Category: Press Releases

Rockets to take on Liverpool as fight for top four heats up

Reading Rockets (11-5) will be looking to use last Sunday’s National Cup semi-final victory as a springboard in the league when they host Liverpool (2-14) on Sunday afternoon, 15:30pm tip-off at Rivermead in Round 17 of the regular season. Rockets defeated NBL Division Two outfit Myerscough College last weekend, running out 78-59 winners to secure their place in next month’s National Cup final where they will face unbeaten league leaders Solent Kestrels.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased to see his team reach their first final during his tenure but is fully focused on next Sunday’s match-up with Liverpool. The Irishman said,

“It is great for our club to be back in a national final and I am delighted for our fans and everyone associated with the team that we will have the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in an historic competition.”

“Attention now must to turn Sunday’s game against Liverpool who have been really unfortunate with their run of results so far this season and with a lot of changes to their roster. Their recent games against Worthing and Hemel shows they are well up for the fight to stay in the division having being tied with one of the best teams in the league right at the end of the game so we will need to be fully prepared for what they will bring to us because they still have a very talented team.”

Sunday’s meeting will be the second of the season between the two sides with the Reading team securing a hard fought away win back in November 86-90. Liverpool’s only successes to date have been against Barking and Bradford with only Essex and Herts securing less wins than the Merseyside outfit.

Rockets go into Sunday’s clash with Liverpool having added to their roster. 6’5 British Forward Leome Francis has joined the Berkshire outfit on a short term deal having signed from NBL Division Three outfit Northamptonshire Titans. The 29 year old has had spells at Hemel Storm, Derby Trailblazers, and Leicester Warriors and joins the Rockets after the loss of American AJ Carr due to a season ending hand injury. Francis has been training with the team over the last few weeks and has put pen to paper ahead of the transfer deadline on 31st January.

Australian Ben Dixon will also be back in action this Sunday after returning from his native country so Coach Keane should have a fully fit and available squad to select from boosted by positive performances from academy players Asher Ndah and Kivuvu Live in Sunday’s cup triumph over Myerscough.

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

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

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Myerscough College – National Cup Semi Final

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Reading Rockets77Win
Myerscough College58Loss

Rockets reached their first final in 4 years after reaching the Div.1 Play-off championship and National Trophy semi-finals in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively.

Despite being without the services of Sam Grant ( long term back injury) coupled to the absence of Rockets Australian guard Ben Dixon, (back home at his brother’s wedding) , Rockets eased themselves into the final with speed of transition causing Myerscough to turn the ball over too much and Rockets capitalising with 35 points from this source alone. With a comfortable lead in the initial three periods, Coach Keane gave his 6 academy players much court time in the final quarter as they gain experience for the final on Sun 2nd Feb at Essex University with a 3.30 pm tip. Rockets couldn’t complete the transfer of their new recruit before the game but he’ll be registered for next week’s Sunday Rivermead game against Liverpool. Which tips at 3.30 pm.

Liam Davis scored Rockets first points with a left handed hook before Pau Mayor finished with a lay-up . Nick Richards began his usual up beat tempo with a fine drive and score, also drawing the foul and making it a 3 point play. Matias Boho took an assist from Richards to stroke a treble from the top of the key and see Rockets enjoy a lead of 16-8 before Coach Keane introduced Ross Stepney and Asher Ndal onto court and seeing Rockets go to the first break with a 22-16 advantage.

Richards and Ndah were the high personal points contributors of the second period with 8 and 7 points respectively with 17 yo Ndah hitting an impressive treble and making another three point play as he was fouled in scoring and then hit the penalty shot too. Rockets had quickly moved to a 36-18 lead before Richards finished with a tip in after rising high and mighty above the opposition. Another academy player, Kivuvu Live, made his debut appearance at Rivermead and soon hit a jump shot to score . Rockets captain, Ed Potter, was leading by example by taking a charge but Rockets thirteen steals showed the main difference between the teams at the interval with Rockets 46-28 ahead.

Myerscough scored first after Rockets missed on their opening possession but it was back to normal service as Richards made yet another steal and then sent an assist to Boho to score. Davis hit a pair from the free throw line as Rockets reached 50 points with a 20 point lead. Mayor and Richards hit trebles whilst Potter worked tirelessly under the basket to score seven personal points as Rockets went into the final quarter 65 – 37 ahead.

