Sengers has hopes for his rebuilt Caledonia Pride

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Caledonia Pride head coach Bart Sengers remains infectiously optimistic ahead of Sunday’s opening Women’s British Basketball League fixture against Newcastle Eagles at The Pleasance.

Following a successful second season in the WBBL, crippling financial problems saw the Cup runners-up lose most of their players, but a new sponsorship deal with Arnold Clark has steadied the ship and the squad has been rebuilt with promising young Scottish talent.

“Our sportscotland funding was only for the first two years, so that gave us a challenge,” reflected Sengers. “It wasn’t financially possible to keep all the players and some of them wanted to do other things elsewhere. Only the younger players stayed, but it gives us a chance to restart the programme. The average age of our squad is now close to 18, which looks good for the future. We want to help young Scottish players to develop and have the chance to play in a professional league. It’s hard work and you’ve got to be in it 100 per cent or you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Pride’s youthful squad has already lost to Newcastle in a pre-season friendly, and Sengers admitted: “We were very nervous and that might happen again on Sunday. We have potential but it will take time to come to the surface, so I don’t want to put too much pressure on them. I’m hoping for a win on Sunday but I’m mainly hoping for a good performance. If we do that, then I’ll be happy.”