Category: Press Releases

Reading Rockets appoint Alan Keane as Head Coach

 - Communications -
  • New role will see the Irishman lead a new coaching team across the senior men and Rockets Academy
  • Position aimed at bridging the gap between up-and-coming rising stars in the youth teams and the senior squad
  • Keane most recently acted as Assistant Coach for England at the Commonwealth Games

Press Release
14 May 2018

Reading Rockets, one of the leading clubs in the National Basketball League (NBL), has today confirmed the appointment of highly respected Alan Keane as part of a newly established coaching structure within the club.

Keane, who has been part of the Rockets staff since 2016, will move up to take on the role of Head Coach across the club’s senior men’s squad and Rockets Academy, leading a strengthened team.

The 39-year-old Irishman has recently been part of England’s Commonwealth Games efforts, as Assistant Head Coach, while also having held the same role with the Rockets Division 1 men for the past two seasons.

One of the pivotal objectives for Reading Rockets is to recognise and nurture young basketball talent in the region, and to put in place an infrastructure to allow young players to develop their talent.

Alan Keane commented: “This new role within the Rockets family is the ideal next step for my coaching aspirations. Reading Rockets is a club that has allowed me the privilege to work as a full time basketball coach between the John Madejski Academy (Rockets Academy) and the men’s team. I am grateful for that and ready for this exciting new challenge. Having assisted with this team for the past two years, we can be more demanding and have higher expectations with regards to what we expect from the players individually and collectively. I can’t wait to get started.”

Reading Rockets chairman Gary Johnson added: “Alan has proven himself to be a highly valued and respected member of the Rockets family for the past two years, as well as on a national level with his recent Commonwealth Games involvement. I am thrilled and honoured that he has accepted this new position, which we believe will take the club to even greater heights on every level. Bridging the Rockets Academy, which continues to thrive and identify fresh talent from within the community, with the senior men’s squad will give us strength in depth across our impressive field of talent. These are exciting times for the Rockets.”

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511


- Communications -

Press Release
11 May 2018

The recent hot spell may have banished all memories of the snowy conditions that prevailed just a few months ago. For one Reading Rockets parent, the cold snap resulted in a heroic battle to raise invaluable funds for the club’s work in the local community.

Bayley Tustin, professional golf coach and father to one of the Rockets’ U14 boys, trained for months to run the Reading Half Marathon in March, pounding the streets for mile after mile in a bid to support the club.

Having set up a Just Giving page, the contributions were increasing as the big day approached. Then came the snow. Undeterred and despite the arctic conditions, Bayley donned his winter warmers and set off on the 13.1-mile run to fulfil the promise he’d made to the Rockets.

The snow has long since thawed but the fundraising total has continued to grow and has now exceeded £500, money which the Rockets will put back into helping underprivileged young people in the community through the power of basketball.

Reading Rockets Chairman Gary Johnson said: “The dedication and support of our community never ceases to amaze me, but what Bayley has achieved has been truly outstanding. It’s the sort of dogged determination we see and expect from our players on the court, and it’s wonderful to see that transcend to our supporters. Bayley helps us out during Division 1 Men’s games entertaining the crowds on the mic, so it’s our turn to shout about his efforts. The money he has raised will be put to good use in our community, where basketball continues to be an influential catalyst to help young people – and their families – become the best they can be.” 

Bayley Tustin added: “With a passion for running, Reading Rockets, young people playing sport and not always being entirely conventional, I initially wanted to combine these by dribbling a basketball the entire 13.1-mile course. The snow put paid to the basketball but I was determined to complete the course, and raise both awareness and some money for a great cause in helping those less fortunate within our community.” 

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:
Chris Hughes – 07917 352511



 - Communications -

Press Release
4 May 2018

Reading Rockets has today announced that its Division 1 Head Coach, Manuel Peña Garcés, is to leave the club by mutual agreement.

The Spaniard has been at the helm for five years and parts company with the club on good terms.

Rockets most recently reached the semi-finals of the National Basketball League Division 1, where they lost to Hemel Storm.

