The Portsmouth Fury have claimed they will ‘play until they die or can’t walk’ as they prepare for their new season at the peak of Solent basketball.
The team are unbeaten for 18 months and show no signs of slowing down as the put together their final plans for their SABA division one campaign.
The Fury cruised to a perfect 16-0 record last season in division two, gaining promotion as champions.
As well as a historic league campaign, the side won the Solent Intermediate Cup, beating the Winchester Royals in the final 71-60.
Andrew Goodale and Steve Ware founded the team in 1992.
Goodale said: ‘It’s going to be a tough year ahead. There are a lot of strong teams in this division.
‘We have the same core of players as last year, so we just need to go into these games with the same confidence as we did last year and try to build on that success.
‘We still have the same passion to play, but we have to put in more time away from the court now in order to make sure we can carry on playing competitively at our age – working on our diet, fitness, and trying things like yoga and using a foam roller every night.’
Goodale’s younger brother, Paul, joined the team in 1994 and played an integral part of the Fury’s success last season:
He said: ‘Andrew and I have always hoped that the team will carry on whether we are running it or not.
‘We’ve been gradually moving back anyway. Andrew and Steve used to be in the starting five each game, and now they hardly play.
‘Last season was the first time that I wasn’t in the starting five for a few games, so time will play a part at some point.
‘We will keep playing until we die or can’t walk.’
The Fury already have a number of injury issues ahead of the new campaign.
Shooting guard Tom Fellows is recovering from a calf tear, while big men George Milis (thumb) and Harry Bates (ankle) are facing a race against time to be healthy.
The team are helped by the return of their Italian star, Antonio Santoro, who averaged 25 points per game last season.
– TOM BONNETT