JUST six years after forming, Worcester Wolves are preparing to play in front of thousands of fans on a weekly basis after being accepted into the British League -- the country's premier basketball competition.

Following discussions three weeks ago, the Wolves' management team have been busily investigating the challenges involved in equipping the club to compete both on and off the court at the highest level.

The club was examined by the BBL committee in terms of playing ability, hosting ga-mes, administration and sustainability and, having satisfied the criteria, were accepted into the elite league.

Their campaign will get under way in October.

Club chairman Roger Clarke said: "We are thrilled to be joining the league and it clearly confirms our own belief that we are a club that has made tremendous progress both on and off the court since our formation in 2000.

"There will be obvious challenges and since our formation we seem to have been involved in several David and Goliath Battles -- we feel that we are ready for the biggest one yet."

It is an historic achievement for a club that initially operated with a team of volunteers in National League Division Three to have now moved to the top professional league in the UK in such a short time.

BBL officials were im-pressed with the Wolves' set-up and a spokesman said: "We are delighted to welcome Wor-cester Wolves on board and feel that they will be a great addition to our league."

Under the leadership of Rog-er Clarke and Mick Donovan, the transformation has seen players from all around the globe visit the city for trials.

In Josh Cooprider, Worces-ter will have one of the youngest coaches in BBL history. He has only just finished his first season in charge at senior level and must now spend the summer endeavouring to find a team that can compete at this level.

He said: "We are excited with this great opportunity, yet at the same time realise that it will be a big step up for the team."

Director of basketball Dono-van added: "We have clearly demonstrated that we have the ability within the club to move up to the highest level -- we now have to show the character to stay there and succeed."

A key feature of the success is the unique partnership the Wolves share with the Univer-sity of Worcester. The Wolves' success story illustrates one of the best examples of sport and education working to-gether.

Vice Chancellor of the Uni-versity, professor David Green, said: "We are delighted with the news which clearly reflects the successful growth of the basketball program. It is very exciting for sport in the city of Worcester."