Tag: #division1

Rockets face league and cup double header

Reading Rockets (1-0) will be looking to build on Sunday’s narrow win against Team Newcastle University (0-1) when they take on Hemel Storm (0-0) in league play on Saturday afternoon (5pm tip-off at Bohunt School) before entering the National Cup for the first time this season at the third round stage when they travel to the Capital to take on Lithuanian outfit BC Medelynas on Sunday afternoon. The Reading team started out positively in NBL Division One as they recorded a nail-biting 72-68 win on the road without the services of captain Danny Carter who has been side-lined once through injury.

Saturday’s opponents Hemel Storm have split their opening National Trophy games, beating Leicester Warriors but losing out to Loughborough Student Riders and will be looking to get off to a similar start to the Rockets after their opening day win. National Cup opposition BC Medelynas have had wins in rounds one and two against Oxford Steelers and Swindon Shock respectively and have also been victorious in their opening league game in Division Four. The winners of the tie will go through to the 4th round to host either NBL Division Four outfit Cardiff City or NBL Division One rivals Worthing Thunder.

In speaking after his team’s long trip to the north and in preparation for this weekend’s double header match-ups, Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was pleased his side eventually managed to chalk up their first win especially without the services of captain Danny Carter but knows more work is needed if his side are to compete with the top teams in the division. The Spaniard said,

Sunday’s game was a good opening one for us after a long journey and against a new team in the league hungry to impress so to come away with a decent performance and a win despite DC (Danny Carter) not playing is a positive for us. We will review this game because we were in control for many parts and then let it slip but then attention will move on to this weekend’s match-ups in Hemel and BC Medelynas.
Both games this weekend will provide us with different challenges. Hemel really do look like they could be a threat this season with the majority of their squad returning and adding some really good talent to their roster. Coach Youngblood’s teams are always ready to do battle and I am sure they will want to start their league campaign with a win. Sunday is one of those typical cup games, the higher placed team only has everything to lose so we will just need to finish Saturday’s game whatever the outcome and prepare as normal for Sunday’s game as we look to take care of business and move on to the next round.

Rockets go into their two-game weekend uncertain if captain Danny Carter will return to action. The 6’9 forward has a groin / hip injury and wasn’t even allowed to travel to Newcastle last weekend so it will be touch and go if the 29 year old will suit up this weekend for the Reading team. A sickness team hit a couple of players over the last 4/5 days so Rockets are hoping that is now over and hasn’t any effect for the tough double header ahead. The Berkshire outfit made it through last weekend’s game without any additional injury worries so will be looking to build on their opening day win when they open up their home league campaign at their second home of Bohunt School in Wokingham.

Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk.
Feature image courtesy: Mirror Box Studios

Rockets looking to bounce back against Thunder

Reading Rockets (0-1) will be looking to record their first win of the campaign when they travel to the south coast on Saturday evening (7.30pm tip-off) to take on Worthing Thunder (0-1) in their second National Trophy game of the season. The Reading team had a bizarre start to the year as they were unable to play their first official game away at Kent Crusaders due to no officials arriving for the game and therefore the outcome of this match-up will be decided by governing body Basketball England. Rockets returned to Reading and faced Team Solent Kestrels (2-0) the following day and lost out to their rivals and play-off conquerers of last term by 93 points to 78, their first opening day defeat for four seasons. Team Solent Kestrels look all but certain to have secured a place in the quarter-final stage after beating Worthing Thunder in their opening game 107-85 meaning Saturday’s match-up will see one team take their first win of 2017-18.

In speaking after his teams opening day defeat and looking ahead to Saturday’s encounter with Worthing Thunder, Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was naturally disappointed with last weekend’s results but knows it is very early in the season and his new look team needs some time to gel. He said,

It was a really difficult opening game for us and highlighted early on some key areas we need to be better in but we know Solent is a very good team and it is still very early on in the season so we are not panicking. I don’t think the previous days events at Kent affected us as frustrating as it was but I think the more games we play the better at this stage of the season as we look to bring the group together and playing a good level of basketball. The biggest concern on Sunday was defensively as we gave up 93 points, too high for us and something we will analyse and work on this week and in the coming weeks.