Again Myerscough scored first and had a 7-3 run interrupted only as David Chive banked a treble. Kivuvu played well on his debut and hit six more points in this quarter though Myerscough took the opportunity as Coach Keane rested all his senior players and took the final quarter 21-12 . A Kivuvu dish to Chive was one of the highlights of this period as the future looks promising for Rockets academy players as they are such an integral part of Rockets Seniors and seek to further develop themselves at the highest level in English basketball. The final score was 77 -58 though the primary goal was a fine victory and cup final place, something the team delivered and deserved.

Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 16 pts, 6 assists and 4 steals as Matias Boho hit 13 pts, took down 5 rebounds and made 3 steals. Captain Ed Potter was also in double figures as he hit 10 pts and took down 7 rebounds though watching the development of the academy players remains a great joy for the Rockets leadership team and the supporters.

Details

Date Time League Season
19/01/2020 17:00 National Cup 2019 / 2020

Venue

Rivermead
24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

Rockets to face Myerscough in National Cup semi-final

NBL Division One play-off contenders Reading Rockets will host Division Two front runners Myerscough College on Sunday afternoon in the National Cup semi-final, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex.

The visitors to Reading beat Westminster Warriors at the quarter-final stage having also claimed a second Division One scalp in Liverpool prior to sealing their place in the last four. Rockets path to the semi-final stage has included wins over Essex and Herts Leopards, Nottingham Wildcats (both Division One), and Team Birmingham Elite. Sunday’s match-up between the two teams will be the first ever game at senior level with a place in the National Cup final at stake against either NBL Division One leaders Solent Kestrels or Loughborough Riders.

Speaking after last weekend’s split league games and ahead of this Sunday’s winner takes all contest, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was disappointed to lose Sunday’s game against Thames Valley Cavaliers but is looking forward to this weekend’s Cup game against Myerscough. He said,

“Last weekend was a bit of a mixed bag for us having split the games against Nottingham and Thames Valley. Saturday’s performance was a very positive one and it was good to get another win on the board but as a collective we are disappointed with our second half performance in Sunday’s loss to a very good Thames Valley outfit.”

“However, the beauty of sport is you move on quickly and look ahead to your next challenge and this is exactly what we will do in preparation for the visit of Myerscough. National Cup games are always exciting affairs and this one will be no exception with Neil (Hopkins, Head Coach Myerscough College) doing a fantastic job getting his team through the leagues and to this stage in their short history.”

“We will be hoping that there is no ‘cup upset’ on Sunday and that we can reward our hard work this season by advancing to the final but we know there are no guarantees and we are going to have to be thoroughly prepared and on our A-game if we are to advance.”

Rockets go into Sunday’s without the services of shooting guard Ben Dixon who is returning to Australia for the week for personal reasons. The 26 year old has been ever-present this season and is one of Coach Keane’s leading defenders. It means that the Reading team will call upon their youth to bolster their attack behind seniors Nick Richards, Liam Davis, Pau Mayor, Ed Potter, and Matias Boho. Regular starter / sixth man David Chive should be available for selection but Sam Grant will miss out with an on-going back problem. Kelsey Espeut, Asher Ndah and David Obediah will be available for selection with Ross Stepney and James Jolly likely to get the call up as the Rockets go in search of their first final in four years, the longest spell in their history.

Ahead of Sunday’s National Cup semi-final why not 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
www.readingrockets.co.uk

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Thames Valley Cavaliers

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Reading Rockets81Loss
Thames Valley Cavaliers101Win

Having returned to Reading at 1 am after victory away to Nottingham Hoods the evening before, the fourth and final quarter was a quarter too far for the Rockets as they lost it 32-20 and so the league game, though maintain their third place spot as they’ve played more games.

Pau Mayor stroked Rockets first treble to get the home team on the scoreboard which he followed up with another score but the visitors were also in good form and levelled on 14 and 16 before Richards finished the period with six quick points from an assist from Mayor , a pull up jump shot and a steal from which he not only scored but drew the foul and turned it into a three point play giving Rockets a single score advantage of 25-22.

Mayor extended his personal tally and David Chive gave an assist to Liam Davis to score inside before Davis hit a long shot. However Cavaliers found their length from beyond the arc as they stroked three trebles in a most competitive quarter. Good team work saw the ball move swiftly between Davis to Richards who returned the favour and Davis slammed the ball into the basket. Mayor and Davis were secure form the free throw line and enjoyed a 39-31 lead midway through the period. A Richards coast to coast score and another Davis slam off more great Rockets team work was answered in a 16-6 Cavaliers finish seeing Rockets trail 45-47 at the interval.

