Category: Game Preview

Rockets to take on high scoring Thunder

Reading Rockets (14-9) will be up against one of the leagues highest scoring teams this weekend when they entertain Worthing Thunder at Rivermead Leisure Complex on Sunday, 5pm tip-off. Rockets split last weekend’s games but were victorious in their second encounter as they finally stopped the rot of four consecutive league defeats when they beat Bradford Dragons 86-63 after losing out to Derby Trailblazers the night before 104-97.

This Sunday’s opponents recorded an incredible 80 point victory over relegation threatened Liverpool last weekend as they put 150 points on their opponents to 70 to keep themselves in contention for a top three finish. Runaway leaders Team Solent Kestrels claimed the NBL Division One title after a pair of wins last weekend with Thames Valley Cavaliers almost certain to now claim the runners-up spot in the division.

The meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with the Rockets claiming an impressive 100-81 away win at the Thunderdome back in December.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash against Worthing, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane highlighted what a force to be reckoned with this Sunday’s opponents are and the importance of the game at this late stage of the season. The Irishman said,

“Arguably the most potent scoring team in league, Worthing Thunder certainly proved that as they unloaded 150 points last weekend in one game! A team who are capable to have all five players on the floor who can shoot the 3 ball really well.”

“Worthing will certainly stretch the capacity of our defence, however on the other end we will have to be very aggressive attacking the basket relentlessly. An important game for both teams with playoff seedings we should see the best that both teams have to offer.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s game with no new injury concerns and should continue to have a fully fit squad available after an injury-strewn season. All of the Berkshire outfits concerns have returned to full training and game play with Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor the latest to be declared fully fit. Coach Keane will be buoyed by the valuable minutes given by academy duo Ross Stepney and Asher Ndah last weekend as well as new signing Leome Francis who has made a positive impact since beginning life in Reading last month.

Rockets will know a win this weekend keeps them right in the play-off mix but defeat for the Reading team will all but consign them to seventh place in the division and a tough quarter-final away trip in the post season to this year’s runners-up. To keep up to date with all the latest news and information, follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

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www.readingrockets.co.uk

Rockets facing play-off battle in remaining five games

Reading Rockets (13-8) will be hoping to put their recent run of three consecutive losses behind them when they face a daunting double header weekend as they visit play-off rivals Derby Trailblazers (14-7) on Saturday evening, 7.30pm tip-off, before heading further north to take on Bradford Dragons (11-10) on Sunday afternoon, 4.15pm tip-off.

Rockets suffered a surprising defeat to relegation threatened Essex and Herts Leopards who chalked up only their third win in 21 outings against the Berkshire outfit as the earned a hard fought 91-97 overtime victory to keep their hopes alive of remaining in NBL Division One.

The Reading team still have it all to do if they are to now qualify for the post season and face two teams either side of them in the league table. Rockets lost out to Saturday’s opponents back in December by 77 points to 102 but were able to beat Bradford the following weekend as they recorded a narrow 78-75 success.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was disappointed to see his team slip up against a rejuvenated Leopards outfit but still knows his team is on a journey and is confident his group can bounce back this weekend. The Irishman said,

“Last weekend was a tough loss for us but credit must go to Essex who played so much better than their league position. Despite this disappointment, we must continue to work hard and grow this weekend in practice ahead of a really tough double header weekend.”

“Derby have just come off the back of a really impressive win over Thames Valley Cavaliers and it will take a lot to stop their inside threat but we will plan and prepare for that this week as we do with every game.”

“We then travel to Bradford who will give us some similar problems to solve with defending the paint and the battle of the boards working against players like (Ricky) Fetske and (Rihard) Sulcs so it’s two very challenging but important games this weekend and the test will be can we prepare well enough and execute on Saturday before recovering in time for another tough game on Sunday.”

Rockets were able to field a near to fully fit team last Sunday for the first time in two months with Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor returning to full practice last week. Australian Ben Dixon was able to play despite a dislocated finger sustained in training and Under 18 forward Sam Grant was also available for selection after a four month lay-off with a back injury.

Having lost four games on the bounce in all competitions the Berkshire outfit will be looking to keep up their excellent record of reaching the post season in all ten of their previous NBL Division One campaigns as they 2019-2020 campaign begins to reach it’s climax.

Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

Rockets looking to bounce back against Leopards

Reading Rockets (13-7) will be looking to bounce back from a pair of league defeats this weekend when they host a rejuvenated Essex and Herts Leopards (2-18) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex. Rockets were humbled at home last weekend as they lost out to champions elect Team Solent Kestrels by 78 points to 110 as the league leaders made it 18 wins out of 18 games to put one hand on the NBL Division One trophy.

This weekend sees the Leopards come to the ‘Mead, fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table but with some key additional personnel added since the last encounter between the two teams back in December when the Berkshire outfit recorded a 98-82 road win in the National Cup quarter-finals. Leopards added former BBL players Orlan Jackman and Elvisi Dusha to their roster as well as Lithuanian Osvaldas Gaizauskas before the 31st January deadline.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is wary of the threat Essex imposes and knows his team needs to be better in the coming weeks as the season reaches it’s climax. The Reading play-caller said,

“Essex will be a much changed outfit to the team we have played twice already this year, three if you include a pre season game. We could also be described as much changed, which highlights to you the impact AJ Carr’s absence through a season ending injury has had on the team.

“Essex have done a great job supporting the team by signing three high calibre players, two of which have shined at the BBL level for the past few years. Based on resent performances by Essex, including running close to an upset over Hemel, we know we have our work cut out for us this coming weekend.”

