Category: Mens Team

Rockets looking to continue good form with the visit of Derby Trailblazers

Reading Rockets (7-2) will be looking to keep up their excellent form this weekend as they welcome Derby Trailblazers (5-4) to Reading on Sunday afternoon (5pm tip-off), finally returning to their regular home venue of Rivermead Leisure Complex. Rockets secured a pair of wins last weekend grinding out an 81-67 away win at basement outfit Essex and Herts Leopards (0-9) before advancing to the National Cup quarter-finals with the narrowest of victories in Nottingham, beating the Hoods 78-77 to make it nine wins out of ten in all competitions.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was a happy man after last weekend’s double success but will be hoping his team recover in time for this Sunday’s clash against Derby when they entertain the East Midlands side back in front of their home crowd, something the Irishman is looking forward to. He said,

“Coming off a double header weekend away and three games on the bounce away from the Rivermead, it will be really exciting to get back to playing in front of our home fan base. Derby, another potential top four team in the league will bring different challenges. A team very well coached team who compete as tough as any team in the league. They are capable to score in a variety of ways but obviously Malcolm Smith will need a lot of attention from us. A tough run of league games coming our way and Derby presents as big as challenge as any.”

The Berkshire outfit go into Sunday’s match-up with a number of injury and illness concerns. British guard Ed Potter missed Sunday’s National Cup win against Nottingham with a suspected broken finger and the Reading team won’t know if he will be able to play this weekend until just before the game. Young British point guard David Chive missed both last weekend’s games through illness but the Rockets are hoping the 18 year old makes a full recovery before this weekend’s top of the table clash. Spanish guard Pau Mayor was also out of action last Sunday with a dead leg after featuring heavily during Saturday’s victory over Essex and Herts Leopards. The 23 year old has been receiving treatment on his thigh complaint and will also be a game time decision alongside Ed Potter. Finally, academy player and GB Under 18 Sam Grant also missed last weekend’s double triumph with an ongoing back injury and knee complaint he sustained in an EABL game against Barking Abbey but it is unsure if he will be back to feature this weekend.

With Coach Keane sweating on the fitness of a number of players you can 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

Media@readingrockets.co.uk
Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040
www.readingrockets.co.uk

Match Report – Nottingham Hoods v Reading Rockets

After a tough away game the evening before in Essex and four of his senior players injured or sick, it was a depleted in number team that Head Coach Alan Keane took to the north midlands opposition in the fourth round of the National Cup, topped up again with two more academy players Michael Perez and Jacob Cirtautas.

The game opened with Rockets only senior five players conscious that they’d be playing much more than usual and needing to be careful to also not to get into foul trouble. Hoods opened the scoring and then the teams exchanged scores with every offensive as Liam Davis and Nick Richards got Rockets onto the scoreboard. Matias Boho blocked a certain score and Richards stroked a fine treble but back to back trebles from Hoods saw them in the ascendency backed by a noisy and excited crowd inside the arena. A J Carr sent the first of his assists to Davis and the scores were level on 11 apiece. A Hoods treble and three jump shots was answered by a Ben Dixon treble and drive and finish but Rockets found themselves 22-28 down at the end of the opening quarter.

The second period saw Hoods hit three consecutive trebles at the start and ease into a 41-28 lead. Rockets were turning the ball over far too much and compounding this by not being clinical at the offensive end but an awesome 18-3 run gave them an interval advantage of 46-44 as Carr lit up the venue with three trebles and three other scores to take his personal tally to 19 points. From thirteen adrift to two up was a big statement from the Berkshire outfit and meant they were very much still in contention for that quarter final place.

As expected the third period was going to be hard fought as both teams tried to take control but neither did. Hoods levelled on 46 points with the first offensive but six points from Rockets via a Davis pull up and slam dunk coupled to a Dixon assist to Richards to score opened up a 6 point lead. However Hoods did likewise to level on 52 apiece. A Dixon assist to Ross Stepney saw the academy player score before a crucial wide treble from Boho levelled the scores moments before he made a key steal as Hoods looked to extend their lead. Dixon was wiped out as he drove to score but didn’t get any foul from the officials who had a very good game with only 15 fouls called in the whole game and only 5 against Rockets. Nonetheless moments later Boho made a steal and Richards scored and then the courageous Australian Dixon took a charge. It was truly nip and tuck as the scores were equal on 54, 56 and 58 as a 16 points haul for both teams saw Rockets go into the final stanza still with a slim margin advantage of 62-60.

