STORMING HOME: Lismore Storm's Ryan Swift helped get the home team over the line 52-51 to win the Sunshine Conference semi-final against the Grafton Vikings last season. The Vikings will welcome Bellinger Valley Braves for a first round on the new Grafton PCYC courts on Saturday night.
STORMING HOME: Lismore Storm's Ryan Swift helped get the home team over the line 52-51 to win the Sunshine Conference semi-final against the Grafton Vikings last season. The Vikings will welcome Bellinger Valley Braves for a first round on the new Grafton PCYC courts on Saturday night.

DOUBLE HEADER: Vikings christen new courts at Grafton PCYC

AFTER almost a year without playing a home game, Grafton Vikings will hit the sparkling hardwood at the recently finished PCYC for an epic double header on Saturday night.

The $6.5m multi-use facility opened late last month and could launch the Vikings to more success after the Sunshine Conference men’s side earned a convincing 98-46 win against Ballina Breakers before the break on August 15.

After an even longer wait, the Vikings women’s side will play their first home game since June 23, 2018, after failing to find the numbers over the last two years.

Grafton’s men and women fell short in their opening game of the season with the ladies failing to score a point, but the men will be confident after a win from their last outing.

Both sides will take on Bellinger Valley Braves, with the women set to open proceedings at 5pm before the men follow up in the prime time slot of 7pm.

Men’s coach Nathan Martin said the slow start after an opening game loss was down to “a terrible pre-season”, in which the Vikings only managed a few training sessions.

But with a brand new state of the art training and playing facility Grafton will look to click into gear as the competition starts to heat up in the weeks to come.

The women’s side will be a long-awaited first up test for the Braves, who will face a packed schedule on Saturday, playing in Ballina at 11am before heading south to Grafton for a 5pm tip off.

COVID-19 restrictions will keep the Vikings from drawing any large crowds in the opening weeks or months of their time at the new stadium, but when they are eased the numbers are sure to pile through the doors.

The basketball bonanza will be the first of two days of action at the Grafton PCYC this weekend, as the centre prepares to host the under-14 boys North Coast Shield round robin on Sunday.



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