Category: Press Releases

Rockets to face first double header of the year after taking opening win of 2019

Reading Rockets (8-4) will look to continue their unbeaten start to 2019 when they travel to the East Midlands on Saturday evening to take on the Derby Trailblazers (7-6) (7.15pm tip-off) before entertaining second-placed Worthing Thunder (10-3) on Sunday afternoon at Rivermead Leisure Complex (5pm tip-off).

Rockets were victorious in their first outing of the New Year as they recorded a hard fought, coming from behind, win over basement team Manchester Magic 98-87. The Berkshire outfit will play both opponents for the second time in regular season play however were on the wrong side of both scorelines in previous encounters as the Trailblazers took an invaluable 94-84 win away from Reading at the beginning of October whilst the Thunder recorded an 86-79 victory on the south coast the following week as the Reading team started their NBL Division One campaign 0-2.

Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased to get back to winning ways after the turn of the year but knows how important it is to now focus on this weekend’s two match-ups. He said,

“Travelling to Derby is always tough. They are a very talented team with a lot of scoring power especially inside from Malcolm Smith. Double header weekends have been difficult for us as we are a very young team with many junior players. However we are growing week to week. Therefore this double header weekend will be another great opportunity to continue the growing process. Worthing come to us Sunday in flying form and a lot of veteran players, with any one of them capable to score 30 points. We will have a great week of preparation and look forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s double header with the knowledge they have also qualified for the semi-finals of the National Trophy thanks to Hemel Storm overcoming Essex Leopards last Sunday. The Berkshire club have also won eight out of the last ten Division One games and will be keen to make a statement this weekend against two play-off contenders.

Captain Danny Carter remains the only injury concern for the Reading team with his on-going back issues and is listed as day to day by the Rockets physiotherapy team. 16 year old Academy star Sam Grant made a huge impact in last Saturday’s win away at Manchester and Coach Keane will look to his academy players once more as the Berkshire outfit look to continue their surge up the Division One table.

Manchester Magic v Reading Rockets – Match Report



Manchester Magic87Loss
Reading Rockets98Win

The first game of 2019 began with Rockets needing some fire and the players looking as though the Christmas pudding had stopped them from getting off the floor and taking rebounds as Magic took down and commanded  the boards, storming into a 17-17 early lead which they extended to 33-19 by the first break. Four trebles and a 3 point play were some of the extent of Magic’s superiority.

With Rockets finding themselves 19-38 down midway through the second quarter, Head Coach Alan Keane had to change many things and personnel switches. These proved most successful as Rockets roared into life taking the second period 24-19 and looking more in the game. A J Carr had proved a handful for Magic as he hit 12 personal points and Trae Pemberton was finding more space but the final play before half time saw Sydney Donaldson receive the inbounded ball as the clock showed less than 10 seconds, used up the time close to the buzzer before driving to score, drawing the foul and

 hitting the penalty shot to lift Rockets as they had a skip in their steps as they walked to the changing room just 11 points adrift with the score 43-54.

The 3 week lay-off was now something of the long past as Rockets powered into the third quarter taking it 30-18 to take a single digit lead at 73-72. Two of Rockets young Academy players were very influential as Sam Grant stroked a brace of trebles and scored with a jump shot whilst Arinze Emeka- Anyakwo made steals, defended the boards well and hit five personal points. Pemberton had found his length and hit three trebles and a pair of floaters to score 13 personal points and help lift Rockets further even with the big American Carr spending much time on the bench with 4 fouls.

A 25-15 final period saw Rockets secure another victory 98 to 87 and lift them to third in the league ahead of the visit of south coast rivals and current second placed Worthing Thunder to Rivermead next Sunday 13th Jan. Magic hit three trebles to stay in contention throughout the fourth quarter but Pemberton was imperious with another eleven point quarter haul coupled to crucial rebounding and steals. Emeka-Anyakwo scored ten personal points and took down a pair of key defensive rebounds as Rockets began to look forward to the 200 mile return journey secure in the knowledge they’re still in the chasing pack seeking the league title.

