Mercia Health Benefits Crusaders new dawn in the citys fantastic new SkyDome Arena
will have a distinct Gallic flavour.
Head coach Dip Donaldson has strengthened his squad for the new season with seven new
players including four Frenchmen and already they are a big hit.
The Gallic quartet captivated local fans on their first outing against USA Airforce
Eagles in a friendly at Coventry Sports Centre on Saturday to underline claims that
Crusaders will be among the most exciting teams in the NBL Division 1.
Crusaders first few league matches will be played at their longstanding venue in
Coventry Sports Centre but they hope their first match in the new 4,000 seater SkyDome
Arena will be against Oxford on 20 November or possibly the National Trophy semi-final on
It will be a tremendous showcase for the talents Donaldson has assembled for the
forthcoming campaign and the players and supporters will revel in their new surroundings.
The league season starts on 11 September with a home game against Solent followed by
another home match against Teesside on 2 October.
But basketball fans can get another sighting of the new signings on Saturday 28 August
when Cardiff Clippers are in action against the Crusaders in Coventry Sports Centre
They put in impressive performances in the 84-81 victory over the USA Airforce team and
repeat showings will ensure a successful season.
Dips line up for the new campaign includes: Frenchmen Karim Houari, Derrick Pope,
Nicolas Vinsonneau and Pierre Bonneau and Americans Matthew Donaldson and Rick Solvason as
well as Kevin Pinny, Colin Rhooms and Manny Shareland.
The team is building its fitness levels in training sessions four times a week at Tile
Hill College between 7-9am.
Meanwhile Dip is seeking help in finding accommodation for the newcomers. He is looking
for three three-bedroomed houses for his players one to buy and two to rent.