Despite being a basketball club in its infancy, Caledonia Gladiators has had more than its fair share of memorable moments so far.

Since its formation in 2022 after relocating and rebranding, the nascent East Kilbride-based club has exceeded expectations on both the men’s and women’s side of things.

However, with a league title still not in their trophy cabinet, Gladiators’ biggest achievement yet could be merely weeks away.

This weekend, the men’s and the women’s sides will embark on the BBL and WBBL play-offs respectively and both teams know they’re just three wins away from the monumental achievement of becoming British league champions.

It’s not even out of the question to suggest a league double could be on the cards.

There’s much work to be done before anyone can crack open the champagne, though.

First up are the men, who finished the regular league season in third place, equal on points with second-placed Cheshire Phoenix but well behind table toppers, London Lions and this evening, Gladiators' men’s head coach Gareth Murray will lead his players into the play-off quarter-finals against Newcastle Eagles at their home arena in East Kilbride.

The women’s team also has home advantage; having finished second in the WBBL, head coach Miguel Ortega’s side will face Durham Palatinates and with the Scottish side having already notched up two league victories over Durham this season, are heavy favourites to progress. 

However, Robyn Lewis, who is one of the most experienced players on Gladiators’ roster, is adamant her side will not get ahead of themselves as they look towards securing a victory in Sunday’s game.

“We’re feeling good – we want to be confident but not complacent,” the point guard says.

“The play-offs add that bit more excitement and there’s definitely more pressure.

“The lower-ranked teams know that in one game, anything can happen so they know they can cause an upset and the top teams want, at all costs, to avoid an upset. 

“Practice-wise, everything’s been the same this week but mentally, there is a slightly different feeling but I like that.

“It can be tough when you’re the team with a target on its back but we’re excited and we’re ready.”

That 29-year-old Lewis is in this position of competing at the very highest level of British basketball has come as a surprise to even herself.

The Herald: Robyn Lewis is one of Caledonia Gladiators' most experience playersRobyn Lewis is one of Caledonia Gladiators' most experience players (Image: Caledonia Gladiators)

Having retired from the sport two years ago, Lewis believed her days of battling for titles were over but when the Paisley woman mounted a comeback to sign for Gladiators, the results have been better than even she predicted.

And she admits the ultra-professional environment cultivated by Gladiators is something her younger self never thought she’d be a part of.

“The club has gone in a really exciting direction and it’s great to be a part of that,” she says.

“Having the year away means that I appreciate things so much more now. I still love it – you couldn’t do this every day if you didn’t love it and it’s very exciting to be playing at this level.

“I’ve played women’s sport my whole life and at the start of my career, I was travelling to games in a beaten-up mini bus, paying for my own food and things like that. 

“Whereas now, we get on this lovely bus to go to games and the conditions for us are amazing. 

“And on the court, having our own arena in East Kilbride and playing at a club like Gladiators is incredible. I started playing basketball when I was 11 and at that point, I’d never have imagined how things would be now.”

While Lewis is integral to keeping her side calm as the pressure ramps up over the next two weeks, she’s under no illusions as to how significant an achievement it would be for the club were both the men’s and women’s side to get their respective hands on the league trophy.

London Lions are the favourites for both titles but Lewis is well aware that the winner-takes-all nature of the play-offs make them ripe for an upset and so despite not being odds-on to claim the WBBL trophy, Lewis has only one target in mind over the next fortnight.

“Our goal is always to win, that’s what we work for every day,” she says. 

“We’ve been chasing London this year and trying to close the gap as much as possible. We know that they have huge talent but if we face them, it’ll be a one-off game and anything can happen.

“We want to be as ready as we can be for each play-off game and ultimately, we want to bring the trophy back to East Kilbride.”