Top scorers for Rockets were Trae Pemberton with 34 pts.,6 rebounds and 5 steals with Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo hitting 15 pts., taking down 4 rebounds and making 3 steals and A J Carr with 14 pts., and 4 assists plus Sam Grant with his first. 8pts Senior haul and taking down 3 rebounds and making a steal in an impressive forward for the 16 yo who had played a junior Men game some 6 hours earlier in the day and arrived just an hour before tip….surely a game and weekend to remember for Grant.


Date Time League Season
05/01/2019 18:30 NBL Division 1 2018 / 2019


Amaechi BC
226 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester, Manchester M16 8GN, UK

Mixed weekend for Rockets Men


Reading Rockets101Win
Loughborough Student Riders86Loss

After a great performance in an upbeat game against second in the table L’boro on Saturday, Rockets trailed an Essex Leopards team for most of Sundays last league game of 2018.

On Saturday, Rockets were the first of the three chasing teams in the top half of the table to take a victory from one of the top three who each lost on Saturday night, including the first loss for Solent showing this a most competitive of leagues this season.

American guard Trae Pemberton ignited Rockets with a brace of trebles and captain Danny Carter hit a pair from the penalty stripe as Rockets began with an 8-0 run.  Adrian O’Sullivan stroked a treble and A J  Carr imposed himself as Rockets had a 5 point advantage at the first break at 24-19 against L’boro.

Carter worked tirelessly inside scores 13 pts and  Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane saw 5 other players total another 20 pts as Rockets enjoyed a double digit lead of 57-46 at the interval. A fine 14-0 run from  28-25 to 42-25 midway through quarter eased Rockets further ahead before L’boro hit three trebles and had a 3 point play to cut the deficit before Carr sent an arrow pass to Carter and 16 yo Sam Grant stroked his first treble. Rockets took their first time out at 51-40 and Sydney Donaldson hit what seemed an impossible shot wide out and on the buzzer as he was falling backwards giving Rockets a 57-46 at interval lead as Carter, Pemberton and Carr had personal tallies of 15,14 and 13 respectively.

A powerful third period saw Rockets take it 25-18 and see them with an 82-64 advantage as the three guys causing L’boro most trouble continued imposing themselves and O’Sullivan ( injured last weekend and trained little this week ) drove to score, hit one from two from the line, sent an assist to Pemberton form off the floor and stroked a treble as he got more into the game.

Young Grant was clearly enjoying extended court time and took down a key defensive rebound after L’boro tried three times to score. Recognising Rockets had another big game on Sunday Keane was not only rotating his five experienced players with his Academy youngsters but with such a comfortable lead against the team that were second in the league at tip, with a 21 point lead, all the Academy players played together for the last 3-4 minutes as Rockets secured a key victory at 101-86.

Tops corers for Rockets were Pemberton with 25pts and 6 rebounds, Carter 23 pts., and 7 rebounds and 5 assists with Carr hitting 20 pts., and having 8 rebounds. Two other players hit double figures as O’Sullivan hit 12 and Grant 10 pts.


Reading Rockets90Loss
Essex Leopards101Win

Then on Sunday the first 2 quarters scores were close to Saturdays except Rockets were on the receiving end as they found themselves 18-25 and 45-56 adrift. The intensity and energy that had permiated Rockets on Saturday was not apparent as Leopards kept a fast pace and clinical finishing. Rockets sole lead was at 39-37 during a purple patch in the second period as A J Carr stroked 3 trebles and Trae Pemberton also scored to draw the scores level on 36 before 16 yo David Chive scored with a treble. But that’s as good as it got before the break as Rockets trailed 45-56 .

At the start of the third period there was encouragement to Rockets supporters as Sydney Donaldson and  Carr stroked trebles with Pemberton scoring with a floater in an 8-0 run and within a single score of Leopards at 53-56. Rockets got even closer when they tied the game on 67, 69 and 71 but a huge treble on the buzzer from just inside Rockets half brought delight to Leopards as they still held a lead though now just 74-71.