We travel to Worthing this weekend who have made a great signing in Zaire Taylor in the off-season and we know they can score very heavily so it is an interesting next game to have as it will test our resilience as well as the areas we have been focusing on. I am confident my team can produce a better performance and in turn win the game but we are still building and the most important aspect at this stage of the season is to put in a good performance and always reflect on what we could do better.

Rockets go into Saturday’s game with a fully fit squad with six players making their away debut for the Berkshire outfit. Tim Gill, Scotty Hendricks, Sydney Donaldson, Jonny Foulds, Declan Soukup, and Simas Rauyps will all be in action for the Reading team as Captain Danny Carter celebrates his 29th birthday. Under 18s Iñigo Perez Baena and Adrian Nosa Castillo will also make the trip to the south coast as the Rockets look to get off the mark and keep up the hunt for a National Trophy quarter-final spot – a trophy their have collected seven times in their history.

Rockets add two Brits to their roster

Reading Rockets are delighted to announce the signings of British pair Sydney Donaldson and Jonny Foulds to their roster for the 2017-2018 season. The pair recently put pen to paper and join up with new signings Tim Gill and Scotty Hendricks who in turn joined returnees Danny Carter, Joel Keeble, and Ali Sbai.

Sydney Donaldson is another player well known to the Rockets as the 6’3 guard was a prominent part of NBL Division One rivals Derby Trailblazers during the 2015-2016 season but also the son of a familiar figure to the Reading outfit Robert ‘Dip’ Donaldson who was a player-coach in the ’00’s at Coventry Crusaders. The 26 year old graduated from the College of Idaho of NAIA Division Two in 2015 averaging 15 points and 5 rebounds in his senior year and is a player the Rockets have admired for a couple of years. In speaking about his imminent arrival in Reading, Donaldson said,

I was very excited when I saw that Coach Manuel and Mr Johnson had reached out to me as I am well aware of the great history this club has. After learning more about the vision, I quickly realised that this was something I wanted to be a part of. I am very thankful for the opportunity and am looking forward to pursue all that’s in store for me in Reading.

Jonny Foulds has become the Rockets’ fourth new signing this term and is another player known to the Rockets having also played at Tees Valley Mohawks alongside American Scotty Hendricks. The 6’5 guard/forward spent three seasons with the North East outfit before suiting up for NBL Division Two champions Kent Crusaders last time out. The Englishman is currently studying for a Masters at the University of East London but is really looking forward to the opportunity of pulling on a Rockets jersey. He said,

I am excited for the upcoming season since signing with Reading Rockets. The club has a great coaching staff and an extremely supportive fan base. Having competed against them in previous seasons the professionalism of the club has always stood out to me and it’s exciting to be a part of the talented team we are going to have this season.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés is very pleased to be able to bring two quality English players to Reading and feels they can both make significant contributions this season. The Spanish play-caller said,

We are really excited about Sydney and Jonny going us. They are both exciting players and bring different things to the team as well as complement the squad we already have. I am looking forward to working with them both and I am sure their time in Reading will be a really positive one.

Rockets’ roster is almost complete for the 2017-2018 campaign but the Berkshire outfit will be looking to add at least one more player to the squad and further signings will be announced in due course.

Rockets sign American duo

Reading Rockets have made a double swoop with the signings of American duo Tim Gill and Jerrod ‘Scotty’ Hendricks. The pair put pen to paper last week to fill both of the Rockets import spots for the 2017-2018 campaign in place of last year’s club MVP Craig Ponder and league MVP runner-up Chris Hooper.

First to fill these positions is 6’9 Power Forward Tim Gill who will start his second year out of college having played in Spain’s EBA League last season for Baloncesto Naron since graduating from NCAA Division Two school Clarion University in 2016. The 23 year old has also played at NCAA Division One outfit Jacksonville Dolphins and prior to that attended Patrick Henry High School. Gill averaged 13 points and almost 11 rebounds last season and will really bolster the Rockets front court this term.

