League title hots up as Rockets face test against play-off chasing Spinners

Reading Rockets (17-3) will take their 16 game winning streak up north this weekend as they take on Lancashire Spinners (6-13) on Saturday evening at Myerscough College (5.45pm tip-off). Rockets won games 15 and 16 on the bounce as they defeated Leicester Warriors (7-14) last Saturday afternoon by 82 points to 73 before returning home to see off London Lituanica (8-11) on Sunday winning the game 105-69 to keep the heat on league leaders Team Northumbria (19-3) who had a huge away win against fellow title-chasing rivals Manchester Magic (15-4) to continue to lead the way at the top of NBL Division One. Saturday’s opponents for the Berkshire outfit secured an important away win against fourth placed side Derby Trailblazers (13-6) as the Lancashire team came away from the East Midlands with a one point overtime win, 99-98, to keep their feint play-off hopes alive. The two teams have met once this season back in November in league play and the Rockets came out on top with a 96-73 scoreline in their favour, a feat they will be hoping to repeat this weekend.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garces remains firmly focused on the next game despite talk of a potential title challenge and knows that each of the remaining six games for the Berkshire team presents their own challenges. After seeing his team notch up two more wins and ahead of the long trip to the north this weekend the Spaniard said,

“I am really pleased we were able to record another two wins against two tough, physical teams. This pleases me and keeps our run and confidence going as we head into the next game against Lancashire. We are aware of what is happening in the league, it would be silly to suggest otherwise, but what is important for us is to keep taking our season game by game and focusing on the next job we have to complete and that is exactly what we are doing day by day, week by week. Complacency is often a word thrown around in sport when teams experience winning and success but I remind us all that we have not won anything yet and the hardest work is still to come.”

“On Saturday we face a tough trip to Lancashire and it has been a difficult place to go and win and off the back of their win against Derby and the fact they are still in the hunt for the play-offs, they will undoubtably be ready. Providing we keep preparing as we have, continue to work hard and make tweaks in practice, and focus on the task ahead, we have the potential to pick up another win and obviously that is our intention with a better performance each time.”

Rockets will go into Saturday’s game with a number of injury concerns to their bench. Joel Keeble is still three to four weeks away from a return but it’s injuries to academy duo Bikram Rana and Fidel Gomez De Enterria Lopez that are the main concerns for the Reading outfit with both picking up ankle problems in the last ten days and look set to be on the sidelines for at least 2-4 weeks leaving the Berkshire side short of cover and problems for the club’s EABL and Under 18 teams. That said, with both missing Sunday’s win against London Lituanica, and with the momentum firmly in the Rockets favour, the team will be hoping to keep up the pace at the top of the league with a potential championship showdown on 18th March against Team Northumbria who have only four more games to play this term.

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