Both teams were fighting for the victory and again the game was tied on 62, 70 and 72 as the end game appeared. A huge downtown treble from Carr brought delight to the travelling supporters but three missed scoring opportunities encouraged the Hoods fans as Rockets were looking tired after their exploits over the 2 weekend games, soon finding themselves 67-70 down.. Could the tired Rockets ignite for the last two minutes. Davis made a great stop and then strove to the other end to slam dunk and see Rockets 4 points with 1 minute 41 seconds remaining. Hoods scored and Coach Keane took a time-out but on the re-start Hoods drove, scored, drew the foul and went into the lead on 77-76 with 21.5 seconds on the clock. Another Keane time-out and plans for the next and probable last offensive with 15.6 left proved to be crucial as the ball was given to Carr who drove to the basket and finished with off the glass to give Rockets the lead. The Hoods time-out and possession that followed was stopped by Rockets who now move onto the National Cup quarter final away to Leopards on Sunday 15th Dec.

Top scorers for Rockets in this breath-taking cup game were A J Carr with 28 pts, Nick Richards with 18 pts, Liam Davis with 14 points but all 9 players were magnificent, even if exhausted.

Media@readingrockets.co.uk
Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040
www.readingrockets.co.uk

Match Report – Essex & Herts Leopards v Reading Rockets

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Essex & Herts Leopards67Loss
Reading Rockets81Win

Though not having had the best of starts to the season Leopards are much changed now and have further players returning soon, hence Head Coach Alan Keane quite properly ignored the league position of his opposition and concentrated on staying in joint second place in the league.

With Sam Grant out injured and David Chive on his sick bed, it was a reduced team that set off for Oaklands College the new venue for Rockets’ hosts. A 7-2 opening blitz by Leopards was quickly quelled by A J Carr and Liam Davis as Rockets drew level on 9, 11 and 13 points midway through the quarter. Leopards’ biggest threat was Hafeez Abdul who stroked back to back trebles to ease Leopards ahead by 6 points. Rockets missed a lay up and a slam though a late Matias Boho score saw Rockets down 17-22 at the first break.

Nick Richards opened his personal account with a fine spin move followed by a jump shot and then Boho hit both penalty shots. When Pau Mayor drove and finished, Rockets found themselves ahead by 25-24 as Ed Potter was his usual stern defender and Boho had a very effective offensive period as he scored 8 points including a key treble. Having been called for a brace of early fouls A J Carr had had to sit out virtually all this quarter and most of the opening period but Rockets appeared ready to go to the interval with a 37-34 advantage till the officials called a foul and Leopards hit three form three from the line to tie the scores again, on 37 each as the buzzer sounded with Abdul leading all scorers with 21 of Leopards’ 37 points.

Rockets would need to do a much better job on him in the next two quarters if they wanted to stay in league contention…..and how well they did that as Abdul only scored 6 more points in the remainder of the game. Rockets built from that improved defence and took the third quarter 25-16 to enjoy a little breathing space as 7 of Rockets 9 players scored. Carr was back on court and Mayor hit a treble before he was side-lined with a thigh injury. Leopards smelled an opportunity and levelled on 51 and 53 but a Davis block and a sweet treble from the Academy student Asher Ndah at the very end of the quarter gave Rockets a 62-53 lead.

Leopards hit another treble to start the last quarter whilst Rockets were called for three fouls within 2 minutes of the start of the final period putting added pressure on the Rockets’ players. Potter made a big block and Davis took down a key defensive rebound as Rockets maintained their 9 point advantage at 65-56. But the foul count was 5-1 against Rockets within 3.09 of the quarter start meaning Boho was fouled out . A Leopards treble was matched by a Carr treble but he was called for his fourth and fifth excluding fouls with Mayor having to limp back on court to help defend the lead and ensure Rockets took the victory. Davis made a pair of big stops and Potter was indestructible in the key as he fought for every ball taking down 6 defensive rebounds whilst also being a thorn in Leopards’ side as he also drew fouls including one as he drove to score on the buzzer. Rockets played a superb end game to take the vital win by 81-67.

Top scorers for Rockets were A J Carr with 16 points and 6 rebounds; Nick Richards with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals as Matias Boho also hit 14 points, took down 8 rebounds and made 3 assists as Liam Davis finished with yet another double double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Media@readingrockets.co.uk
Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040
www.readingrockets.co.uk

Details

Date Time League Season
23/11/2019 17:45 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Brentwood

Rockets looking to bounce back from defeat to league leaders

Reading Rockets’ (6-2) six game winning streak came to an end last weekend when they were defeated by current league leaders and reigning NBL Division One champions Solent Kestrels (8-0) by 106 points to 89 but remain in the top three in the division.

The Berkshire outfit will look to return to winning ways this weekend when they take on the leagues basement team Essex and Herts Leopards (0-8) on Saturday evening, 5.45pm tip-off at Oaklands College before travelling to the East Midlands to take on fellow NBL Division One outfit Nottingham Hoods (1-7) in the fourth round of the National Cup on Sunday.

