Tag: #press release

Rockets look to bounce back after double defeats last weekend

Coach Keane’s men were defeated 86-75 in NBL Division One Men v Solent and 85-69 in the National Trophy v Essex Leopards as their four game win streak came to an abrupt end.

Captain Danny Carter is struggling with a back injury but still tried his hardest to secure a semi-final spot in the Trophy which now will be down to the last pool game in early January when Hemel Storm play Leopards. Depending on the result of that game, the pool is likely to be decided on points difference so it’s out of Rockets hands now.

Rockets take on Barking Abbey Crusaders in NBL Division One Men on Sunday 2nd December, 5pm tip-off as they look to bounce back and maintain a push for a top four finish in this most competitive of leagues where it appears any team can take each other’s scalp on any weekend,  other than maybe Solent  who look down on all the other teams form their lofty perch in top spot and a 9-0 record.

The Reading team currently lie in seventh place with four wins and three losses whilst Barking sit in tenth position with a record of 2-5

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season with Barking back in NBL Division One Men after a year’s absence

The last meeting between the two teams was in the National Cup two seasons ago when the then NBL Division Two outfit Kent Crusaders caused a cup upset defeating the Rockets 92-83 in the quarter-finals

Assistant Coach Josh Thorne:

“Next weekend is a very important weekend for us. After two losses this weekend we have to have a strong week and continue to grow together and build on our development areas. Our focus remains on ourselves but we will be aware of the threat a young, vibrant Barking team will pose.”

JMA Rockets enjoy Erasmus trip to Spain

The John Madejski Basketball Academy with Reading Rockets took 22 players to Spain, visiting three of their beautiful cities in Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona.

The group departed from JMA at 2.30am in order to fly from London Luton airport at 6.30am – nice and early, or in most cases no sleep! A relatively smooth flight arrived in Madrid at around 9am local time and the group then started what seemed like an episode of Top Gear in their three 9-seater vehicles driven by Messrs Johnson (Clarkson), Benlloch (Hammond) and Fisher (May). The group was also accompanied by JMA and Rockets Division 1 Men’s Head Coach Alan Keane, as well as JMA’s Rebecca Anderson.

First stop for the party of 27 was to their accommodation at Aristos, the home club of former Rockets Coach Raul Lozano, where they would stay for four nights. After a short rest, the team travelled to Fuenlabrada to watch their ACB practice and have a Q&A session with GB Captain Dan Clark and Assistant Coach of Fuenlabrada Anna Montañana who also coached one of the JMA Rockets players Paula Romero Tarrega when she was younger.

Tuesday saw the group take a tour of the centre of Madrid with a familiar guide in former JMA Rockets player Iñigo Perez Baena. Later that day both boys and girls teams would play Tres Cantos, the home of both Iñi and Fidel Gomez who also had two years in Reading. Both teams played the club senior teams and were defeated with lots of learning occurring just 48 hours into the trip.

Wednesday morning was a time to reflect on the first two days, catch up on some rest, and for the players to meet with their coaches individually to discuss what they would be looking to gain from such an impressive trip. Both girls and boys teams then played Estudiantes that evening with the girls recording their first win coming from behind to take victory whilst the boys fell against a very impressive Under 18 outfit.

The following day and it was a trip to the NBA offices in Madrid to meet Alex Sarama. A most interesting presentation from a man that started coaching in Surrey and made the transition all the way to work in the biggest basketball association in the world. Later that day, the group visited the University in Madrid to meet the current GB Women’s Head Coach and Sports Psychology lecturer Chema Buceta. A fascinating insight was given to the players on all things surrounding the mental part of being an elite performer from self-talk, to confidence, to mindset and the like. An action packed day ended with a trip to the Wizink Centre to watch Real Madrid take on Buducnost in the Euroleague with the home team running out convincing winners 89-55.
Friday saw the end of the group’s time in Madrid and the three vehicles headed towards Blai Benlloch’s home town of Valencia. On arrival, the group was privileged to have a discussion with ex-WNBA player and Spanish star Marina Ferragut who is one of the most capped players in Spanish history.

The weekend started with a strength and conditioning session for the players followed by a very interactive physio session with Alvaro Gil. The players learnt how to tape themselves and each other in a really beneficial two hours. Later that day it was then time to visit another ex-JMA Rocket in former academy head coach Pedro Garcia Rosado. Now the head coach of women’s division two outfit Picken Claret in Spain, his team secured an 11-point victory.