Reading Rockets Chairman, Gary Johnson, has thanked Peña Garcés for his contribution to the club over the past five seasons: “We part company with Manuel on good terms having enjoyed five solid seasons working together. This has been a mutual decision and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Peña Garcés will remain under contract until the end of July, and reflects on five positive years with the Rockets: We are finishing something really positive this summer and I’m not yet thinking about the future. Thanks to the club, staff, players, supporters and volunteers for making these past five years such a great time. I wish everyone associated with the Rockets all the best.”

Reading Rockets is embarking on an off-season of regroup and growth as it prepares for the exciting next chapter of its 21-year history.

Johnson continued: “The vision for Reading Rockets is very clear: to attain British Basketball League status, and we will now set out a renewed direction for the club, both technically and operationally, to allow us to fulfil this aspiration. Rockets turns 21 in 2018, which is heralding a new era for the club.”

One of the Rockets priority items is to find a permanent venue that meets BBL’s stringent franchise stipulations. That can only be achieved with the support from benefactors, government and the community to identify opportunities and raise the necessary funds to make the Rockets BBL vision a reality.

“We recognise the hurdles we have to overcome, which lie most urgently and importantly in finding a permanent home for the Reading Rockets,” concluded Gary Johnson. “Only from such a venue, can we truly showcase basketball in our region in a representative manner, fitting of BBL status. There is a lot of work to do, but we remain committed to meet our ambitious goals and to put Reading on the international basketball map.”

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:
Chris Hughes – 07917 352511

Rockets in seventh heaven as they aim for top four finish in final weekend of the regular season

Reading Rockets (15-7) will be looking to secure a top four finish in NBL Division One this weekend when they travel to the north for their final regular season games as they face rivals Team Northumbria (15-7) on Saturday afternoon (4pm tip-off) before matching up against the league’s basement team Lancashire Spinners (0-22) on Sunday afternoon (3.45pm tip-off). Rockets secured their seventh victory on the spin last weekend when they defeated league leaders Team Solent Kestrels, claiming a hard fought 78-66 victory to put themselves in contention for a third place finish. If Rockets finish the season with an equal number of wins as Northumbria and Worthing, they have the head to head over Worthing, who are currently fifth placed (14-=8). The Reading team would need to beat Lancashire Spinners on Sunday should Saturday’s affair not go their way to make sure of a top four finish and a home tie in the quarter-finals of the play-offs, scheduled for Sunday 8th April.

Rockets have faced both opponents at home already this season in league play securing victories on each occasion. The Reading outfit captured an 84-72 win most recently over Team Northumbria and also comfortably beat Lancashire Spinners 107-67 back in January but face a tough final league double header this coming weekend.

Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was really pleased to see his team chalk up win number seven in a row as well as deliver a much improved performance but knows this will mean nothing should his team falter during the final weekend of the regular season. The Spanish play-caller said,

I am really happy with last weekend’s win against Solent and the players put in a much better performance than in some of our recent successes so this is very positive for us heading into this weekend’s tough double header. Defensively, we were a lot better but know that this can improve further with more work needed on offence for us to really maximise our potential.

Whilst it is a positive time for us, it is important that we now focus on our game against a very good Team Northumbria this Saturday before we look ahead to Sunday. Sports Central has always been a difficult place to get a win and none more so this weekend with third place on the line for both teams. Preparation for this game will be crucial and if we are able to keep working on being the best version of ourselves and deliver what we know we are capable of then there is no reason why we can’t secure the all important win. We know the talent Coach Mark’s (Steutel, Team Northumbria Head Coach) roster has and there is no doubt he will have them ready to play as he has done so well in past end of seasons. An exciting time and we will be ready!

Rockets go into this weekend’s crunch double header with no current injury concerns: however the Under 18 duo of Adrian Nosa Castillo and Iñigo Perez Baena both remain out of action with injury and games themselves. The Reading team could make it nine consecutive wins to finish their campaign and be a real threat in the play-offs as they look to pick up their first piece of silverware in almost four years.

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


TIP time for this weekends match


This weekend’s top of the table clash against league leaders Team Solent Kestrels at Bohunt School, Arborfield RG2 9ND has necessarily been brought forward to Rockets’ regular tip time of 5pm (not 7pm as previously announced).

Reading Rockets v Team Solent Kestrels

Reading Rockets vs Team Solent Kestrels

NBL Division 1