Category: Match Reports

Rockets V Wolves | Match Report

Rockets 91 | S. Espinosa – 25 PTS, 11 STL, 8 REB, 6 AST | E. Luzon – 12 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK, 2 STL

Wolves 73 | C. Marques – 29 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL

It was a fantastic performance from the Reading Rockets Women this past weekend after their 91-73 victory over the Worcester Wolves. It was a tremendous defensive display seeing the Rockets grab 22 steals on their way to their 18-point win at the John Madejski Academy.

The game started at terrific pace. Both teams applied enormous amount of pressure on each other all the way up the court. After 6-0 run to start the game for the Rockets, the Wolves came back with a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game 6-6. It was then back and forth the whole quarter with both teams exchanging baskets, not letting each other forge a lead, ending 20-21 in favour of the Worcester Wolves.

The second quarter started the same way the first finished, both teams going at each other determined not to let the other develop a lead. Halfway through the quarter, the Rockets defensive pressure was relentless allowing them to accumulate many steals and turn them into easy baskets which led to a 7-point advantage in the Rockets favour going into the second half with the score 47-40.

The Rockets continued their impressive run into the second half with academy-star Sitota Espinosa starting the half with a tremendous 3-point shot. The Rockets swarming defence caused the Worcester Wolves to turn the ball over more than they would have hoped. The Rockets capitalised on this and went on a huge scoring-run to finish the quarter 69-51, a healthy 18-point margin going into the 4th and final quarter.

The 4th quarter was as exciting as the previous 3 with both teams continuing to press the ball all the way up the court. Both teams showcasing just how good British women’s basketball is with incredible defensive and offensive sets, demonstrating the terrific talent we have in the UK. The final quarter ended in a draw, but Rockets came away victorious, going home with a 91-73 win, their 3rd win of the season.

Coach Luque was extremely happy with the performance and attitude during the game. “The girls were able to press during almost the whole game which is something we spoke about in training the whole week. In offence we were moving the ball as we wanted to. The ball moved quickly and with purpose which improve our spacing on the court.” He continued to say “I’m so proud of all the hard work the girls have put in and I guess we could see a completely different team in 2021. I am delighted to be working with them and looking forward to see how they are improving every single week.”

Assistant coach, Charlie Haynes, was also full of praise for how the women played:

“With the majority of our squad made up of sixth-form student-athletes from the John Madejski Academy, our performance against Worcester Wolves is a great example of just how much potential we have within our team.

The girls had been awesome in training for the two weeks leading up to the game, which meant we were fully prepared to compete at our best.

I don’t think Worcester were expecting us to play with the level of intensity that we did. We played with aggression and executed our game plan really well, leading to plenty of deflections, steals and points in transition.”

It was truly an impressive performance from our academy members with all 3 of the individual awards accolades going to academy players. Sitota Espinosa picked up the Elephant & Castle Player of the Game after she filled the scoresheet, posting 25 points, 11 steals (a season-high), 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Fellow-Spaniard, Eva Luzon also had a terrific game off-the-bench, picking up 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks on her way to becoming the Elephant & Castle Impact Player of the Game. Finally, sharpshooting Mia Thompson was locked in from 3-point range shooting at an unbelievable 60%, finishing up with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals to earn her the Reading Nando’s Red-Hot Rocket award.

It was an overall amazing performance from the women and a very exciting game to watch. They will certainly want to keep this good run of form going into their next game against Nottingham Trent University this Saturday at 1:00pm.

(Photos provided by Dan Wild)

Ipswich V Rockets: Match Report

Ipswich 88 | Welham 31 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST | Cazey 25 PTS, 5-9 3P 

Rockets 60 | Espinosa 9 PTS, 4 REB, 4 STL | Luzon 9 PTS, 6 REB

Reading Rockets were defeated 88-60 to a very strong Ipswich team, in our first game since December 2020.

The game started with the Rockets finding some options in behind the Ipswich defence early on, but Ipswich soon found their rhythm and started to run the floor really quickly, leading to many fast-break points. The league’s top scorer, Harriet Welham, was dialled in posting 19 of her 31 points in the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Coach Luque’s Rockets set up to stop Ipswich scoring in on the fastbreak. The team stopped crashing the offensive board and focused on getting back in transition which kept the Ipswich offence at bay for the second quarter. On the offensive end, Rockets changed to having two players inside the paint to break up the zone defence of our opponents, which led to many open shots for the Rockets to take advantage of, resulting in Reading winning the 2nd quarter 21-18.