Both teams were back on court practising on Sunday, getting ready for their upcoming games in the second week of the trip before watching Valencia v Fuenlabrada (the team they had previously seen train) in the ACB. Valencia Head Coach Jaume Ponsarnau visited Reading for three months about two years ago and it was his team that secured victory on the day 86-67 in another great spectacle for the tourists.

The start of the second week of the trip commenced with another S&C session and practices for both teams before an absolutely wonderful afternoon spent at Blai’s “summer house” where his mum and dad put on the most glorious spread of food including the traditional paella which was magnificent! Some fun then with Blai’s dog, Rudy and Gasol, as well as a trip in the swimming pool for some of our braver students ended what was a much-needed relaxed and fun time together.

Tuesday saw another action packed day with a trip to Valencia city centre in the morning followed by watching the Valencia Basket Women’s team train at their brand new and incredible training facilities at L’Alqueria del Basket. The girls’ team returned to the venue later in the day to claim a great victory over their Under 18 girls team whilst the boys suffered an agonising two point loss as Ben Fisher took the helm with Alan Keane returning to England on Division One Men’s duty.

The next day, the group was back at the Valencia headquarters for a talk with the Valencia Community Manager on all things social media. A very informative talk looked into the detail of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and how to use all the social media platforms effectively. After some familiar study time for the group it was game time for the boys as they fell to a very impressive Valencia Under 18 team.

Thursday came along and after a visit to the Valencia ACB team practice and some memorable time with Jaume, the three vans once again hit the road to Barcelona. A much more peaceful drive ended with a drop off at the hotel before heading to the Camp Nou complex to watch another Euroleague game, Barcelona v Maccabi Tel Aviv where the players and staff would be court-side for pictures with the players before the game. In what was an incredible atmosphere, Barcelona came out convincing winners taking a 74-58 win.

Friday, and it was back to Camp Nou for a tour of one of the most impressive football grounds in the world and the museum that accompanies the most impressive of architecture. After a great time there, both teams prepared for their final games against Joventud Badalona. In a shortened game, the girls secured another victory and the boys won their first game of the trip with an impressive 75-70 win on the club’s ACB court.

The penultimate day of the tour was a time to really enjoy the city of Barcelona and meet up with one of Rockets’ finest products – Matthew Marsh. The group travelled to L’Hospitalet to watch Marshy’s Under 18 team record a double digit victory with the 6’11 centre having two big dunks in the game much to the excitement of the supporting boys! Marshy then joined everyone for dinner at Barcelona’s NBA Cafe as the final evening of the trip came to a close.   The group returned to England the following morning and arrived back to JMA around 3pm after an incredible two weeks of highs, lows, learning, and enjoyment.

Thank you so much to Erasmus, the White Horse Foundation, the John Madejski Academy, and Reading Rockets for making the trip so enjoyable and memorable!

Rockets prepare to continue winning streak

Reading Rockets are back on the road this week following an impressive run of form that has seen them move up into the top-six of the National Basketball League Division 1.

Most recently, the Rockets powered to a 97 v 80 against Hemel Storm in front of a packed Rivermead crowd, extending their run of strong form. Adrian O’Sullivan was named NBL Division 1 Player of the Week following his contribution to the result.

A tough challenge awaits the squad with a combination of NBL and National Trophy action this coming weekend. First up, on Saturday evening, the Rockets will face the unbeaten might of Solent Kestrels. The dominant league leaders, who have scored eight wins in eight, will offer a stern test for the young Rockets line-up.

Rockets will need to conserve some energy for Sunday’s National Trophy game against Essex Leopards, who were triumphant 83-90 in a pre-season friendly. A win would see the Rockets take a semi-final slot in the Trophy and continue their 100% win rate in the pool stages. This fourth double-header of the season follows a weekend off for the team.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “Two great tests coming up for the group this weekend but our focus will be on one game at a time. Solent have started the season very well but if we can take another step with our behaviours to drive performance, we have a very good opportunity in front of us. I have been pleased with the progress we have been making and how we practice has allowed ourselves to push each other further to be better and stronger especially in the face of adversity. An exciting weekend ahead and we will give everything we have to secure two positive outcomes.”

