NBL Division One play-off contenders Reading Rockets will host Division Two front runners Myerscough College on Sunday afternoon in the National Cup semi-final, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex.
The visitors to Reading beat Westminster Warriors at the quarter-final stage having also claimed a second Division One scalp in Liverpool prior to sealing their place in the last four. Rockets path to the semi-final stage has included wins over Essex and Herts Leopards, Nottingham Wildcats (both Division One), and Team Birmingham Elite. Sunday’s match-up between the two teams will be the first ever game at senior level with a place in the National Cup final at stake against either NBL Division One leaders Solent Kestrels or Loughborough Riders.
Speaking after last weekend’s split league games and ahead of this Sunday’s winner takes all contest, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was disappointed to lose Sunday’s game against Thames Valley Cavaliers but is looking forward to this weekend’s Cup game against Myerscough. He said,
“Last weekend was a bit of a mixed bag for us having split the games against Nottingham and Thames Valley. Saturday’s performance was a very positive one and it was good to get another win on the board but as a collective we are disappointed with our second half performance in Sunday’s loss to a very good Thames Valley outfit.”
“However, the beauty of sport is you move on quickly and look ahead to your next challenge and this is exactly what we will do in preparation for the visit of Myerscough. National Cup games are always exciting affairs and this one will be no exception with Neil (Hopkins, Head Coach Myerscough College) doing a fantastic job getting his team through the leagues and to this stage in their short history.”
“We will be hoping that there is no ‘cup upset’ on Sunday and that we can reward our hard work this season by advancing to the final but we know there are no guarantees and we are going to have to be thoroughly prepared and on our A-game if we are to advance.”
Rockets go into Sunday’s without the services of shooting guard Ben Dixon who is returning to Australia for the week for personal reasons. The 26 year old has been ever-present this season and is one of Coach Keane’s leading defenders. It means that the Reading team will call upon their youth to bolster their attack behind seniors Nick Richards, Liam Davis, Pau Mayor, Ed Potter, and Matias Boho. Regular starter / sixth man David Chive should be available for selection but Sam Grant will miss out with an on-going back problem. Kelsey Espeut, Asher Ndah and David Obediah will be available for selection with Ross Stepney and James Jolly likely to get the call up as the Rockets go in search of their first final in four years, the longest spell in their history.
Ahead of Sunday’s National Cup semi-final why not follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk
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