BBallin’s winning formula of hoop dreams and heart

BALLERS: Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark visited the BBallin club in February

Earlier this month, local basketball club BBallin were visited by Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark to see the work the club does in the local community, both on and off the courts.

Following this meeting I decided to head down to Tunbridge Wells Leisure Centre on Saturday to speak to coach and co-founder Stephen Maragh, to find out more about the club’s ethos and future ambitions.

The club was founded in 2019 by Stephen Maragh and Herbie Cann-Barnieh. The pair had been volunteering and coaching at the Maidstone Warriors team but then discussed the possibility of starting their own club. From there, BBallin was formed.

The club has had several homes since its inception, including Kent schools Haysbrooke Academy (now Leigh Academy), Mascalls and Bennett but since 2022 they have been based in Tunbridge Wells Leisure Centre on St John’s Road.

The club hosts several training sessions from Wednesday to Saturday each week and also has a number of teams which take part in matches locally, regionally, and nationally.

Despite having over 200 members at the club, ranging from as young as five to its oldest members in their 50s, Stephen has revealed it has plans to introduce further sessions to grow the club further and encourage even more people to play basketball.

Stephen, who is Chairman of the Kent County Junior Basketball League and on the board of the Basketball England South East region, hopes to introduce an over-60s walking basketball club.

He believes it is important to provide a space for people where they can stay active, but which also provides the opportunity to build relationships and friendships in the local community.

As an Assistant Principal at Parkwood Hall in Swanley, a school for children with moderate to severe learning difficulties, Stephen explained that he would also like to introduce SEND sessions at the club.

He commented: “My experience of working with young people is that there is very little that is accessible for students or young people with SEND which is also a SEND-friendly environment. Although some students can cope in a more mainstream environment, what we really want to do is have an exclusively SEND session which caters for those young people who can’t necessarily cope in a group as large as this.

“That will allow them to take part and have that opportunity to be passionate about the sport too.”

BBallin is currently looking for more coaches and volunteers to help the club so that it can run additional sessions and engage with the wider community. However, it may not have to wait too long for a few additional qualified coaches as the club is starting to train the next generation through their junior coaching programme. The programme helps their U16 players get a pathway to gain a Basketball England Level 1 Coaching Award, with many of those on the scheme gaining further development and coaching experience by helping the younger age groups sessions on a Wednesday or Saturday.

Building on from this, Stephen explained that the club has adopted a holistic approach to supporting and developing its members beyond their basketball.

He said: “We can develop your basketball, we can develop your skills, give you access to all of these different things but actually one of the things that we also really want to do is support the development of the whole person.

“I want those that have been at the club when they grow up and think back on these years, to feel that they learned so much [at BBallin] and were able to develop this, that and the other and not just think I went there and messed about with my mates.”

Before Christmas, the club managed to secure £5 tickets for many of its members to the London Lions game against Newcastle Eagles and are now hoping to get tickets and organise another day out to the upcoming British Basketball League playoff finals at the O2 in April.

If you are interested in joining the club as a player, coach or volunteer, visit their website or email

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter