Category: Ladies Team

National Cup Finals weekend – Match Reports

Rockets Junior Ladies 65 v 60 Charnwood College Riders.

Rockets launched themselves with great propulsion into the opening 2 quarters of this first ever National Cup Final for Rockets Juniors Ladies as they stormed Riders 23-9 and 23-18 in the initial two quarters giving Rockets a comfortable 19 point advantage at the interval 46-27.

Carmen Moreno was finishing clinically with an average of over 83% conversion rate while Paula Tarrega was dominant on the boards for Rockets. With Noa Sanchez Marques also over 83% shooting percentage and making assists, it was now crucial for the U 18’s to not get complacent as they knew Charnwood would come out fighting…..and how they did !!

Rockets were restricted to just 11 points in the third period as Riders hit 15 and the game took on a different perspective. Now Rockets’ clinical finishing fell away as Riders defended with grit and determination as they fought to not lose 3 consecutive finals. Would the 57-42 advantage at the end of the third period be enough Riders began another charge ?

Each team wanted to lift the cup in front of their passionate supporters. It was a mighty strong fight back by Riders in the final quarter as they restricted Rockets to just 8 points whilst scoring 18 themselves but Rockets prevailed with scores at key times and solid defence in the end game as they took the victory and held the cup high through their 65-60 win.

This was very much a team effort though the top scorers for Rockets were Anabel Latorre Ciria as she raised her game in the second half to finish as the game’s MVP with 17 points and 12 rebounds whilst Carmen Segura Moreno also hit 17 points,  took down 4 rebounds and had a brace of assists and steals . Noa Sanchez Marques hit 16 pts., had 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

Head Coach Blai Benlloch was thrilled with the Rockets Junior Ladies win as he recognises it’s the result of a dedicated academy investment programme at the John Madejski Academy .

Anabel Latorre Ciria – MVP


Rockets 71-73 Haringey Hawks

A pulsating game referred to by the commentators as one that will be regarded as the best ever U18 Junior Men Cup Final in the sports history ended with heart breaking final second defeat for Rockets as the final 3 point shot to lift the trophy, rimmed out and they found themselves forlorn on the court having truly given their all.

This is the way Head Coach Fisher encouraged them throughout, ‘Don’t leave anything on the court, do your utmost and be proud.’   And for sure he and his team did just that in front of the biggest and loudest supporters the day had experienced. The majority of these young men have another year at this level and will be striving to succeed in next year’s competition.
Rockets edged the opening quarter 17-16 but found themselves 33-39 adrift at the interval as Hawks lifted their finishing and stifled Rockets. The 15 minute break was a key time for Coach Fisher and his message was clearly received by his stalwarts as they took the third quarter 26-20 to leave the game delicately poised at 59 each as the final period began.

Hawks opened with a score but Rockets edged ahead thanks to a Sam Grant treble. Hawks had a 6-0 run midway through the quarter but Rockets cut that to three with just two and a half minutes left…. a huge time in Basketball. Three Rockets shots rimmed back and Hawks led by five with Just 28.9 seconds remaining . Rockets drove on seeking the cup triumph and with 16.9secs left scored to get within  three of Hawks. One from two from  the free throw line extended Hawks lead but another big Rockets treble with 7.7 secs on the clock meant Rockets were tied . Another opportunity from the free throw line edged Hawks ahead  by two. Again Rockets took off and the outstanding Grant launched a buzzer beating treble effort but it came back off the ring to leave an exhausted Rockets Juniors team bereft on the court. They had been in a fantastic final and Coach Fisher was proud of their magnificent effort in getting a National Cup Final and just falling a millimetres short of victory.

For Rockets Sam Grant finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists , Ross Stepney with 17 points and 16 rebounds and David Chive 10 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists .

An absolutely great Saturday for Rockets Junior Men and Women and a great future ahead for some truly talented players.

David Chive scoring for Rockets


Sam Grant – Rockets’ Top Scorer




Loughborough Student Riders81Win

In what was clearly going to be a tough final for Rockets Ladies as 7 of the Rockets team of 12 are not only Academy players ( under 18yo ) but had also played less than 24 hours before as they took the Junior Women title. So could they put the inevitable physical tiredness and the emotion of winning the day before, behind them.

Head Coach David Sanchez was well aware of that but was expectant as his team had fought many tough battles to reach this final and they were well prepared. However the sight of one of England’s brightest basketball hopes for many years being released from her primary professional league seniors ( Leicester Riders ) , on court, increased the level of difficulty against an already talented side. In reality Holly Winterburn for Riders and Monica Herranz for Rockets were the two outstanding stars of either team and fought for the MVP too.

