De Aston School student joins Leicester Riders U16s squad

Harry Fairfield (right) with his De Aston School team-mates EMN-150308-182907002
Harry Fairfield (right) with his De Aston School team-mates EMN-150308-182907002

De Aston School day pupil Harry Fairfield (15) could be set for basketball’s big time after catching the eye of Leicester Riders, writes Peter Thompson.

The 15-year-old, from Nettleton, has been offered a chance to develop his game with the British Basketball League giants.

Harry has been playing basketball for Grimsby Gators for the last two years after taking up the sport at school.

He was inspired by trips to see the Riders at their home court at Loughborough University, and then began to look for routes into the sport.

“I started researching the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) programme, which combines quality basketball training and competition with further education to progress to play basketball at the highest level. It’s a selection process which is over-subscribed.”

After taking part in trials for National League clubs, he was in the lucky position of being offered a development chance with Leicester and Doncaster.

Harry added: “It was a really difficult decision for me to make and at one point I was attending training sessions nearly every night and at weekends in Doncaster and Leicester, as well as my team in Grimsby, to try to decide which team to play for.”

Harry, who at 6ft 2ins should have the height to back up his ambitions, chose Leicester despite the prospect of a 140-mile round trip just to attend training.

He will join their under 16s National League squad for the new season.

The Riders are the oldest professional club in British basketball and were BBL champions in 2012/13 when they won an historic treble of domestic honours.

Recently, Harry linked up with a group of De Aston School boarders and exceeded all expectations by winning a tournament in Hull organised by the Kingston Panthers.

De Aston School head of boarding Steve Bunney said: “Harry has become good friends with some of the boarders partly due to their shared love of basketball.

“They train together and represent the school at basketball, and organised between themselves to play in the tournament.”