JNBL Eagles ready to shine
Whilst much of the off-season attention has been focused on the Senior team’s promotion and new venue the JNBL teams have been going about their business quietly. With no off-season break to speak of, the junior squads have continued working hard throughout the Summer. There have however been coaching changes, Simon Roberts and Mark Baldwin will take charge of a very young U14 team, James Brough moves from U14 assistant coach to take control of the U16 squad with the U18 head coach position yet to be confirmed.
With only three players from last season’s U14 squad remaining Roberts and Baldwin will be looking to hand JNBL experience to many of the clubs very talented youngsters. James Baldwin (13), Zak Whalley (12) and Elliot Langfield (13) will be relied upon heavily as the only players with any JNBL experience but the younger squad members should not be underestimated. Luke Baldwin, Lucas Hales, Charlie Roberts, Robbie Oliver and Shahir Nauman have all impressed in recent CVL tournaments despite being several years younger than most other players in attendance, this core group of young talent is tipped for great success over the next few years. This season should provide valuable experience for the young Eagles who will be hoping to spring a surprise or two and Roberts is optimistic about the future.
“We have a young team which we are building for the future and our main aim is to ensure we keep improving each week, this year is about the development of these players as a group to bring success in the future. We are however, still looking to recruit a few extra players before the season starts.”
The U16 squad will be made up of 8 members of last seasons U14 team, Melady, Janiak, Kerley, Ogbeide, Day, Frizzell, Smith and Milkevicius will all return giving Coach Brough great continuity. The squad will also be bolstered by the addition of Harrison Bell who will play at his own age group for the first time in his JNBL career after several impressive seasons with the U18’s. Improvement is the key for Brough who insists that he’s not focused on a league title.
“We approached each game last season with the idea that we wanted to be better than we were the week before, with most of the squad available to play in this division for the next two seasons we will continue to focus on improvement. I’m lucky to have some really talented individual players but the key for me is bringing the less experienced players in to what we do as a team. Success for me will be defined by having a group of players who are much better at the end of the season than they are at the moment.”
Matt Melady and Harrison Bell are currently in the Yorkshire U15 squad but don’t be surprised if next season’s U16 squad contains a few more Eagles.
Despite the uncertainty regarding a head coach, the U18 squad will actually welcome back 6 players from last season. Sanghera, Singh, Pugh, Lister, Sands and Sangha will all suit up for the Eagles once more. The recent trials also turned up several more players who may feature for the U18 team this season. You can also expect that several U16 players will bolster the U18 ranks when possible in order provide added depth and increase their experience in a more physical league. Any success will rest primarily on the experienced shoulders of Arjun Sanghera and Jasminder Singh who will be expected to take their impressive form from last season into their final JNBL season. Both players are criminally underrated by most onlookers but those within the club know how talented they both are.
All JNBL home games will continue to be played at Danum Academy on a Saturday afternoon, so those unable to make the trip to Scunthorpe to support the men will still be able to get their fix of Eagles basketball in Doncaster!