Ware Rebels merge to become Essex & Herts Leopards
(6th May 2004)
Basketball fans in both Essex & Herts will be hoping for a great new future after the announcement that Leopards Alive have linked up with Ware Rebels to launch the Essex & Herts Leopards.
The new club will play the English Basketball League Division One - the top level of basketball in England - and will stage home games at both the Brentwood Centre and Wodson Park.
Leopards Alive was formed after Essex Leopards were forced to pull out of the BBL in July 2003, with the intention of bring professional basketball back to Brentwood.
After ruling out a return to the BBL they investigated linking up with an EBL club, and have now reached an agreement with Rebels to merge the two organisations.
“Leopards and Rebels have always had close ties” said club spokesman Dave
Ryan, “We hope that with Leopards’ fan-base and Ware’s on-court expertise, we can build a club that can challenge for honours in the EBL. Leopards last visited Wodson Park in September 2001, winning the Rebels pre-season tournament, and Rebels director of coaching Mark Clark was an important member of the Big Cats coaching team when Leopards won back-to-back BBL titles in the late 1990s.
“Rebels have one of the best youth set-ups in the country, and we believe that with the support of the Leopards fans we can attract good crowds at both venues” said Ryan.
“Ware have done tremendously well to work their way up from Division Three to qualifying for the Division One play-offs this season. We hope that with added support and off-court support, the new Leopards can become one of the top clubs in the country.”
Essex & Herts Leopards hope to announce their new coaching line-up within a
fortnight, and also intend to prepare for the new season by competing in
summer competition. The EBL season is expected to start in late September.