Dumbarton Dodgers Basketball Club
|Full name||Dumbarton Dodgers Basketball Club|
|Ground||Meadow Sports Centre
|League||Strathclyde basketball league|
The club is currently celebrating its 29th anniversary.
The club was formed in 1981 from a youth club in Riverside Parish Church in the town. Basketball was requested week in, week out, at the club nights, and one of the youth club helpers, Jim Auld, saw the potential for starting a club in the town. He called in a few local contacts from his days playing in the Strathclyde League with Smugglers and, along with the fresh teenagers, the club was born.
The club played its first ever league game in the boys' gym of Dumbarton Academy, a hall so ill-equipped and small that there were no sidelines and contact with the wall was considered 'out of bounds'. The game resulted in a home victory over Glasgow side, Bannerman. Alan Craig had been brought in as coach by then.
The next season saw the club add a second team and move home base to the Vale of Leven Academy, a court with proper size and markings and playing in both Strathclyde divisions 2 and 3, winning division 3. Within two seasons the club lost players who were drawn by the attraction of playing National League basketball with the newly formed Penilee team. The club moved on, adding a ladies' team, playing along with the single men's team. The ladies' team however disbanded after two seasons. The club reached a low point in the late 1980s with only eight male players, placing a strain on both finances and the ability to field a team.
A push was made on youth development, with three different training sessions a week in Dumbarton and two in Alexandria. Sufficient junior boys were recruited to start a Junior team. By the early 1990s. former player Nigel Cheesman had returned to the club to share coaching with Dougie Gillespie. he club took three lets a week at the newly opened Meadow Centre in Dumbarton and, with Nigel coaching seniors and Dougie coaching all juniors and ladies, the club moved to a peak membership of around 65 players. At one point the club supported six competitive teams - senior men in Strathclyde 2 and 3, Junior men, Cadet men, senior ladies and junior ladies. Again the club triumphed in division 3, a division they entered purely as a development project to give the older juniors valuable experience of the senior game.
The girls' teams broke up in the late 1990s, and at the same time the only remaining founder member, Dougie Gillespie, moved to Falkirk, where he now coaches highly successful ladies club Grangemouth Ladies. The underage teams have now gone, and the club now runs with only one senior men's team, albeit that that team is about to embark (season 2006/07) on the highest level of play ever by the club - Strathclyde division 1.
Honours for the club include 2 Strathclyde division 3 trophies 2 wins in the Strathclyde consolation cup 2 runners-up in the Strathclyde consolation cup
The following Dodgers have represented the club in Scottish representative squads - Paul Digby, Susan McKenzie, and Stuart Cheesman - a remarkable feat for a small town Basketball club.