Rockets to play first double header of 2020 after opening win of the year

Reading Rockets (10-4) will travel to the East Midlands on Saturday evening to take on Nottingham Hoods (5-9), 7pm tip-off before returning to Reading to host Thames Valley Cavaliers (9-4) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex.

Rockets defeated Westminster Warriors (3-11) in their opening game of 2020 by 98 points to 78 to record their tenth win of the campaign and keep them in the hunt for a top four finish with 12 regular season games remaining but have a tough task ahead of them this weekend.

After Sunday’s win and ahead of this weekend’s double header, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane has identified areas he feels his team need to be better at and highlights these could well play a vital part of the outcome this weekend. The Irishman said,

“Another double header weekend sees us travel back to Nottingham where we recently were successful in a cup fixture by the narrowest of margins. Nottingham is always a tough place to go and having played Hoods twice this season we are well aware of their strengths and the depth of talent they have. Somewhat similar to our Sunday game v Thames Valley at home, we will have to be at our best on the boards against both teams.”

“Rebounding is something we are struggling with, especially without the influential AJ Carr and still awaiting a replacement. Our guards will need to take a lot of responsibility to win the battle of the rebounds in both games. Both teams do a great job of pushing the ball in transition and have individuals who can create their own shot from the perimeter. These back to back games will be won or lost of how well we can defend individually and whether we can limit them to one and done on offence.”

Saturday’s match-up against Nottingham Hoods will be the third meeting between the two teams this term with Rockets holding a 2-0 series lead. The Berkshire outfit defeated the East Midlands side by 98 points to 85 back in October at Rivermead Leisure Complex before winning by the narrowest of margins in the National Cup third round 77-78 at the Wildcats arena.

Sunday’s encounter against the Cavaliers is the second of the season with Rockets recording their first NBL Division One victory against their opponents 93-108 at Uxbridge College at the start of October but the Thames Valley outfit have only lost three games since then and are also vying for a top four finish.

Rockets head into this weekend’s two games with no further injury concerns but will have a full roster with the return of the academy team from their Erasmus trip to Spain. David Obediah, Kesley Espeut, and Ross Stepney are likely to return to the fold with Asher Ndah playing again after returning early to suit up for Coach Keane’s team last Sunday. The Reading team are still in search of a replacement for American AJ Carr but it is unknown if this will be in place for the upcoming double header as the Rockets go in search for wins 11 and 12 heading towards the business end of the season.

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