Category: Club Announcements

JMA Rockets return from their Erasmus trip to Spain

22 players and 6 staff were privileged enough to spend 2 weeks in Spain recently thanks to the Erasmus plus programme. Erasmus plus is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. Erasmus plus aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of lifelong learning, including school education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector.

The group set off from Gatwick airport to Valencia at 7.30 in the morning, an early start for all! On arrival, the boys and girls teams checked in to their home for the week before a short walk to L’Alqueria, Valencia Basket’s state of the art training facility which has eleven, yes eleven full size basketball courts, as well as a huge gym/fitness centre, and a restaurant!

Here, the group were able to watch multiple Under 18 Euroleague games in the Adidas Next Generation tournament which included our very own former JMA Rocket, Matthew Marsh, who is in his second year playing for FC Barcelona and doing very well! To end our first day in Spain, we watched the Valencia Women’s first team play in La Fonteta, the main arena. They lost to a very impressive Girona team but it was awesome to see Carmen Segura’s sister Lorena back in the squad!

The following day was pretty similar, watching a variety of games which culminated in Valencia’s ACB team hosting Tenerife and recording a 98-91 win in front of 8,000 orange fans! What an atmosphere and such a great opportunity to see some of the highest quality basketball on show.

After 2 days of intense basketball, it was time for a change of scenery as the group had a guided tour of the beautiful city of Valencia, learning about it’s history and traditions. After watching the Valencia Women train, it was the boys who would play their first game of the trip as they beat academy side Ferran Pizcueta 76-56 despite being a bit rusty from the Christmas break!

The group watched the ACB team train (so privileged!) and talked with Head Coach Jaume Ponsarnau as well as having some practice of our own, it was time to see 2020 in Valencia style! We went outside the town hall with probably thousands of other people but it was a really family orientated atmosphere as midnight struck with lots of music and fireworks. The behaviour of all students (and staff!) was exemplary so we were really impressed with their conduct and representation of JMA Reading Rockets.

A tour of Valencia’s magnificent Oceanographic centre coupled to a quite breath-taking dolphin show! Everyone really embraced the culture of that trip and this was certainly one of those moments.

The following day was preparation day for the main basketball event of the trip as both teams were getting ready to play in the Valencia Basket Cup. After their sessions, the group were hosted by a Spanish academy players parents for the afternoon as they put on a quite magnificent spread (sounds very English I know) including the traditional Spanish food, paella! A really nice afternoon was had by all and we were most grateful for that time together.

Tournament time soon came upon us and it was to be a very busy couple of days. The girls team faced some very high level opposition and were able to claim 7th position, a very respectable achievement considering who they were playing and their ever-growing injury list! The boys did incredibly well winning every game including beating Valencia Basket B in the final to lift the trophy and cap off a fantastic experience in the city of Valencia. The group also managed to fit in watching a Euroleague game on the Friday night as Valencia secured an impressive 91-77 win over Alba Berlin!

It was time for the group to move to their second destination of the tour as they embarked on the four hour coach trip to Madrid! As we arrived to Aristos, our new home for the next five days, we were greeted by a former Rockets Coach and our friend Raul Lozano who was hosting us during

our time in Madrid. The first day in the capital city was however quite a calm, relaxed day for everyone having just played 6 games in three days but the group did travel to the Wizink centre to watch Real Madrid v Valencia in the ACB, a game narrowly won by the hosts.

The first ‘proper’ outing for the group was a trip to the city centre where the players were put into mixed groups and set various challenges for the three hours they were given. Tasks such as eating tapas, asking someone a question in Spanish, doing a group dance in front of a famous building were just three of the nine tasks set which was done so well by all involved. To cap off this trip, no fewer than 5 former players of JMA Rockets visited us which was great as it showed us the impact we had during their time in England. The day was completed with the boys back in action as they played Aristos Under 20s and recorded a narrow win.

Wednesday saw a trip to Real Madrid’s iconic football stadium, the Bernabau, which was an amazing venue to go and see as well as learning all about the history of one of Europe’s best club’s. Some individual practices as well as some studying and resting completed the day before the final full day of the trip was upon us.

On Thursday, the group had one to one meetings with staff about their time in Spain as well as presenting their tasks from Tuesday, a very funny hour looking back at what they had managed to achieve! One final trip for the group was back to the Wizink centre to watch a Euroleague game between the hosts and BC Zalgris before heading back to the accommodation and getting ready to fly home.

