There will be a new franchise in the Women’s British Basketball League for the 2017-18 campaign after an application from Durham Palatinates to join the WBBL was approved.
The club will be part of the recently launched Durham University National League brand which encompasses all National League/franchise sport overseen by Durham University.
From September 2018, the WBBL programme plan to compete and train out of the Durham University Sports Park, Maiden Castle, which, pending planning permission, will include a brand new 2,000-seat indoor venue.
“This a massive step for the women’s basketball programme here at Durham,” said head coach, Lee Davie.
“From our huge intramural programme through to our three BUCS teams, to now have a women’s elite team at the top of the player pathway here at Durham, we literally have something to offer for everyone.
“We are committed to offering undergraduate and post-graduate opportunities to British players looking to pursue their education at one of the country’s leading universities, whilst playing basketball at the highest level possible in Britain.
“This is a very exciting time to join the WBBL, since the league has gone from strength to strength over the last three years.
“I’ve witnessed a lot of good basketball being played throughout the league and I’m really looking forward to Durham competing against the best in Britain next season.”
Quentin Sloper, Director of Sport at Durham University added: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of the WBBL and extremely excited about what lies ahead.
“We have looked on enviously as the league has developed in recent years and we hope that we can now make our own positive contribution to the on-going development and growth of the WBBL.
“Being part of the league also provides us with a stimulus to further develop our community programme and we are now going to be able to develop a specific women’s and girl’s focus to some of what we do, in a way that has not been as possible in the past.”
WBBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Webb commented: “We are excited to welcome another club to the growing WBBL family. Not least because of the planned new Arena and their determination to extend their community programme.
“With strong logistical support from the University, a commitment to growing the fan-base against the backdrop of the new venue being constructed and a history of attracting talented players, Durham are a welcome addition to the league and we look forward to them taking to the court.”