Nearly all the stats were very even at the break but the bigger Cavaliers soon began to influence the boards at both ends and they also finished more effectively with second chance points. The third quarter began with the officials prominent with technical and unsportsmanlike fouls though the game was not a dirty affair at all. Captain Ed Potter scored off an offensive rebound as the scores remained very close at 56-58 but a 10-5 Cavaliers finish saw them lead 68-61 into the final period. Despite Richards stopping the rot as Rockets passes went astray and they couldn’t finish around the basket.

Richards started the fourth quarter as he finished the third with a crucial score as Rockets fought to stay in touch with the sharp shooting London based team. A Mayor lay-up and a Ben Dixon treble saw the score at 70-74 within three minutes of the resumption but Rockets looked somewhat jaded in the last seven minutes as Cavaliers converted on virtually every foray into Rockets half whilst Rockets lost their finishing touch as Cavaliers again had a positive finish with a 26-11 run to take the win 100-81.

Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 25 pts, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals. Liam Davis hit a double double with 19 pts, and 10 rebounds and Pau Mayor continued his influence with 18 pts and 3 assists with Matias Boho hitting 12 pts

Liam Davis was Nando’s Player of the Game

Details

Date Time League Season
12/01/2020 17:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Rivermead
24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

Match Report – Nottingham Hoods v Reading Rockets

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Nottingham Hoods67Loss
Reading Rockets97Win

In a very high tempo affair in the East Midlands Rockets performed well without the services of Sam Grant ( slipped discs ) and not having yet replaced the ‘out for the season’ A J Carr as they travelled north with just 10 players. Rockets had beaten Hoods at home in late October by 98 – 85 and secured a single point win in the National Cup in Nottingham by 78 -77 in late November but this was a stunning performance by Rockets as they overcame Hoods with a 30 point victory that looked secure after the opening quarter 33 – 12 blitz.

Rockets won the tip and Ben Dixon stroked the first of his three trebles before Matias Boho maintained his significant improvement with a stop and a treble as seven of Rockets players all scored in the first six minutes of the game as they opened up a double digit lead at 20-10. Liam Davis was strong on the boards and scored well inside the paint and with his trade mark pull up jump shots too. Nick Richards drove to score before he sent his assists around the arc for Ed Potter to finish which was only bettered when Potter waited for Richards to arrive high and at speed for Richards to score with a great slam and bring the travelling supporters to their feet. Potter worked tirelessly around the boards and was rewarded with seven personal points in the opening period which Rockets won 33-12.

Thinking ahead to the following day’s game , Head Coach Alan Keane was looking for every opportunity to rest his six senior players releasing the academy players with much court time. Keane began the second quarter with three seniors on the bench and it was a delight to see David Obediah give an assist to Richards before Richards gave Dixon an assist for Dixon’s second treble before Boho was the recipient of yet another Richards assist as he sank yet another treble and Rockets had a twenty point lead at 42-22. Davis continued to score inside and then finished a fine Rockets move with a huge slam dunk. Rockets defence was also exemplified by Dixon as the Aussie raced back to make a steal and stop a Hoods score. With just 17 seconds before the interval Pau Mayor brought the ball up court before making a fast drive to the basket where he scored, was fouled and hit the penalty shot to see Rockets with a 53-26 advantage.

Rockets speed of offence caused Hoods much trouble and though Hoods took the third quarter by 25-22 with a 6-0 finishing run, Rockets still enjoyed a 75-51 lead going into the final period. Dixon had his purple patch with seven personal points whilst Potter caused trouble around the basket as he hit six more points including one play where he made three fake moves before scoring under the basket.

With a long return journey ahead (not returning to Reading till 1 am) the players and coaching team wanted to continue the high tempo. This they did as David Chive stroked a treble as did Mayor , Davis continued his dominance inside the paint and another academy player, Asher Ndah continued his development with nearly 19 minutes court time and a score off a offensive rebound. Dixon scored off a fast Rockets break before Coach Keane rested all his starting five. 18 year old Kelsey Espeut got his debut court time experience with an assist to his captain Potter before Mayor hit Rockets last 5 points to seal a very good team performance and crucial win on the road with a thirty point victory 97-67.

Top scorers for Rockets were Liam Davis with a double double of 20 pts and 11 rebounds as all Rockets six seniors turned in double digit scores for the first time this season. Ben Dixon and Ed Potter hit 15 pts apiece with Pau Mayor having 13 pts and Nick Richards 12 pts.

Details

Date Time League Season
11/01/2020 19:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Nottingham Wildcat Arena
Greenwood Rd, Nottingham NG3 7EB, UK