Mon 30 Apr 18
Our women's basketball team, the Essex Rebels, are joining the Women's British Basketball League (WBBL) as a new franchise for the 2018-19 campaign.
The team will play at our brand new £12 million Essex Sport Arena at the Colchester Campus. Opened earlier this year, our Arena features seating for 1,655 spectators, a court-side sports therapy clinic and sports science laboratory, and state of the art performance analysis equipment.
Essex Rebels, formerly known as Essex Blades, entered the Basketball England National League for the 2015-16 season, winning the National Women's Cup in their first year. They were also this season's winners of the NBL Division 1, finishing with 20 victories and 1 defeat - as well as booking another National Cup Final appearance, along with the Play-Off Final.
The team have also gained back to back promotions in BUCS and were this season's BUCS Premier South winners with a 10-0 record in their first season at that level.
Essex Rebels Head Coach, Mark Lloyd, is looking forward to the challenge of moving in to the WBBL after success for the team in the NBL and BUCS competitions over the past four seasons.
He said: "We have worked so hard to reach this point. It's a true reflection on the players' commitment to get better each day: they are on the practice floor with the realisation that this will create more and more opportunities to be successful.
"The programme is built around the student athlete and their ability to grow as a scholar, an athlete, and ultimately as a basketball player. This new opportunity will only enhance their overall experience - I'm delighted for the players."
Dave Parry, who is our Director of Sport, said: "We set out four years ago to provide an athlete-centred programme, focused on helping develop players during their time at University.
"We have been building the infrastructure around our teams including putting together a coaching team, a multi-disciplinary support team, a robust process for player development, and with the opening of the £12m Essex Sport Arena this year, the facilities commensurate with a top-class programme.
"Throughout the process, we have been supported by a fantastic partner in Sportsafe Ltd, the U.K. leaders in installing and maintaining basketball facilities and equipment."
The team's new nickname 'Essex Rebels' refers to our reputation as 'Rebels with a cause' and our reputation as an institution of social activism.
Our Essex Sport Arena is based at our Colchester Campus on the edge of England's oldest recorded town founded as Roman Britain's first capital by Emperor Claudius nearly 2,000 years ago. It was the site of probably the most famous rebellion in British history when Boudicca, Warrior Queen of the Iceni tribe, routed the Romans in AD 69. Boudicca features in the new badge of the Essex Rebels, and reflects both the warrior mentality of the team and the rebellious nature of the University of Essex.