Eltham Wildcats – July 8th COVID-19 Update

CURRENT STATUS

Development Programs (Cub Squad, Kinder Club, Skills & Drills): Suspended TBA
Junior Domestic Competition: Suspended TBA
Junior Championship Competition (VJBL): Season Cancelled
Senior Domestic Competition: Suspended TBA
Big V: 2020 Season Cancelled
NBL1: 2020 Season Cancelled

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July 8th COVID-19 Update

I think we all suspected further changes were coming due to the significant rise is cases, but the announcement of a 6 week lockdown whilst a necessary decision was more than we probably expected.

Basketball Victoria have officially shut down all levels of basketball, which as an affiliated association, means that the Eltham Wildcats Basketball Club is once again. The aim of our staff and volunteers since basketball’s closure on March 13th was to see the Wildcat participants back on the court safely, as quickly as possible.

Since June 22nd:

On June 22nd we were one of the only basketball associations allowed to open, the official day that ‘Community Sport’ was allowed to begin. We were able to do so, due to our Joint Use Agreements at Eltham High School and Montmorency Secondary College (we have these agreements because of our investment into the stadium infrastructure), but also due to the preparation our team put in place for health and safety.

We did all we could to get as many groups on the court as we possibly could. We provided multiple days of free access for our junior domestic players, our junior championship players were able to train 2-3 times with their teams, we had local women’s national league players, the Australian 3×3 women’s squad and the U18 Victoria Metro Boys’ team all in a short period of time. Today we’re finishing our holiday program early, a deliberately cost effective method to get kids back on court in a fun way with experienced coaches, these programs saw another 250 children hit the courts. This was whilst maintaining the health requirements set out to us by Basketball Victoria and the State Government. In addition to this, looking after the welfare of our adult players, we were about to start our free training sessions for our adult midweek competition teams before the relaunch of games.

Your club has been the leader in returning basketball back to its community. I’d like to thank our team in the office, our additional staff who’ve executed roles as Biosafety Officers and to our coaches and volunteers who gave up time to help the children return to the court.

What happens to EDJBA -Saturday Basketball Registration Money?

The Winter season is officially cancelled. The default position of the club will be to carry each member’s registration money forward into Summer 2020/21. I can assure you that nothing has changed since March 13th. Your registration money remains set to the side. A small part was used before March 13th toward staff that were putting teams together, but aside from that all member’s money is set in preparation for your child’s court hire for training and game fees.

The reason we don’t want to refund? As with any online payment a percentage goes toward merchant fees. Any refund we provide, would see us take that amount off your refund and if you were intending to return, you’d be paying the full fee, repaying the merchant fee once again. However, as we have done for the last 3-4 months, we understand this is a very difficult time and if you require a refund, we’re happy to organise that. I’d ask you email connor@elthamwildcats.net.au and he will send you back a refund form of which you’ll need to return to us.

Thank you to Paula Hogan, Lara Masters and their team of Age Group Convenors. They put in an extraordinary amount of work in the last 3 weeks and to have the rug pulled from them at the last minute I know was hard for them all. I cannot thank each of them enough for their hours of time and effort.

The Basketball Return?

We were the most prepared this time and we will be the most prepared again. We were ready to restart EDJBA, but we also had a plan to do so more locally if safety demanded it. That remains a possibility for our return if it is the safest way to return our members to the court quickly.

I announced in a Zoom meeting on 7th July to our Junior Championship program that we’d prepared our own alternate competition. Scaled from Division 1 to Division 5, with 6 teams per division in boys and girls, the top division was going to see a combination of past and present NBL1/Big V players, combined with Youth players and our top u18’s mixed up into even sides with training and properly coached, just as a normal Victorian Championship game would. In a similar way Divisions 2-5 would each be age group based, 6 balanced teams per division, with group/squad training and Victorian Championship timing on all matches. This plan has already been prepared and the 7th July would have been the launch of it. There is no doubt in my mind, this will need to be the path to our return to Championship basketball for junior and senior players. Imagine NBL1 stars such as Ben Waldren and Jordan Canovan on the same team and playing against players from our U18 and U16? Whilst our youngest U12’s have NBL1 Head Coaches Trevor Lee or Grant Spencer helping at their team training and games…. This is our path back to Junior Championship.

I can’t give you dates… we will be back as safely, as quickly as we can!

Senior Midweek Competitions:

Connor Matthews will keep you engaged as to where to from here. I think we demonstrated our support for your return with our plans for training sessions before games. This was in the medical interests of all players, to be able to do some light jumping, twisting and movement in the same way we did with our juniors before getting you to compete. The return of your competitions will be done with the same thought. It won’t be straight games, it will be a step by step process to ensure we don’t put you at physical risk.

Wellbeing:

This will be a very difficult period of time for many. With the welfare of the broader community at the front of mind, we strongly encourage our members to stay connected with people, to look out for each other and ensure our return to basketball will be an easy one. If there are people you know are struggling with this period, a reminder that formal support networks are available through Lifeline 13 11 14 and Headspace https://headspace.org.au/ or via our Welfare Panel welfare@elthamwildcats.net.au

We also anticipate that the operating hours of the Club’s office will be curtailed during this period. We will continue to keep our community informed through email and social media. Thank you all for your understanding and patience.

On behalf of the General Committee, the staff and management of the Eltham Wildcats Basketball Club we commit to keeping you informed as information relevant to basketball comes to hand.

Greg Jeffers
Chief Executive Officer
On behalf of President Peter Meehan and the staff and General Committee of the Eltham Wildcats Basketball Club.