South Yorkshire Times April 3, 1965
Basketball is Really Top Game for Conisbrough School Pupils
Girls have even provided ‘gonk’ mascot for team
If you want to pack the fans in, mention basketball at Conisbrough Northcliffe County High School. For only about six years after this “imported” sport came to Northcliffe Road, Conisbrough, the six man school team, undefeated this year to win the Doncaster Schools’ League for the second time, has been “adopted” by a large section of the pupils.
A home match is guaranteed to pack the Northcliffe gym. It takes about five minutes from the word “go” to fill the bus travelling for an away match. One of the school’s needlework classes has even made the team a mascot “gonk” to bring the lads luck, and now the staff has caught the “fever” and formed their own team.
“Support has built up tremendously,” Mr. Derek Walker, one of the two masters in charge of basketball, told me this week.
“The fourth year in particular seems to have ‘adopted’ the team. The girls have made us a mascot Gonk in needlework and two of them, Rosalind Dawson and Denise Howson, have been scorers for us all season.”
The Northcliffe fans haven’t been disappointed this season, for they have seen the school team score near to 800 points, including three “tons” – over 100 points – from each of three matches.
“To hit a ‘ton’ at all is unusual,” added Mr. Walker, who alternates with sports master Mr. Don Steele in running the official school team.
It is hard training, as well as keen support, that has taken Northcliffe to the top of the Doncaster League. They undertake at least two hours training a week to perfect their man-to-man defensive system – rarely used in minor league basketball, but certainly part of the key to Northcliffe’s success – and their “set” attacking movements.
Their hard work has brought results though, and despite the fact that all the team are aged only 15 and under, four of the boys are playing regularly with a Doncaster Senior League side, Elmfield House Royals, playing side by side with youths 17 and over.
The final test Northcliffe face this season will be the Yorkshire Schools’ Championships at Leeds on May 29th. Most of the present team will leave Northcliffe at the year’s end, but already Mr. Steele is training next year’s side, and after Easter Mr. Walker will start preparing the second year boys who hope to carry on the challenge two years’ hence.
With hard work, keen support – and their Gonk – Conisbrough’s young hopefuls cannot fail to make the grade.