Reading Rockets (13-10) will be looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s high scoring defeat at the hands of Hemel Storm (10-13) when they travel to the Midlands to take on Loughborough Riders (15-7) on Saturday evening (6pm tip-off) before returning home to host Team Newcastle (6-17) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex.
The Berkshire outfit succumbed to their tenth league defeat of the season losing 121-116 at Hemel Leisure Centre but take on two teams they have beaten in league play already this season. The Reading team beat the Riders 101-86 just before the Christmas break and defeated Sunday’s visitors 112-105 last month in Newcastle after overtime. Rockets did however lose to Loughborough in the National Trophy semi-final in January, suffering a 66-91 home defeat that day.
Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is looking forward to next weekend’s double header as the regular season draws to a close but knows his team will face two tough encounters ahead of them. He said,
“Coming off a very high scoring loss and heading into next weeks double header we will travel to Loughborough on Saturday feeling if we can lock into to what we plan to deliver defensively then we feel we can beat any team in this league. However it is not that simple. Loughborough who we split two games with already will be a handful to defend as they have threats in multiple positions. Sunday we welcome Newcastle to the Rivermead who are coming off a recent impressive win against Essex. The away fixture took us to overtime to get over the line against them. We are very aware of both teams strengths and weaknesses, it is a matter of us needing to execute the game plan to it’s full extent.”
Rockets go into this weekend’s final double header of the 2018-2019 season with a fully fit roster but are likely to be without the services of Captain Danny Carter for one of this weekend’s games. With the 30 year old retiring at the end of the season and managing an on going back complaint, the 6’9 forward is unable to play back to back games so Coach Keane will manage this accordingly and Carter will be a game time decision on Saturday evening. With only three games remaining, it is feasible the Berkshire outfit could finish anywhere between third and tenth in the NBL Division One table so wins this weekend will guarantee a play-off spot and boost Reading’s league position which is currently sixth.