The euphoria of the third quarter effort slipped to disappointment for Rockets supporters as Leopards kept coming at them, and again hitting three trebles in the final period sapping the energy and effort of the Rockets though captain Danny Carter did his level best as he hit eleven points in the quarter but Leopards took another victory over Rockets by 101-90.

Top scorers for Rockets were Pemberton with 25, Carr with 22, Carter with 15 and Donaldson with 11.

Rockets now have a near 3 week break till 5th Jan when they travel north to Manchester to take on Magic.

Match Report Nottingham McDonalds Hoods v Reading Rockets



Nottingham Hoods71Loss
Reading Rockets76Win

In not the prettiest of games littered with too many mistakes for Head Coach Alan Keane, Rockets grinded out a fine victory away to mid table Hoods. Rockets got off to a good start with an 11-4 opening five minutes as Sydney Donaldson imposed with his determined drives, A J Carr did what it says on the tin…rebounds and scores inside, whilst captain Danny Carter controlled the defensive boards. Hoods took a time-out and went on a 17-4 run to ease ahead 21-15. Both teams hit their only trebles of the first half and Hoods kept their advantage at four points at 35-31 at the interval.

The early exchanges in the third quarter saw both teams keeping tabs on each other but Hoods maintaining their four point lead until a steal, coast to coast and finish from Trae Pemberton turned the heat up and Rockets went on a 11-0 run to lead by 49-44. More excellent team play saw Academy student Arinze Emeka- Anyakwo swish a treble from the top of the key but again Hoods fought back and hit four free throws to see the period end in Rockets’ favour at 56-52.

Another Academy player making his way in the top English league stroked a treble quickly followed by Adrian O’Sullivan’s first treble of the game to have a double digit advantage at 63-53. However Hoods Mayer who hadn’t scored in the first twenty minutes of his court time, came alive with four consecutive trebles to draw the scores level on 65 as Rockets lost point guard O’Sullivan who received four minutes treatment on court as he’d been wiped out as he drove to score. Being unable to continue 16 year old David Chive stepped up to the line and scored from both the free throws. Hoods kept pace with Rockets at level on 67 and 69 with 1.59 remaining. Rockets experienced players stepped up to the mark in the end game scenario taking down defensive rebounds, driving and drawing fouls, using the clock wisely to keep control and finish with a 7-2 run to move up the league with another victory at 76-71.

Top scorers for Rockets were A J Carr with 22 points, Trae Pemberton with 16 points, and Sydney Donaldson with 15 points.


Date Time League Season
08/12/2018 19:30 NBL Division 1 2018 / 2019


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

Rockets look to bounce back after double defeats last weekend

Coach Keane’s men were defeated 86-75 in NBL Division One Men v Solent and 85-69 in the National Trophy v Essex Leopards as their four game win streak came to an abrupt end.

Captain Danny Carter is struggling with a back injury but still tried his hardest to secure a semi-final spot in the Trophy which now will be down to the last pool game in early January when Hemel Storm play Leopards. Depending on the result of that game, the pool is likely to be decided on points difference so it’s out of Rockets hands now.

Rockets take on Barking Abbey Crusaders in NBL Division One Men on Sunday 2nd December, 5pm tip-off as they look to bounce back and maintain a push for a top four finish in this most competitive of leagues where it appears any team can take each other’s scalp on any weekend,  other than maybe Solent  who look down on all the other teams form their lofty perch in top spot and a 9-0 record.

The Reading team currently lie in seventh place with four wins and three losses whilst Barking sit in tenth position with a record of 2-5

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season with Barking back in NBL Division One Men after a year’s absence

The last meeting between the two teams was in the National Cup two seasons ago when the then NBL Division Two outfit Kent Crusaders caused a cup upset defeating the Rockets 92-83 in the quarter-finals

Assistant Coach Josh Thorne:

“Next weekend is a very important weekend for us. After two losses this weekend we have to have a strong week and continue to grow together and build on our development areas. Our focus remains on ourselves but we will be aware of the threat a young, vibrant Barking team will pose.”