In speaking about his move to Reading Gill commented,

I have heard nothing but great things about the Reading Rockets and am eager to not only improve my game but also this program as a whole! I am really thankful for this opportunity!

Rockets’ second new signing of the 2017-2018 season is 5’9 Point Guard Jerrod ‘Scotty’ Hendricks. The well established 26 year old is an NCAA Division Two King University graduate but is well known to the Berkshire outfit having played in NBL Division One already for Tees Valley Mohawks where he averaged 18.5 points per game along with 3.4 assists and finished up as the league MVP runner-up in the 2015-2016 season. Last season, Hendricks played in Canada’s NBL for Orangeville A’s but wanted to return to England and is very excited about joining up with his new teammates at the Rockets. He said,

I’m excited about returning back to my favourite country England and the NBL Div. 1. Being able to be a part of such a winning organisation that is family oriented is a warm feeling. Day one of chasing a championship happens as soon as I step off the plane. We have a great coaching staff whom I’m excited to come and learn from

Rockets Chairman Gary Johnson is very pleased with his first acquisitions of the 2017-2018 campaign and commented,

We are delighted to have both Tim and Scotty with us and they provide our team with some much needed size and presence in the front court (in Tim) as well as an exciting, experienced point guard to run the team in Scotty. We are awaiting their arrival in England and we are sure they will be able to make significant contributions on and off the court.

Rockets will be announcing some further signings ahead of the 2017-2018 season in due course.
Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website

Rockets Basketball Fixtures

Reading Rockets will open up their 2017-18 season campaign with a trip to last season’s NBL Division Two champions Kent Crusaders on Saturday 23rd September, (tip-off currently to be confirmed), before hosting their play-off conquerors from last season Team Solent Kestrels on Sunday 24th September at Rivermead Leisure complex (5pm tip-off). Both games see the start of the National Trophy group stages with Worthing Thunder being the other outfit to make up Pool 3. Rockets’ first NBL Division One league game should see them travel to face the leagues other new boys Team Newcastle University on Sunday 8th October but this fixture is still to be confirmed. The Berkshire outfit will begin at home the following weekend when they take on Hemel Storm on Saturday 14th October, 5pm tip-off.

Rockets will join this season’s National Cup competition at the third round stage on Sunday 15th October and will play away at either Oxford Stealers, Oxford City, Swindon Shock, or BC Medelynas London. This season’s opening BBL Trophy game will take place before Christmas on Sunday 17th December with the Berkshire outfit’s opponents yet to be drawn. The Reading team will finish off their regular season with a double header away trip when they take on last season’s NBL Division One Champions, Team Northumbria on Saturday 24th March at Sports Central before being hosted by Lancashire Spinners the following day, Sunday 25th March, in their final game of the campaign.

The squad will start their pre-season proceedings prior to this on Tuesday 29th August with Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés back at the helm for a fifth season assisted once again by newly-appointed JMA Academy Director Alan Keane. Both coaches have had an extremely busy summer but are looking forward to returning to Reading and have the goal of claiming silverware this year after a three year absence. Head Coach Peña Garcés has been working with the Spanish Federation over the summer period, delivering on the country’s top coaching qualification as well as holding a number of clinics for coaches from in and around his native Spain. Assistant Coach Keane led the Great Britain Under 18 Men’s team to the silver medal position in Division B at the European Championships but more importantly and impressively gaining promotion to Division A at the first time of asking.

Rockets will open up their pre-season period with a trio of friendly games in their second week of training, the home games being behind closed doors. The Berkshire outfit will play their annual friendly game against Team USA Select on Tuesday 5th September at the John Madejski Academy, before hosting a Norwegian team, Fyllingen who play in the top league in Norway on Friday 8th September. And their busy week will be rounded off with a trip to the Brentwood Centre to take on old rivals and now NBL Division Two outfit Essex Leopards. The two teams have had some memorable games over the years and the Rockets quickly accepted the invite to take on the Leopards on Saturday 9th September, 7pm tip-off.

The club will be announcing their roster in due course with a couple of returning players in the mix as well as two new import players as Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés looks to put the pieces of the jigsaw together and mount a challenge with his young, new-look squad for the 2017-2018 season.

Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk