basketball

Sheffield Hatters announce WBBL return for 60th anniversary year

Sheffield Hatters

Sheffield Hatters have announced their return to the WBBL ahead of the 2021-22 season after withdrawing from the top-flight last season.

It will also mark the club’s 60th anniversary having become the first women’s basketball club in 1961 – founded by Betty Codona OBE.

The Hatters last won silverware at senior level at the 2019 WBBL Cup when Helen Naylor came up with the game-winner to beat Sevenoaks Suns in the final in Birmingham.

Vanessa Ellis returns to resume her role as head coach after a successful season overseas, leading UBI Graz to a league title in Austria.

“It’s great to be back at the club where it all started for me especially in our 60th year,” said Ellis. “You can expect some familiar faces to be back but I’m also looking to bring in exciting young players who can make us competitive this season.”

One of those young players is expected to be Abbey Whitehouse with the former WEABL MVP suiting up at the 2021 Hoopsfix All-Star Classic on Saturday.

The WBBL chairman, Jim Saker added: “Being the oldest and most successful team in women’s basketball, the loss of Sheffield last season was one that was felt not just across the WBBL but the whole British Basketball community.

“But their drive and determination off-court is every bit as remarkable as it is on-court and we’re thrilled they’re now in a position to be able to return to the court.”

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