Saturday’s encounter against the Leopards will be the first official game between the two teams this term with a pre-season friendly match-up ending in a Rockets home victory 97-74. The Reading team have already faced Sunday’s National Cup opponents after defeating Nottingham at home 98-85 last month in league play.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane has reflected on Saturday’s loss to Solent but is looking forward to getting back to action this weekend against two teams who’s results don’t reflect the dangers they both pose in his opinion. The Irishman said,

“This weekend we face a vastly improved team in Essex who have had a tough set of results so far but traditionally have started games really well so we need to be wary of this. Their record doesn’t reflect their positive performances and they have a lot of talent on their roster so we will prepare for them like any other team whilst keeping the majority of the focus on ourselves and being the best we can be.”

“Sunday brings a different challenge against a team we have already faced this season in Nottingham who have so far not got the results they probably deserve so again it’s only a matter of time before things start to click for them. We will need to respect them as we would any other team in the league and they have a strong inside presence as well as a lot of firepower from different positions so this will be a heavily focused defensive game for us.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s double header with no new injury concerns and with two games upcoming, Coach Keane will be needing to use his roster with eighty minutes of basketball to play in 24 hours. The Berkshire outfit went out at the fourth round stage of the National Cup last season when they were beaten 76-60 by Manchester Magic so the Reading team will be hoping to put those woes behind them and return to winning ways in the league with an opportunity to record win number nine in ten games post this Sunday.

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

Match Report – Team Solent Kestrels v Reading Rockets

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Team Solent Kestrels104Win
Reading Rockets91Loss

Rockets travelled south to try and take Solent’s very impressive winning streak on their home court where they haven’t lost since January 2018 with a 24 game unbeaten run, coupled to a 19 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Rockets had got close to them at the end of last season with a single point defeat 90-91 and with both teams in great form, a titanic battle was guaranteed.

Rockets were on a 6-0 league winning run and Solent 7-0. Rockets won the tip off and Liam Davis scored their first points quickly answered by Solent’s first score but 9 quick points from Nick Richards and A J Carr saw Rockets enjoy a 13-4 lead. Solent responded with a 14-1 run and it was ‘game on’ . A further brace of trebles from Carr and a crucial block kept Rockets within 2 points of their opposition but a big Solent treble in the last 30 seconds saw the hosts go into the first break with a 28-21 advantage.

Carr again got Rockets firing and with Matias Boho making a 3 point play the scores were quickly level on 28 each. A great delayed pass from Pau Mayor to the fast approaching Richards to score was followed by Carr’s fourth treble of the first half and saw Rockets have a 12-0 run to lead 33-28. Solent came back hard and fast with Elliot Sentance finding it difficult to miss as he hit 19 points before the break giving Solent a smaller lead of 52-47 which would have looked even better for Rockets if he hadn’t struck another buzzer beating treble on the half time hooter. Pau Mayor had stroked a pair of trebles to get Rockets very close but with a 12-5 foul tally against Rockets, the third period was going to be crucial.

Again Rockets scored first after Richards had sent a superb assist to Ben Dixon to stroke a treble, a very tough charge call in Rockets favour was given as a technical foul on Dixon…hard to take in the light of the first half foul count. Rockets re-ignited and David Chive scored both penalty shots having been fouled as he drove to score and then when all Rockets fans screamed for an 8 second back court violation by Solent , the ball went to Solent’s Sentance who hit another treble to compound the irony for Rockets. Soon Rockets found themselves 54-69 down but Boho, Richards and Ed Potter ( twice ) got Rockets to within six points before another buzzer beating treble brought the score to 74 -65 in Solent’s favour.

A Davis inside score, a Dixon finish and a brilliant Davis tip in drew the scores closer before some great floor hustle from Mayor lifted Rockets and Carr scored again. However four trebles in just over a minute by Solent took the game away from Rockets as Solent enjoyed a 15 point lead again at 94-79. A brace of Rockets trebles from Mayor and Carr brought hope but these were matched with the same from the league leaders who hit six trebles in this quarter alone and 14 in the game to take the win 104-91. Sentance had had a truly remarkable game with 40 points including 7 from 9 trebles, a 77% shooting rate but Rockets had given Solent their toughest test of the season to date.

Top scorers were A J Carr with a double double of 28 points and 12 rebounds; Pau Mayor with 13 points including three trebles; Nick Richards with 12 points and 4 steals; Liam Davis with 12 points and 7 rebounds and Ben Dixon with 11 points and 4 assists.

Rockets now travel to Essex on Saturday evening for the first part of a double header weekend before going north to Nottingham Hoods for a National Cup 4th round game.

Details

Date Time League Season
16/11/2019 18:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Solent Sports Complex
E Park Terrace, Southampton SO14, UK