“Regardless of results we are coming off a run of disappointing performances this side of Christmas and currently we are looking more from inside the camp to be better than focus too much on who we are playing. Whoever we play, we still need to defend the ball better, help each other better, rebound better, take better shots and not just the first one, communicate better and ultimately commit better to every action on court. We will know later in the week the injury outlook with a few guys carrying some injuries presently.”

Rockets go into Sunday’s game uncertain as to whether British Forward Ed Potter will be available for the Berkshire outfit. The 24 year old sat out of last Sunday’s loss to Team Solent with a knee complaint but it is unknown the length of time needed on the sideline so Potter will be a game time decision ahead of this weekend. Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor came through their first game back together and look set to continue their return to fitness ahead of the visit of Essex.

Rockets will be hoping to come out of their mini slump with six games of the NBL Division One season remaining with only a couple of points separating the teams in third to seventh position and the fight for play-off positions intensifies.

Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

Rockets to face unbeaten Kestrels

Reading Rockets (13-6) will be looking to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Leicester Warriors (8-10) when they take on unbeaten league leaders Team Solent Kestrels (16-0) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex. Rockets suffered their sixth defeat in NBL Division One sending them right back into the play-off mix with only eight points separating the teams from second to seventh position. The Berkshire outfit lost 83-71 in the East Midlands and will have it all to do this weekend against the history making Southampton outfit.

Team Solent Kestrels were the first NBL Division One team to reach the BBL Trophy final last weekend as they recorded a memorable two-leg victory of Bristol Flyers. The Southern based team are unbeaten in the league and cup where they triumphed over the Rockets last month, winning the National Cup final by 90 points to 67 to lift their first piece of silverware.

Ahead of this weekend’s match-up against the league leaders, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane knows his team will face a formidable opponent but is ready for the challenge that lies ahead with his group. The Irishman said,

“With Solent proving a powerhouse in NBL (and maybe BBL for that matter), nobody will give us a chance this weekend. However we won’t focus on that. The only thing that is important to us is giving the best performance we are capable of. We have been presented with many challenges this year and what comes with that is great opportunities for all, particularly our Academy players who are gaining valuable experience and will be continue to be called upon the rest of the season.”

Rockets go into Sunday’s mouthwatering game with still with a number of injury concerns. Spanish forward Matias Boho looks likely to miss out again with his ongoing knee injury whilst counterpart Pau Mayor will be a game time decision following his Achilles’ complaint that has not yet fully recovered. Australian guard Ben Dixon tweaked his ankle during last Saturday’s loss to Leicester Warriors but the Berkshire outfit are hopeful he will be fit for the visit of Solent this Sunday. British forward Ed Potter missed the Reading outfits last game and could potentially miss out again with a knee injury he sustained during a practice session. New signing Leome Francis will play in only his second home league game for the club with regulars Liam Davis and Nick Richards fully fit.

With a high number of games in the last six weeks of the regular season throughout the club keep up to date with all the latest news and information by following the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk.

Rockets looking to bounce back from cup final defeat with trip to Loughborough

Reading Rockets (13-5) will return to NBL Division One action this weekend when they take on Loughborough Riders (10-5) on Sunday afternoon, 2pm tip-off. The Reading team missed out on the first piece of silverware last weekend when they were beaten 90-67 by Team Solent Kestrels in the National Cup Final so will be looking to bounce back in league play and keep up the pressure at the top of the table as they push for a top four finish.

Sunday’s meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with Rockets taking their home game in comprehensive fashion, winning 93-70 back in October. Since that match-up, Rockets have lost American AJ Carr through injury but gained British forward Leome Francis whilst the Riders have added former junior Rocket Harrison Gamble to their line up alongside Jonas Dieterich who re-joined the East Midlands outfit after a spell in the first team with Leicester Riders.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was understandably disappointed to see his team defeated in the National Cup but was very proud of his younger players stepping up and knows this will be necessary again this weekend. The Irishman said,

“We have really enjoyed our cup run and although we are disappointed not to win the competition, I am very proud of my team for the way they performed but now we are excited to get back to league action and chase a top four finish.”

“A very positive step this weekend was how our EABL (Elite Academies Basketball League) players stepped up and showed us they are ready for that next level of play and it is more than likely we will need them again this weekend with the injuries we currently have.”

“Loughborough are one of the best teams in the division and have bolstered their roster since we last played them. They play a good brand of basketball and are very well coached so it will be a tough trip there to gain a win and keep up the goal of finishing in the top four but I know the players are hungrier than ever to keep performing to the best of their ability with what we have as a group.”

Rockets go in to Sunday’s game with two major injury concerns and a notable absence. Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor both missed out during last Sunday’s National Cup final defeat to Solent and are a big doubt for the match-up against Loughborough. 6’5 forward Boho Sayo is currently sidelined with knee ligament damage whilst 6’3 guard Mayor has an achillies issue and it is unknown when either player can return to action. Co-captain Ed Potter, who pulled down 13 rebounds in the National Cup final, is also unavailable for this weekend’s encounter but in better news for the Berkshire outfit, Leome Francis comes back in after being cup-tied last weekend and the 6’5 forward will make his away debut for the Reading team after his first outing at home with a 28 point 17 rebound double double. Academy players Ross Stepney and Kivuvu Live made significant contributions last weekend with Coach Keane likely to call upon his youth once again as Rockets go in search of win number 14 of their 2019-2020 campaign.

Remember for all the latest news and information, follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

Media@readingrockets.co.uk

Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040