Reading Rockets (8-3) will have one of their toughest weekend’s of the season coming up when they travel to the South coast on Saturday evening to take on second placed Worthing Thunder (9-2) in NBL Division One (7.30pm tip-off) before making the short journey to Oaklands the following day to face Essex and Herts Leopards in the National Cup quarter-finals (3.30pm tip-off).
Rockets got back to winning ways last weekend when they defeated Bradford Dragons 78-75 at the John Madejski Academy and are now in joint third position in the NBL Division One table alongside Thames Valley Cavaliers and Hemel Storm. This Saturday’s match-up against the Thunder will be the first encounter of the season between the two teams whilst Sunday’s cup clash against the Leopards will be the third time the two teams have met already this season. Rockets have won both encounters to date; a pre-season victory by 97 points to 74 followed by an away win in league play last month, recording an 81-67 success for Alan Keane’s men.
The Rockets Head Coach was pleased to see his team get back to winning ways last Sunday but Coach Keane knows this weekend is a big one for his group. The Irishman said,
“Although it’s another double header for us, we are excited to be playing in these type of games, especially a cup quarter final but before we put our minds to that game we face a tough Worthing opponent. They are a very guard orientated team who are putting up big numbers in the league so we will really need to bring to life the scouting report and be at our best defensively to stem the flow.”
“Sunday brings a different challenge in Essex who are an ever-improving team and were very unlucky not to beat Nottingham on the weekend losing the game in the last couple of minutes. The difference with this game is that it is a cup game, winner takes all, so we will need to be as prepared for this match-up but only after we have navigated the test against Worthing.”
“A great weekend to be a part of and hopefully we will have a near to fully fit roster.”
Rockets go into their final double header of 2019 with a few injury concerns, something they have been all to familiar with during the last four games. Spaniard Pau Mayor was missing again last weekend with a thigh injury and it is unknown if he will be able to return to action for the two upcoming games. David Chive missed last weekend’s victory over Bradford Dragons and will be out of action until the new year for personal reasons. American AJ Carr sat out all of last week’s practice with the flu but did return for last weekend’s victory and should be fully recovered in time for the Reading outfit’s two trips.
With three games to go of 2019, Rockets have a chance to reach the National Cup semi-finals as well as reclaiming second place in the NBL Division One table with three wins as Coach Keane’s group look to finish the year in style.
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