NOT since 2011 has the Bathurst Goldminers managed to qualify both its senior men’s and women’s teams to the finals weekend of the Waratah Basketball League season.
That wait comes to a close this Saturday.
The Bathurst club will hope for a winning double this weekend when the women’s State League division one and men’s Youth League division two squads travel to Maitland for the season finale.
The minor premier women’s outfit will test themselves in a semi-final against hosts Mustangs while the men face Illawarra Hawks. If the Bathurst teams win they will progress to the following day’s final.
Both Goldminers teams are out to go a step further than their 2011 counterparts did.
The men’s Youth League side from six years ago came up agonisingly short in their decider against Manly and the women’s State League crew were stopped at the semi-finals.
In 2012 the Bathurst women took out the title, and have gone on to make the finals weekend in all four State League seasons they’ve contested since then.
Women’s co-coach Paul Masters is happy to see that trend continue considering his team’s heavy workload.
“It’s pretty amazing to get here. We’ve had games where we’ve taken seven or eight girls away and managed to win by 50 points. That’s a very hard thing to do,” he said.
“Some players have other basketball commitments and there’s those at university or those who are working.
“Matilda Flood has played NSW Country, been at nationals and at CPL on top of her Goldminers duties, and Claire Woolmington plays Panthers league tag and netball for Bathurst.”
For the men it’s been a rocky path back to the finals scene.
Current coach Andrew Osborn was at the helm during the strong 2011 campaign but over the years to come the Bathurst male teams struggled to gain a foothold in their competitions.
Masters said and determined group of players got together at the start of this season to forge a path to finals.
“We went back from State League to Youth League for the men this year. We didn’t decide on that – the players did. The younger boys wanted to put a team together because there wasn’t much of a chance for a start with the older group,” he said.
“They had to come forward and prove to us that they could get a squad together, and they did. Then they needed a coach, and then Andrew Osborn and [assistant coach] Ben Slater put their hands up.
“It was a case of ‘see how they go’ and then the team could reassess their goals. If they finish top two then they have the option to go up to division one next year.”