Warwickshire Bears have strengthened their squad by signing two Great Britain internationals.
Jacob Robinson and Siobhan Fitzpatrick, who have known Bears coach Tom Masterson for a number of years, will join up with the newly promoted side ahead of their debut campaign in Division One of the National League.
“I’ve known Tom for ages,” said 18-year-old Fitzpatrick. “I’ve trained with him on and off and I promised I would come and play for Bears when they got promoted to Division One so, once they did, I had to keep my promise.”
Robinson and Fitzpatrick have played for London Titans for several seasons.
Robinson, who is 20 and is studying law and criminology at university, began playing wheelchair basketball when he was 11.
He became a full junior international in his teens and represented Great Britain in the Under-23 European Championships.
He also played in the Champions’ Cup in Japan last November, helping GB to the gold medal.
He has since decided to retire from international basketball to concentrate on his studies.
“I want to get back to club basketball and hopefully helping Bears win the Division One title next season,” he said. “I had a good time with GB but I think it is time to focus on my career.”
Fitzpatrick, however, has set her sights on reaching the Tokyo Olympics. She is currently on standby for Rio as a reserve and is determined to make the full squad in 2020.
“I’m hoping to go to university in Worcester in September,” said Fitzpatrick, who has travelled the world with the GB women’s team this year, starting with a training camp in Lanzarote and then heading for Japan, Canada, Germany and Holland.
She captained the team to gold in the European Championships in July where GB beat defending champions Germany. And all this while studying biology and psychology A-levels.
“The teachers were phenomenal,” said Fitzpatrick, who left Cardinal Newman School in Coventry in July. “They emailed and Skyped me and were really accommodating. I think I was probably only at school for about a month in total.”
Providing she gets her grades, Fitzpatrick will take up a sports scholarship in autumn at Worcester University which is where the GB women’s training centre is based. She currently drives there up to five times a week from her home in Coventry.
“It will be great to have everything on hand,” she said. “And I’m looking forward to helping Bears in their bid for promotion to the Premier Division.
“It is quite a big step-up from Division Two to Division One so it may take a couple of seasons but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Bears welcome experienced players and complete beginners to their training sessions at Warwickshire College sports hall in Henley on Tuesday evenings.
Contact coach Tom Masterson on 07946 518354 for details.