Guernsey Press

Gilligan gets inter-insular chance as Murphy names her first squad

It is a time for new opportunities in women’s inter-insular basketball.

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Opponents becoming teammates: Guernsey captain Emma Hicks, left, will be joined in the Island squad for next month's inter-insular by Comets duo Emilie Batiste, centre, and Lauren Gilligan. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33137449)

Jenny Murphy is going into her first match as head coach after taking over last autumn from Pat Ogier, who had led his team to victory in every inter-insular since the millennium, and has now unveiled a squad of 11 players with which she hopes to extend that enviable win-streak.

The retirement of Guernsey’s most-capped basketballer, Emma Webb, after the home Island Games and unavailability of several other seasoned stars has created opportunities for up-and-coming players.

This includes another high in the rapid rise of Imperium Comets player Lauren Gilligan.

Gilligan took up basketball after the home Island Games, won the domestic league with Comets, and has now worked her way into the inter-insular squad.

‘It shows how things can go,’ Murphy added.

‘We only just added her a week or two ago when someone had to pull out.

‘She may not get many minutes, but it’s a fantastic opportunity.’

Comets stars Emilie Batiste and Bonita Le Noury have also earned praise for their own quick improvements.

‘They played amazingly in the Island Games and are now an integral part of the squad – it’s great to have them in the team,’ Murphy said.

Erin Ogier and Jess Regnard also feature after narrowly missing out on last year’s inter-insulars and the Island Games.

The coach also expects Tia Barnett to become less of a ‘periphery player’ this time around and for young Emma Sykes to feature prominently, too.

She has described Ieva Babina as ‘really dependable’, while Emma Hicks, Gemma Batiste and Katie Margetts provide the most experienced hands in the squad.

The women’s basketballers hold a particularly impressive record at inter-insular level, having not lost since 1999.

Murphy does not expect that to end this year, even if she knows the Caesareans have been working hard to develop their game.

‘I’m definitely confident,’ she said.

‘I am confident in the team and in our ability to win the game.

‘It has not been as competitive as I would have liked it to have been over the last 20-odd years, but I know Jersey are working a lot now on their development and bringing their basketball along.

'We are aware it will start getting more competitive.’

The inter-insulars take place on Saturday 18 May.

Guernsey squad

Emma Hicks (captain), Gemma Batiste, Ieva Babina, Katie Cochrane, Emilie Batiste, Bonnie Le Noury, Emma Sykes, Erin Ogier, Tia Barnett, Jess Regnard, Lauren Gilligan.