Country Basketball League to reignite in 2021
In just one month, teams will return to the court to battle it out for CBL championships across the state.
The 2021 season schedule has officially been released today ahead of the CBL Round 1 tip off on Saturday 9 January 2021.
Due to Victoria’s recent lockdown, the CBL start date has been pushed back from its traditional starting time in October to January to safely enable our associations to return to basketball and maintain COVIDSafe standards.
Basketball Victoria and participating associations underwent a recommitment process earlier in the year, with associations given the opportunity to withdraw their initial entry due to the outcomes of COVID-19. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from associations wishing to participate in the CBL 2021 season and give their athletes the opportunity to compete across the summer.
Seven of the eight conferences will return in 2021, with both Men’s and Women’s competitions to be held in the Gippsland, North East and North West Conferences, and a Men’s competition in the South West Men’s Conference.
CBL Coordinator Sammy Cartwright said seeing this season that has been worked on for so long become a reality is utterly rewarding after the year basketball has endured.
“It’s an uplifting feeling to be able to hold a form of CBL,” Cartwright said. “The desire to get a season going was very evident and we look forward to getting back on the court.
“The main challenge was the unknown, which we are still amid really. We were trying to look at periods three months in advance and plan.
“Ultimately though, overcoming the unprecedented challenges is down to the commitment, resilience and desire of the country associations.”
Teams who registered their interest in the season were also required to complete a form to outline their COVID-19 Safe Venue Plans to ensure total safety for patrons and athletes on game days.
Cartwright continued to explain that this CBL season is not going to be the same as in previous years.
“This is not a normal CBL season,” he said. “First and foremost, we want to reactivate CBL and representative basketball in a conservative manner.
“The schedule will have the flexibility to fluidly overcome potential issues and we hope this first step back on court is just as successful as the CBL has been historically.
“The hope for this season is, ultimately, for the complete reactivation of the athletes, coaches, referees, venues and volunteers. We’ll get seven weeks of basketball concluding with what should be an exciting and competitive finals series!”
CBL FIXTURE PREVIEW
The upcoming CBL season will feature 130 regular season games in a condensed seven-week season. Two weeks of finals will be played following the regular season, with Semi–Finals and Grand Finals played on the weekends of 27 February and 6 March.
The condensed season serves to allow the safe return of basketball for players, referees, venues and volunteers in line with Basketball Victoria’s messaging of easing back into play.
Wallan Panthers, the reigning champions in North East Men’s, will come up against the Shepparton Gators in a Round 1 clash to kickstart their conference. On the same night at a different stadium, Wodonga Wolves and Seymour Blasters will meet in North East Women’s for a 2019/20 grand final rematch sure to spark old grudges.
Reigning North West champions, Maryborough Men, will square off against grand final rivals Bendigo in Round 4 at Bendigo Stadium. Bendigo’s championship winning Women will battle Echuca in Round 2 to start their campaign for a grand final repeat.
Gippsland Men’s champion team in Warragul won’t appear until Round 2, however with two enticing Round 1 match ups, it could be anyone’s game to lead the season. Last season’s Runners Ups of Moe could lead the way in 2021 for the Women’s, however with Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Korumburra and Warragul in the ranks, the season could go any which way.
In the South West, three games will kick it off for the Men with match ups at Bellarine, Colac and Portland.
Despite uncertainty this year of whether CBL would be able to go ahead in 2021, players and all involved can rest easy knowing this season is sure to be one not forgotten. We look forward to seeing what unfolds this 2021 CBL season.
The Country Basketball League (CBL) will ignite the new year of basketball with fixtures released for the 2021 season.
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