The Isle of Wight basketball team are gearing up to compete in this year’s Island Games in Gibraltar – and it is hoped that the experience of 2 players in particular will give them a competitive edge.
Ian Broadsmith and Rafe Abrook, who have each competed in 3 Island Games, have been playing basketball together now for some 30 years. At 44-years-old the duo are almost certainly among the oldest basketball players in the whole tournament, but their experience should shine through and pay dividends for the Island side.
Both Ian and Rafe played together in the former Isle of Wight Basketball League for title-winning Cowes Dolphins from 1991 to 1993. Ian went on to represent the Island at basketball in the 2011, 2015 and 2017 Games, whilst Rafe competed in the Island Games in 2003, 2015 and 2017.
2-years-ago the Isle of Wight men’s basketball team recorded a record 5th place finish in Gotland, where the team managed wins against both the Isle of Man and Jersey. They narrowly lost to eventual winners Gibraltar, who play international fixtures on a regular basis against other small countries in the FIBA tournament.
Now, attention turns to this July’s event with hopes of setting a new record placing for the Isle of Wight team, sponsored by PC Consultants.
Speaking about the upcoming Island Games, Rafe Abrook has said:
“We’re fairly confident that we will have a good tournament. We know what we are up against, playing the better islands in the competition, but feel we can match what we achieved in Gotland in 2017.
“A medal seems unlikely given the top teams feature full time professional players, but the preparation has been going well considering a few players aren’t always available for training due to work/life commitments.
“If we can win our pool matches against Aland and Isle of Man this will set us up nicely for a potential upset in the knockout stages if we play our socks off!
“We all look forward to being part of the IOW sport community and supporting our fellow athletes in their disciplines.”
The 2019 Island Games Isle of Wight Men’s Basketball Team consists of Jack England (24), Leighton Hendon-John (21), Rafe Abrook (44), Mitch Andrews (23), Anthony Bryan (40), Conor Wright (22), Oscar Gosling (23), Ian Broadsmith (45), Ross Toogood (34), Harrison Fisher (25), Tristan Hall (24) and Mr YT (40).