Reading Rockets (1-1) recorded their first victory of the 2017-18 campaign last weekend when they defeated Worthing Thunder (0-2) by 80 points to 61 to send them into their first league outing on a winning note. The Berkshire outfit will make the long trip to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon (4pm tip-off) to take on the league’s newest outfit in Team Newcastle University (1-1). The north east organisation were promoted as play-off champions from Division Two last term and joined league victors Kent Crusaders in England’s top tier this season. They have started life splitting their opening two games having won on the road at Bradford Dragons by 73 points to 70 before coming unstuck against Division One holders Team Northumbria going down 66-82 and having the same record as their visitors on Sunday.
Having watched his team come from 16 points down last weekend, Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés believes his team showed a lot of resilience during last Saturday’s victory but knows there is a vast amount of improvement needed if his team are to challenge for honours this term. In preparation for Rockets’ first league game of the campaign the Rockets play-caller said,
Rockets go into Sunday’s first NBL Division One game with no injury concerns. Captain Danny Carter picked up a slight knock in Saturday’s win over Worthing but will almost certainly feature during Sunday’s match-up. Last weekend’s only absentee was Under 18 point guard Iñigo Perez Baena who was ruled out with a dead leg but he also looks set to return to the fold in time for this weekend. The Reading team will be hoping to start the league season better than last time out when they lost three of their opening four games before going on a 19 game winning streak and the challenge for Coach Peña Garcés’ team will be to try to keep up the pace at the right end of the table where the Rockets have been for many seasons.
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Feature image courtesy: Mirror Box Studios