Captain Danny Carter: “Looking forward to getting back onto court after a rest week. We are taking on the undefeated Solent Kestrels, which will really test us and what we are trying to improve on. On Sunday we take on Essex knowing a win will put us into a national semi final. Essex are improving every week and we will need to be ready for a tough challenge. Our last double header weekend ended in two wins and more growth as a group, that’s our aim again”

Rockets Senior Men ready to chase 2018/19 National Trophy

Reading Rockets are aiming to transform their pre-season performances into tangible results as 2018/19 National Basketball League Division 1 action gets underway this weekend.

Fresh from an impressive and measured win against the Welsh national side, Rockets senior men will play newly promoted Thames Valley Cavaliers in the National Trophy.

Five time winners of the Trophy, Reading Rockets will once again field their new-look squad, which combines experienced players with exciting youngsters from the Rockets Academy. The hunger and determination shown by all players in pre-season bodes well for the Rockets ahead of what promises to be a competitive year ahead.

The opening game of the new season will be something of a home affair for Reading Rockets as they make the short 45-minute trip down the M4 and onto Uxbridge to face the Cavaliers.

Despite facing the likes of Team USA and Surrey Scorchers in the pre-season friendlies, Rockets will be under no illusions as to the challenge that waits this Sunday.

The opening NBL 2018/19 Division 1 game will take place the following weekend, Saturday 6 October, against the Derby Trailblazers at the Rivermead Leisure Centre.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “Following this coming weekend we will have had four preparation games under our belt. Our three games to date (and this coming weekend’s preparation game) have given us great opportunities to establish what we want ahead of the opening game of the season. The process is long and challenging and we are nowhere near where we will be, however Thames Valley will be a very stern test. They are loaded with experienced players who will test every team in the country to their limits. We look forward to opening the competitive season with such a challenge.”

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511

Chris.Hughes@sqn.agency

 

Rockets new line-up set for pre-season clash against Welsh National Squad

The Reading Rockets senior men’s squad will play their first home game of the 2018/19 campaign at the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Reading this Sunday with a pre-season friendly against the Welsh national team.

Tipping at 5pm, the match will see a new-look Rockets men’s team line up against the best players in Wales, offering recent signings the chance to gel ahead of the National Basketball League (NBL) season later in September.

It’s been a busy off-season for the Rockets with the announcements of US stars Trae Pemberton and AJ Carr, Irishmen Adrian and Ronan O’Sullivan, and recently confirmed Club Captain Danny Carter. The senior men’s side has received a further boost with Sydney Donaldson and Troy McIndoe confirmed for 2018/19.

There have also been changes to the coaching team following the departure of Manuel Pena Garces. Alan Keane has taken over as Head Coach, ably supported by Josh Thorne, who has moved from the men’s Division 4 side.

Keane also maintains responsibility for developing the young players in the Rockets Academy. Over the summer, Keane also guided the GB under-18s to their highest ever finish in the European Championships. With a focus on youth players, Coach Keane will now look at moulding a revitalised men’s team while launching the senior careers of a number of Rockets Academy players.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “I am excited that we will host the Welsh National Team at home this Sunday. Coach James Bamfield and I had some dialogue in the off-season about the possibility to play this game. With James doing a wonderful job with basketball in Wales, I have no doubt this team will offer us the challenges we need to continue building our Rockets principles and standards of excellence. The growth and development of Welsh basketball over the past few years has been great to see. This Welsh senior team comes to us off the back of a narrow loss to USA Select. In addition, two days prior to our showdown, BBL side Bristol Flyers will test them. This is another great opportunity for us to establish and cement our style of game, offer another valuable benchmark and a platform for our guys to exhibit their skillset and commitment to our process.”

Rockets Chairman, Gary Johnson, is delighted with the reality of seeing the Academy players getting more court time than ever before this season: “It’s been our goal for a while,” said the Welshman. “Already in two friendlies we’ve played five of the six Academy squad players with the sixth out injured, so we’re releasing these young men, furthering their development and being contributors. I urge everyone to come and witness first-hand the array of talent we have on offer at Rockets this coming season.”

In friendlies against Team USA Select and British Basketball League outfit Surrey Scorchers, Rockets new senior men have given much encouragement to the coaching and performance team, as they finalise their preparations before the National Cup, National Trophy and league campaign begin in earnest on Sunday 30th September.

The entire Rockets organisation will be keen to secure some silverware having come close in two competitions last season. In a year when the club turns 21, this could be the breakthrough season where Reading Rockets truly ‘comes of age.’

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511

Chris.Hughes@sqn.agency