The trip ended with the arrival back to JMA around midday in what was a fantastic two weeks for everyone involved. A huge thank you must be given to Erasmus, the John Madejski Academy, and Reading Rockets for all their help and support in making this trip happen as well as all the staff for their tireless commitment and organisation! Finally, a big congratulations to the players for representing themselves, the school, and the club so well over the two weeks as everyone involved gets right back to work with their respective teams as the business end of the 2019-2020 descends upon us!

Reading Rockets announce new partnership with Secure Media Services

The Reading Rockets are delighted to announce a new partnership with Secure Media Services who will be supporting our NBL Division 1 Men in 2019-2020 season. Secure Media Services offer a range of logistic solutions with a focus on flexible, customer centric experiences.

The Reading based company that operates worldwide, has supported the family club for a number of years but decided to take the step into sponsorship for the current season. Reading Rockets owner Gary Johnson said “We’re extremely grateful for the support of Jamie and his company, Secure Media Services. After a few meetings he could see our vision over the next 3 years and the strides we’ve made off the court with our league leading live stream and increased presence in the digital space.” Gary went on to say “External sponsorship is vital for the longevity and planned growth of our club over the next few seasons and we feel local businesses, like Jamie’s Secure Media Services, are brilliantly aligned in terms of outlook, culture, and drive.”

Jamie Ward, who is the founder and owner of Secure Media Services, is preparing for a busy period with Black Friday and Christmas approaching, believes the partnership truly benefits both organisations “The work The Rockets do in the community, as well as their impeccable reputation around Reading and the UK made partnering easy”. He also commented on the potential exposure his company can see through this sponsorship “Reading Rockets have significant followings across the social media platforms as well as a live stream that can sees thousands of views each game which can only benefit the visibility of SMS”.

You can see the Secure Media Services logo printed on the home kit shorts as well as their banners at all Rockets games.

Please be sure to visit https://www.securemediaservices.co.uk/ to see how they can help with any of your personal or business logistics…And be sure to say hello to Jamie at home games!

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Nottingham McDonalds Hoods

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Reading Rockets98Win
Nottingham Hoods85Loss

After a blistering opening quarter Rockets were held back in the second before igniting in the third and controlling the fourth period to have a convincing win at Rivermead on Sunday evening whilst also securing joint second place in the league with 4 other teams (as shown in the league table attached.)

Academy student David Chive was truly on fire from tip as he stroked 4 trebles in this quarter with Liam Davis hitting a brace himself whilst the ultimate Player of the Game, Nick Richards gave assists, made a steal and hit a pair of jump shots. Rockets offence was a delight to behold and their use of the 24 second clock spot on as they drained a pair of buzzer beating trebles in the last minute before the first break to lead 30-16.

The talented Hoods played with a press for much of the second period to cause Rockets many issues and restricting Rockets to just 14 points. Hoods hit 30 of their own to lead into the interval 46-44, much to the surprise of Rockets supporters as Hoods went on a 26-12 run to finish the quarter. Matias Boho and Ed Potter opened their personal tallies as did young Sam Grant but Head Coach Alan Keane did as he did last week, brought the issues to a head at the team meeting interval and launched them with a new strategy for the third quarter., one item was to move the ball quickly but accurately again and to drive to the basket. This Rockets did well as they drew fouls early on as they drove determinedly to score, finishing well and entertaining the supporters with a brace of slams. Liam Davis took down an offensive rebound to score as A J Carr made a crucial tip away and interception. Hoods took a time out as Rockets were beginning to enjoy themselves again but a 17-8 run as part of a 32-18 quarter saw Rockets ahead 76-64 as the final stanza began.

A Richards dish to A J saw the American stroke a treble moments before Pau Major dished to Ben Dixon to score. A cut eye saw A J leave the court but the mercurial youngster Chive gave an exquisite assist to Boho to hit a treble and see Rockets maintain their double digit advantage throughout the quarter . Richards and Davis enjoyed three quick exchanges of assists for each other and seeing Richards have one slam and Davis a pair to finish Rockets scoring a see them move further up the league table.

Top scorers for Rockets were Player of the Game for the second consecutive week, Nick Richards with 26pts, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 steals followed by Liam Davis with 22 pts, and 7 rebounds. David Chive had 14 pts, 6 assists and 4 steals whilst Matias Boho had 13 pts, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Ben Dixon also had a double digit score of 10 pts , took down 6 rebounds, made a pair of assists and had 2 steals.

Details

Date Time League Season
20/10/2019 17:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Rivermead
24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

Match report – Westminster Warriors v Reading Rockets

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Westminster Warriors87Win
Reading Rockets84Loss

In a tight fought opening game away to newly promoted Westminster, Rockets missed opportunities in the last 21.6 seconds to secure victory as from a single point lead at 84-83 , Warriors drove to score and then hit a pair of free throws to win the game.

