CASTLE BRUCE'S BASKETBALL CHAPTER. (Part I)
JUMP BALL No. 131. By Arlington James
The scenic, cosy eastern village of Castle Bruce, which serves as the 'administrative centre' of the Castle Bruce Constituency that includes the communities of Tranto, Dix Pas, Good Hope, San Sauveur and Petite Soufriere, has a very interesting history.
The village is also the hometown of the current Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training & National Excellence, Hon. Octavia Alfred, and of the first woman to hold the post of Permanent Representative of Dominica to the United Nations, Her Excellency Loreen Bannis-Roberts. Also hailing from that village, on the cultural 'front' are Greg 'Breaker' Bannis (calypsonian and of Gaylords Power Union fame), Starret Francois (Gaylords), Damaas Challenger, Francois Bannis & The Hummingbirds and the Castle Bruce Cultural Group. The East Central Football Club is also a product of Castle Bruce and competes in the national football league.
Morne Frazer towers over the village, the Castle Bruce Beach, the Castle Bruce River, the Castle Bruce Secondary and Primary Schools, the Castle Bruce Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Health, and many other things associated with Castle Bruce.
But some may not be aware that Castle Bruce was once actively involved in the sport of basketball, having had representative teams participate in the national league and a district league, hosted national league games and friendlies, staged multiple editions of their league, and has had sons of the soil represent The Nature Isle on the Dominica national basketball team.
So, please join me in flipping through some of the pages of Castle Bruce's basketball chapter.
TEAMS FROM CASTLE BRUCE IN NATIONAL LEAGUE: Castle Bruce has been represented in all three main men's Divisions of the national basketball league, which falls under the auspices of the Dominica Amateur Basketball Association (DABA).
The first squad from that village to step into the national basketball arena was a team simply named Castle Bruce, and this they did in 1985, playing in the 2nd Level Division. The team lost most of its games in the 2-round league in their debut year to teams such as Shutters, Eagles (including a 103-57 blowout), Pros, Clouds, Sixty-Sixers, Clifton Dupigny Community College, and St. Mary's Academy (SMA). However, records are only available for three victories by Castle Bruce for that year: 61-44 versus Blue Jays of Fond Colé; an 84-60 blowout of SMA, and an 88-55 blowout of Keep Fitters from Soufriere.
Blue Jays, who had defeated Castle Bruce in the return league match 61-47 (almost identical scores as the first encounter), went on to eliminate Castle Bruce 88-52 in the semi-finals of the Knockout. That year Castle Bruce player Eusebe Roberts captured two individual DABA awards, having amassed 422 points in that year's league, with 46, 40, 40, 32 and 30 among his individual match scores!
The following year (1986), the press indicated that the team had registered but withdrew at the beginning of the season. Instead, the Castle Bruce Basketball Committee organized and successfully ran the first edition of the Castle Bruce Basketball League, which was won by Billy's Rockets.
Come 1987, a team named Castle Bruce Rockets made its debut in the 2nd Level Division of the national league. Unfortunately, those Rockets failed to fire as the team conceded at least three blowouts: by 35 Pts to Clippers of Soufriere, by 40 Pts to Portsmouth, and by 54 Pts to Sharks of Pottersville. Castle Bruce Rockets also knocked themselves out of the Knockout competition early by failing to show up for their first-round match.
Reunion 1988 Year saw Oilers as the team representing Castle Bruce and competing in DABA's 2nd Level Division. They were initially assigned to Zone A, which comprised eight teams. However, one withdrew, and another was suspended. As a result, the Oilers emerged 6th out of the remaining six teams and winless.
In 1989, Oilers improved, placing 8th out of the 12 teams in the Division, with 3 Wins and 7 Losses, scoring 553 pts and conceding 641. 1990 saw a continuation of Oilers' not-so-favourable performances, with losses to at least Police, Magic Touch, Hoyas and Cavs, but at least one victory, a 38 Pts blowout of Comets. They lost 62-65 to Sharpers in the second round of that year's Knockout.
In 1991, under their first sponsor, we saw Oilers performing creditably and emerging unbeaten among the five teams in their zone with wins over Cobras, Prowlers, Magic Touch and Woodbridge. Unfortunately, they were knocked out of the Division II Knockout competition.
The following year (1992), the team modified their name to Castle Bruce Oilers. Playing in Zone B, they again performed creditably, with victories over Clouds (72-66), Magic Touch (64-41), Bulls (88-46), Shockers (103-50), and Cusport (93-52) to their credit!
1992 had also seen another team from Castle Bruce, Ball Hawks, in the National League. They played in the 3rd Level Division (Division III). However, they were short-lived and never returned after their debut season.
Continues next edition