Tag: #game preview

Rockets to take on Liverpool as fight for top four heats up

Reading Rockets (11-5) will be looking to use last Sunday’s National Cup semi-final victory as a springboard in the league when they host Liverpool (2-14) on Sunday afternoon, 15:30pm tip-off at Rivermead in Round 17 of the regular season. Rockets defeated NBL Division Two outfit Myerscough College last weekend, running out 78-59 winners to secure their place in next month’s National Cup final where they will face unbeaten league leaders Solent Kestrels.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased to see his team reach their first final during his tenure but is fully focused on next Sunday’s match-up with Liverpool. The Irishman said,

“It is great for our club to be back in a national final and I am delighted for our fans and everyone associated with the team that we will have the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in an historic competition.”

“Attention now must to turn Sunday’s game against Liverpool who have been really unfortunate with their run of results so far this season and with a lot of changes to their roster. Their recent games against Worthing and Hemel shows they are well up for the fight to stay in the division having being tied with one of the best teams in the league right at the end of the game so we will need to be fully prepared for what they will bring to us because they still have a very talented team.”

Sunday’s meeting will be the second of the season between the two sides with the Reading team securing a hard fought away win back in November 86-90. Liverpool’s only successes to date have been against Barking and Bradford with only Essex and Herts securing less wins than the Merseyside outfit.

Rockets go into Sunday’s clash with Liverpool having added to their roster. 6’5 British Forward Leome Francis has joined the Berkshire outfit on a short term deal having signed from NBL Division Three outfit Northamptonshire Titans. The 29 year old has had spells at Hemel Storm, Derby Trailblazers, and Leicester Warriors and joins the Rockets after the loss of American AJ Carr due to a season ending hand injury. Francis has been training with the team over the last few weeks and has put pen to paper ahead of the transfer deadline on 31st January.

Australian Ben Dixon will also be back in action this Sunday after returning from his native country so Coach Keane should have a fully fit and available squad to select from boosted by positive performances from academy players Asher Ndah and Kivuvu Live in Sunday’s cup triumph over Myerscough.

To keep up to date with all the latest news and information, 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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Rockets to face Myerscough in National Cup semi-final

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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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.

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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Rockets to face Warriors in opening game of 2020

Reading Rockets (9-4) will be looking to get the new year off to a winning start this weekend when they entertain Westminster Warriors (3-10) this Sunday, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex.
The Rockets finished 2019 with defeat to rivals Hemel Storm, 91-75 but were dealt a huge blow by the loss of influential forward AJ Carr who has been ruled out for the rest of the Berkshire outfits campaign with a broken hand.

Sunday’s first match-up of 2020 will be the second meeting between the two teams this season with the Warriors winning the very first league game of the campaign by 87 points to 84 in the reverse fixture, one of only three wins in thirteen outings this season which sees the London team currently occupying eleventh position in the NBL Division One table.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is looking forward to getting back to action after the Christmas interlude and knows a tricky test awaits his team in their first game since the break. The Reading play-caller said,

“We are looking forward to getting back at it after a short break over the Christmas period and well earned rest after a busy first half of the season. However these breaks can often bring an element of vulnerability and that is something we will be mindful of in the lead up to this game.”

“We welcome Westminster to the Rivermead in what could be a tricky affair as they have proven to be a difficult opposition for most teams. Regardless of league positions and the win/loss columns, we know that we will have our work cut out for us Sunday especially following the loss of AJ Carr for the season.”

“However, “next man up” principle has served us well all season and I expect nothing different this coming Sunday.”

Rockets will be going into Sunday’s match-up a little thin on the ground with the loss of AJ Carr and with the academy team away in Spain on an Erasmus trip for two weeks ruling out already injured Sam Grant and David Obediah but it is thought Asher Ndah may well make the trip back to bolster the Reading roster ahead of round 14 of the campaign.

A busy month lies ahead for the Rockets with no fewer than 6 games to start off the year including a National Cup semi-final home draw to either this Sunday’s opponents, Westminster Warriors or NBL Division Two outfit Myerscough. The Berkshire team will also have home games against Thames Valley Cavaliers and Liverpool Basketball with trips to Nottingham and Loughborough filtered in as the race for the play-offs hots up.

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

Top of the table clash awaits Rockets’ final game of 2019

Reading Rockets (9-3) will make the short trip to Hertfordshire this Saturday evening (7pm tip-off) to take on rivals Hemel Storm (9-3) in their final game of 2019. The Reading outfit had a fantastic double success last weekend beating NBL Division One rivals Worthing Thunder (9-3) by 100 points to 81 on the south coast before securing a National Cup semi-final spot after defeating Essex and Herts Leopards 98-82 in the quarter-final of the competition.

Rockets and Storm are currently two of four teams with a record of nine wins and three losses behind unbeaten league leaders Solent Kestrels (12-0) with Worthing Thunder and Thames Valley Cavaliers all trying to occupy the best of the rest spot in the NBL Division One league table. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season with last season’s match-ups split with the Rockets taking a 97-80 home win before being defeated by Hemel 121-116 back in March of this year at Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was very pleased with his team’s performances last weekend but knows a tough encounter awaits with the visit to Hemel on Saturday. The Irishman said,

“We were very happy with the two results from last weekend but our attention quickly shifts to this weekend’s game against Hemel. It is always a difficult environment to play in and they have a new team this year who are playing very well so it will be a tough challenge but we are coming off a good weekend ourselves so have confidence going into Saturday.”

“We feel we will have advantages in certain areas but we are also very aware of their strengths so we will put a hyper focus on playing to what we do well whilst being mindful and prepared to limit their successful options.”

“It’s an exciting way to end 2019 and we will most certainly be looking to finish the first half of the season on a high as will Hemel so this is what will make it a great match-up I have no doubt.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s match-up with better news on the injury and illness front. Spaniard Pau Mayor who had missed the last three weeks with a thigh injury returned to action last Saturday and featured in both victories with no ill effect so all being well should be fully fit for this weekend’s trip to Hemel. Great Britain Under 18 point guard David Chive also returned to the fold against Worthing and Essex and looks set to feature again this weekend alongside Ben Dixon and Matias Boho who have recovered from illness. The only player currently on the injured list is Chive’s GB Under 18 colleague Sam Grant who is nursing an on-going back problem and it is not known when he will be able to return to action.

Rockets will be looking to finish 2019 on a high to go along with five national league teams reaching cup semi-finals after Christmas with the club’s Division One men and women both joining the Under 16 Premier, Under 18 Men and Women in the last four of their respective national cup’s after the Christmas break.

To keep up to date with all the latest news and information over the Christmas period and prior to Rockets’ first game of 2020 when they host Westminster Warriors on Sunday 5th January, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex, follow the club on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk


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