrivener took over training from May 2015 and launched the Five Year Plan. Many club players offered help to continue running the team and making a Player/ Coach a workable option for the club.
In the season 2015/2016, Eastern Blue Stars entered the Division Three, pool A with Dan Dickings on the bench as Assistant Coach and Kate Parish as Captain. Matches were played at Wildcats Arena, Nottingham.
1, Melton Stallions 32 – 28 Eastern Blue Stars
2, Spitfires 25 – 15 Eastern Blue Stars
3, Angels of the North 6 – 37 Eastern Blue Stars
4, Melton Stallions 34 – 12 Eastern Blue Stars
5, Angels of the North 8 – 20 Eastern Blue Stars
6, Melton Stallions 33 – 24 Eastern Blue Stars
Again, the results do not show how hard a squad of only six players worked, nor that they only conceded one extra basket during their game without their player coach.
The Seventh year…
Photo credit to BWB.
All East of England players at the Eastern Blue Stars.