BPBA appoints new president, court shortage remains key focus

May 18, 2024 BY

Former BPBA vice president and new president Gary Thompson. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Bellarine Peninsula Basketball Association’s (BPBA) new president is excited for what the future holds for basketball on the Bellarine, but says the association’s expansion is limited unless it is allowed to grow.

A former vice president of the BPBA, Gary Thompson was appointed to the president role following the association’s annual general meeting, after serving in his old position for eight years.

“The Bellarine as a region is moving forward, the population is on the rise, and a whole range of sports across the Bellarine are improving and increasing, basketball is obviously included in that,” Thompson said.

“With our numbers, unfortunately, the sport is increasing in size exponentially and we don’t have the space to cater to the demands currently.”

Thompson replaces outgoing president Tony Kane and urges any government representatives to begin or continue dialogues to make a new arena possible.

The new president said the association has over 400 players missing out on basketball each week due to court shortages, forcing fixture planners to have up to 40 teams to have byes.

The association has also enjoyed major growth in participation, namely in female basketball, increasing from 400 girls and women to more than 1,000.

This increase takes the association’s total player pool from 3,000 to 3,400.

“It’s a great result, it’s good for the association, but showed in our receipts from the past three years and our stellar reputation among the Basketball Victoria community, court space is our major challenge today,” Thompson said.

Thompson has been a part of the BPBA since its inception in the late 1990s following the merger of Ocean Grove and Drysdale’s basketball clubs.

He has chaired the tribunal for more than 20 years, mainly due to his work as a police inspector, before taking on the vice presidency.

“I might not play anymore, but it’s great being on the committee, maintaining relationships with people at the club and dealing with colleagues throughout the association.

“Now it’s all about pushing forward to where we want to be, which I guess is becoming a recognised association on the Bellarine, but again, that brings us to the major challenge of lack of room to grow.

“We feel within the next couple of years is the timeline we’d like to have to expand the association.”

Other moves to take place in on the BPBA committee include Steve Anstis taking on the role of treasurer and Sophie Harris being named secretary.

Gary Ellis and Chad Ellis were named as new general committee members.