Barking Abbey operates teams that participate in the England Basketball Senior National Leagues. This provides our student athletes with an elite standard for junior players. Our girls team plays at the Vcars.co.uk Division One level, the top women’s league in the country and the boys participate in Vcars.co.uk Division Four.
Each of the teams are used primarily as vehicles to help the development of our student athletes. The Division One women’s team is supplemented with a small number of additional players from outside of the academy structure who have the experience and ability to improve our teams. Each of these players is specifically selected for their ability to add the group both on and off the floor. It is important that positionally they fit with the athletes we already have within our academy students, extra players will never be brought in to take minutes and opportunities away from our players.
In the short time that we have operated national league teams Barking Abbey has enjoyed great success. The women’s team reached the EBL Division One final four on two occasions, narrowly losing out to league and play-off champion Sheffield Hatters in the semi final both times. On the boys side, the Division Four men’s team won the South Conference before losing out in the National Semi Finals to Birmingham Mets in 2009/10. Our partnership with the London Leopards helped the team be one win away from becoming league champions in 2010/11 before becoming treble winners behind cup, league and play-off victories in 2011/12. Individually the club has had two women’s players of the year in Natalie Stafford and Niamh Dwyer and students Renee Johnson-Allen and Harriett Yea were selected in the league all star game held in 2008/09.
Whilst winning is always something that we aspire to do it will never become our number one priority. Talent development and the opportunity for young players to improve and grow at a high performance level is the reason that we run our teams not to win national titles. Our ethos is to never sacrifice development for the sake of winning.