Riders shot off to an initial 7-0 run before Rockets drew level on nine each midway through the opening period before Riders finished that quarter with a 12-0 blitz. Rockets had missed seven open shots and Winterburn had scored 13 of Riders 21-9 lead.  A stunned Rockets team used the 2 minute break but Riders charged to another 7-0 opening start to quarter two to enjoy a 28-9 advantage. Herranz hit 14 before the break including 2 from 3 trebles to help Rockets stay in contention though 25-41 in arrears.

The third period saw Rockets further adrift at 42-64 but these young players have a never say die attitude that was much appreciated by the packed stands and though going down to a better team on the day, gave a spirited display of what’s to come in the future for the whole female development programme. At Rockets.

With Herranz being rested in the final few minutes the final score was 54- 81 . Herranz had finished with 20 pts.,13 rebounds and 3 assists whilst 16 yo Carmen Moreno had 8 pts and 17 yo Noa Sanchez-Marques 7 pts, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Rockets still have much league action ahead before that draws to a close in April so why not pop along, watch them at JMA or Rivermead …or join one of young teams ?


Date Time League Season
20/01/2019 13:00 National Cup 2018 / 2019


University of Essex
Boundary Rd, Colchester CO4 3WA, UK


Rockets looking to bounce back from double defeat with Friday night game against rivals Essex Leopards

Reading Rockets (1-3) will be looking to return to winning ways on Friday night when they travel to the Brentwood Centre to take on the Essex Leopards (0-4) in both teams’ fifth NBL Division One game of the campaign (7.30pm tip-off). Rockets endured a tough trip to the north last weekend as they came away emptied handed losing out to a high-flying Team Northumbria side by 86 points to 75 before a narrow 102-96 defeat at the hands of the league’s leading scorers Bradford Dragons to leave the Berkshire outfit with only one win from their opening four games and all to do heading into Friday’s crucial game against Essex Leopards. The Reading team have once been in this position before under former head coach Samit Nuruzade when they lost three of their first four games but that season they went on to win the play-off championship, a feat the club will be looking to work towards this season with the National Cup also still within their reach also as they take on Kent Crusaders at the quarter final stage on Sunday 20th November.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was in quite a reflective mood after this weekend’s two losses but knows it is a long season ahead for him and his group and believes his side is not far off turning the competitive performances he has seen into wins. The Spaniard said,

This weekend was really difficult in terms of results. Our performances against both teams were not where we would like them to be and we have a lot of work to do to try and turn those performances into more consistent ones and then wins, however what is positive for us is we are competing and are not far off two very good opponents with the young roster we have. At this point it is important to reflect where we are and what we need to do to progress as a group and this journey will be different to maybe ones we have been on before with a lot of building and hard work needed for us to be in and amongst the best teams in the division.
And honestly that starts again this week in practice and as we prepare to play Essex on Friday night. It is a big game for both teams as Essex is yet to record a win in the league but has a roster full of talent and can pose so many dangers if they are allowed to play their game. We know this from past games against them but we also know their personnel very well having had two really talented players in David Ajumobi and Wayne Yeboah with us last year so we are expecting a tough game but one we must believe we can compete in and win.”
At this stage I feel calm and objective, and I am really excited with the challenge that lies ahead because I think it will be one that has more satisfaction than winning and once we get it right I believe we will be in for a great time together. Practice by practice, game by game is the approach with hard work, honesty, and commitment to the project key for our success this year.

Rockets go into their first Friday night game of the season with no new injury concerns and with the bonus of two solid performances from academy point guard Ganesh Bikram Rana who has stepped up to the Division One set-up having been with the Berkshire outfit for four years. The 18 year old has been on the fringes of the team over the last year and was finally given his chance during last weekend’s trip to the north. Rana, who links up with his fellow academy teammates Ali Sbai, Ibu Jassey Demba, and Fidel Gomez De Enterria Lopez will be looking to continue to make an impact in the senior programme as the Rockets look to build on their National Cup run at the same time as avoiding the unwanted statistic of their worst start to a NBL Division One campaign when they visit winless Essex Leopards in what is already a crucial game at this early stage of the season.

The Rockets WNBL Division One Women also return to league action this weekend after only their second loss of the season last weekend against league leaders Charnwood College Riders (79-50) as they make the long journey to Lancashire to take on the Spinners against a team they have already beaten this term 64-46 back in October as they look to build on their third place in the division and keep in touch with the top two teams in the league.

To keep up to date with all the latest news and information within the club visit <> and to keep in touch will the latest scores and updates throughout the week and weekend follow the club on Twitter @rocketsreading.