Torbay Tigers Basketball Club was formed in 1973 by Rick Wooldridge and Norman Waldron, two teachers at Churston Ferrers Grammar School.
Training took place in the school gymnasium, which is approximately half the size of the modern sports hall court. The school didn’t have a sports hall until the 1980s.
Regular fixtures in the 1970s began in the Plymouth Men’s League. Rick (9) and Norman (10) were supported by Frank Bosher (12) a fellow teacher, and Stuart Anderson (11), a Scotland junior international, with the remaining members of the squad being students at the school.
During the 1970s, the school teams developed and the Tigers entered the Plymouth Junior (Under 19) League as well the senior version. Several of the youngsters appeared in both teams.
The small gymnasium restricted training and games were moved to Brixham Secondary School, which had a full-sized court.
Rick was appointed as South West England under-19 men’s coach and then shortly after, in 1976, as assistant coach to the England under-17 men.
His international coaching career was to continue for five decades until 2011.
Norman held the position of England Schools Basketball General Secretary for 20 years and was team manager of England under-15 schoolboys for many seasons. He has been a board member at England Basketball and won a Commonwealth Games gold medal as manager of the England men’s team in New Zealand.
The 1980s saw a major move with local sponsorship enabling the club to hire the whole hall at the Torbay Leisure centre for training and fixtures. An opening friendly against Plymouth Raiders plus cheerleaders attracted more than 500 spectators.
When Churston opened its sports hall in the late 1980s, the Tigers returned for training and playing and this has continued to today.
The club has developed a complete age range of teams with under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18 entering the South West and National Leagues.
Rick and Norman retired last year and Nathan Chant now organises the Tigers’ teams. Contact him on 07948 366597.