Rockets face league and cup double header

Reading Rockets (1-0) will be looking to build on Sunday’s narrow win against Team Newcastle University (0-1) when they take on Hemel Storm (0-0) in league play on Saturday afternoon (5pm tip-off at Bohunt School) before entering the National Cup for the first time this season at the third round stage when they travel to the Capital to take on Lithuanian outfit BC Medelynas on Sunday afternoon. The Reading team started out positively in NBL Division One as they recorded a nail-biting 72-68 win on the road without the services of captain Danny Carter who has been side-lined once through injury.

Saturday’s opponents Hemel Storm have split their opening National Trophy games, beating Leicester Warriors but losing out to Loughborough Student Riders and will be looking to get off to a similar start to the Rockets after their opening day win. National Cup opposition BC Medelynas have had wins in rounds one and two against Oxford Steelers and Swindon Shock respectively and have also been victorious in their opening league game in Division Four. The winners of the tie will go through to the 4th round to host either NBL Division Four outfit Cardiff City or NBL Division One rivals Worthing Thunder.

In speaking after his team’s long trip to the north and in preparation for this weekend’s double header match-ups, Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was pleased his side eventually managed to chalk up their first win especially without the services of captain Danny Carter but knows more work is needed if his side are to compete with the top teams in the division. The Spaniard said,

Sunday’s game was a good opening one for us after a long journey and against a new team in the league hungry to impress so to come away with a decent performance and a win despite DC (Danny Carter) not playing is a positive for us. We will review this game because we were in control for many parts and then let it slip but then attention will move on to this weekend’s match-ups in Hemel and BC Medelynas.
Both games this weekend will provide us with different challenges. Hemel really do look like they could be a threat this season with the majority of their squad returning and adding some really good talent to their roster. Coach Youngblood’s teams are always ready to do battle and I am sure they will want to start their league campaign with a win. Sunday is one of those typical cup games, the higher placed team only has everything to lose so we will just need to finish Saturday’s game whatever the outcome and prepare as normal for Sunday’s game as we look to take care of business and move on to the next round.

Rockets go into their two-game weekend uncertain if captain Danny Carter will return to action. The 6’9 forward has a groin / hip injury and wasn’t even allowed to travel to Newcastle last weekend so it will be touch and go if the 29 year old will suit up this weekend for the Reading team. A sickness team hit a couple of players over the last 4/5 days so Rockets are hoping that is now over and hasn’t any effect for the tough double header ahead. The Berkshire outfit made it through last weekend’s game without any additional injury worries so will be looking to build on their opening day win when they open up their home league campaign at their second home of Bohunt School in Wokingham.

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Feature image courtesy: Mirror Box Studios