THERE was naturally a great deal of disappointment around the Bathurst Goldminers camp when the coronavirus brought the Western Junior League to an early end.
But from the ashes a new tournament has risen.
Basketball NSW recently announced the creation of the Waratah Country Junior Challenge to give players from across regional NSW the chance to play more high level basketball before the end of the season.
Goldminers coaches met on Wednesday to discuss their intent to travel for the August and September events and committee members Amanda Matthews said the response was excellent.
"We were on the verge of having the second round of Western Junior League before everything was cancelled. There were enough weeks to fit all the remaining basketball in so that's why they've created the Country Challenge," she said.
"It will run over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had an under 14s development team who won't be progressing to it but every other team we have is going to compete."
The eight different competitions over under 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s boys and girls will take place across seven different venues in August and September weekends.
Bathurst is among those venues and will host the under 16s girls tournament over September 4 to 6.
The Country Junior Challenge starts with the under 14s over August 21 to 23 and ends with the under 18s over September 25 to 27.
"We've got a round in Bathurst which is great because it gives us the chance to do some fundraising and see some of our local kids play," Matthews said.
Having the WJL cut short is a blow to the Goldminers but Matthews said just giving the club's juniors the chance to enjoy one more weekend of strong basketball is welcome news.
"I think the local competitions also start back up again in July so it's great having players back on the courts," she said.
"Everyone was really keen for this tournament. Usually with other sports we lose players in that time of year but because it's only over that one weekend it allows for them to play.
"The senior men's competition in division two has unfortunately been cancelled but division one is still happening and we've got a couple of players in that one.
"We've still got a couple of Bathurst players in action for Central Coast and they get to start next month as well."
Also in the announcement Basketball NSW stated the under 13 and 14s Talented Athlete Program (TAP) camps have been rescheduled to take place at the end of July and in August.