After Warriors opened the score returnee Ed Potter sent an assist to Bristol Flyers loanee Liam Davis to secure his first Rockets points with a slam dunk, something he repeated 3 times in the first quarter as he totalled 8 personal points. The titanic affair saw the teams level on 10 points each before Australian Ben Dixon sent a superb pass to Spaniard Pau Major to open his account and see Rockets 15-10 ahead. However a 13-4 run by Warriors had them go into the first break leading 23-19.

A Davis treble and hook reduced the deficit but Warriors replied with a treble. A technical foul called on Nick Richards appeared an officious action but Davis and Dixon scored to see Rockets down by just 32-33. A Matias Boho treble followed a pair of Warriors free throws to tie the game on 35. Potter took a charge to stop a Warriors score but they still extended their lead to 42-36 just 3 minutes before the interval. An exchange of trebles by both teams kept Rockets at bay before Major hit a treble quickly followed by a drive score to see Rockets trail 47-49 at the interval.

A Dixon drive score and great floor hustle upped the Rockets tempo at the start of the third quarter and soon saw the scores level on 51 and 53 but Richards was called for a second technical foul and had to leave the arena just under 4 minutes into this crucial period. Head Coach Alan Keane now had to give more court time o the inexperienced Academy guys and play the new signings more than he initially hoped. He needn’t have worried as Asher Ndah scored to see Rockets take a slender single point lead at 56-55 but a brace of Warriors trebles and a successful conversion of another free throw saw Rockets trail 58-64. With just over a minute of the quarter remaining. Up stepped James Jolly to hit a free throw and Davis hit 4 unanswered points including a buzzer beating spin score to see Rockets only 63-64 adrift as the final period beckoned.

The fast and sound offensive play by Rockets off Warriors early possession surprised Warriors who gave away 3 very quick fouls though they still managed to increase their lead to 70-65. Rockets needed some inspiration and the tenacious Potter fought hard in the key and received 3 assists to score 6 quick points coupled to an offensive rebound free throw . When Dixon made an interception to stop a certain Warriors score, the Rockets supporters and bench were encouraged and soon levelled the game on 72 , 75 and then 77 points with a little over 3 minutes on the clock. A Davis assist to Major saw Rockets edge ahead again 79-78 and keep that slender lead at 81-80 before a Warriors treble with 45.7 seconds gave them a 2 point advantage at 83-81. Coach Keane time out saw Boho fouled and he hit one from two from the line before another Dixon steal edged Rockets ahead 84-83 with 21.6 seconds left but Warriors were not to be denied a winning return to Div.1 as they hit the final 3 points to take the victory.

It had been a titanic battle from tip to buzzer and Rockets will be pleased to see the return of the 2 influential Academy players David Chive and Sam Grant together with the arrival of last season’s Player of the Year A J Carr as his visa has now arrived and he arrives mid-week.

Top scorers for Rockets were Liam Davis with 27 pts, Pau Major and Matias Boho Sayo with 14 pts each and Ed Potter with 12 pts.

Details

Date Time League Season
28/09/2019 17:30 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Moberly Sports & Edcucation Centre
84 Kilburn Ln, London W10 4AH, UK

Rockets re-sign AJ Carr

Reading Rockets have re-signed American forward AJ Carr for the 2019-2020 season. The 24-year-old, who originally hails from Fairfax, Virginia, becomes the eighth signing after the departureRockets re-sign AJ Carrof Match Burnham for personal reasons.

Carr, a graduate of Saint James School in Maryland, went onto play for Shepherd University in West Virginia for four years, totalling 85 competitive games since 2014 before joining the Berkshire outfit last term. In his first season with the Rockets, Carr averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds
Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is very pleased to be bringing one of his main players from last season back to the club for this term and knows the quality Carr can bring to the group. He said,

“With a relatively new team it will be great to have a returning player among the mix. AJ brings experience of playing in the league, an understanding of what we are about and how we want to play and more importantly mentorship and leadership for our young academy players within the squad.”

Carr himself can’t wait to get back to England and link up with Coach Keane and his new teammates and ahead of his arrival back to Reading the 6’6 forward said,

“I’m very excited to be rejoining the Rockets team and community this season. I really enjoyed my time in Reading last season and when Coach Keane called to say an opportunity had come up, I was really excited. I am looking forward to driving back to Reading and I feel big things are coming! #ReadyToRock”