Reading Rockets (8-4) will make the short journey to Hemel this Saturday when they take on the Storm (7-5) in a fourth v fifth clash in NBL Division One. Rockets split their opening two games of 2018 as they comfortably defeated Lancashire Spinners (0-12) 107-67 before suffering a surprise loss at the hands of Team Newcastle (5-10) as the north east side came away from Rivermead with a priceless 67-63 victory to put a dent in Reading’s title hopes. Saturday’s opponents Hemel Storm had a great start to the opening weekend of the year as they beat Loughborough Student Riders in the semi-final of the National Cup to secure a place in their first ever final: however the Hertfordshire team were defeated by Team Solent Kestrels in league play going down 87-86 the following day.
Rockets Assistant Coach Alan Keane was in a reflective mood after last weekend but is really looking forward to the challenge that an impressive Hemel team possess. The Irishman said,
Hemel has proved to be a force to be reckoned with and they will be on a high after making it to the National Cup final. They boast a lot of individual talent on their roster and are a very difficult team to play against, especially at home but not impossible! Our job will be to have a clear and concise game plan as well as work on the attributes I have already mentioned and I think this is an ideal game for us to put this to the test.
Rockets go into this weekend’s match-up with Hemel Storm with no-one on the treatment table but the game does come too soon for 6’9 forward Danny Carter’s return; the 29 year old coming back into the fray next week. Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés should have a full squad to choose from as his team look to complete the double over their opponents for the first time in three years with the Berkshire outfit fending off a fourth quarter comeback in the first meeting between the two teams back in October as the Reading team claimed a 95-94 victory.
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