It was also very sad to see Coco Ka Yin Leung have to leave the floor after suffering on a knee injury. From everyone at Rockets, we wish Coco a speedy recovery and returns to the basketball court soon.

Rockets failed to start the second half as they finished the first. Ipswich rediscovered their pace in their offence and were fantastic at running up the floor, finding the open woman for the corner 3 to extend their lead.

Given it was the first game in 2021 for both teams, the 4th quarter was played at slightly lower tempo their the previous 3, with both teams just exchanging baskets until the final buzzer.

Despite the loss, Coach Luque was full of positive comments following final buzzer:

“It was a weird but amazing experience being back out on the court for everyone, and I am really happy to be back competing with my team. Ipswich are a very good team and they spent very little time settling into their rhythm and were near impossible to stop once they were in motion. But we are happy, we trust ourselves and growing as a team. We work really hard in training, and we are focused on helping each player on our team to improve.”

It was also great to see our academy star, Heather Maxwell, back on the court following her ACL injury suffered at Ipswich last season. It is fantastic to see Heather back on the court after such a long time out. Congratulations Heather!

Next week, Rockets travel to Southampton to face Team Solent Kestrels. Rockets defeated the Kestrels 64-57 in their meeting earlier in the season at the JMA.

Match Report – NBL & WNBL Quarter Finals



Loughborough Student Riders83Win
Reading Rockets63Loss

Loughborough Riders 83 v 63 Reading Rockets.

In the Playoff Championship quarter final, despite a good and encouraging first half, Rockets couldn’t contain Riders as they stormed the third period 22-10 thanks in principle to outstanding treble shooting. Riders hit five in this quarter and defended stoutly to take a double digit lead into the final stanza, which they edged  to take their place in the semi-final stage next weekend.

In the 2 league games Rockets had the head to head as each team won their home game but at the semi-final stage of the National Trophy in January, Riders lifted their game to win and go on and take the Cup.  Rockets were quick out of the blocks at the University but A J Carr was a little too enthusiastic as he was called for a pair of fouls inside the opening two minutes of early exchanges, meaning Head Coach Alan Keane had to bring him off court .  Captain Danny Carter ( in what was to be his last ever appearance in a Rockets vest ) worked tirelessly inside, took down rebounds and made key assists whilst Sydney Donaldson again proved the heart of the team seeing  Rockets to a 19-14 advantage at the first break.

The  second quarter was a much lower scoring affair as both defences stayed on top though Riders took the lead for just 50 seconds before the interval before Carter saw Rockets go the locker room 31-30 ahead. The third period was a tough one for Rockets as Riders hit five from beyond the arc compared to just one in the whole of the first 2 periods as they took the quarter 22-10. Carter, Donaldson and Trae Pemberton were the only Rockets scorers as Riders stepped up their already good defence. Despite a David Chive rejection with less than two minutes remaining of the third quarter, Riders stroked a brace of trebles, the last one on the buzzer and giving Riders a big boost and an eleven point lead at 52–41.

A Pemberton effort came back out of the ring at the start of the final quarter before Carr hit his only treble of the afternoon to reduce the deficit.  When Carter went inside to score, Rockets found themselves just seven points down inside two minutes. A very tough call with just one second left on the shot clock proved disappointing and costly for Rockets as Riders were secure from the free throw line and hit a pair of trebles to take a fifteen point lead at 64-49 mid way through the quarter. Carter shone throughout the game but especially in the final period as he worked ferociously to take Rockets to the semi-final stage as he poured in ten personal points, drove hard drawing fouls but Rockets just couldn’t find a way of stopping the rampaging Riders. Adrian O’Sullivan hit two trebles to reduce the deficit to just ten points at 63-73 with two minutes remaining but with Rockets needing to stop the clock to regain possession, Riders were frequent visitors to the penalty stripe from which they only missed one whilst Rockets’ treble efforts were unsuccessful as Riders took the quarter final 83-63 with a 10-0 run.

Top scorers for Rockets were Danny Carter with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists with Sydney Donaldson hitting 14 points and taking down 7 rebounds. Adrian O’Sullivan and A J Carr hit 8 points each with Trae Pemberton and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo scoring 7 each.


Date Time League Season
06/04/2019 14:00 NBL Div 1 2018 / 2019


Loughborough Student Riders63Win

In a most unusual Play-off Championship draw both Rockets Men and Ladies found themselves playing Loughborough away on the same day so they travelled together bringing encouragement to each other with Ladies taking the moral win though Riders went to the semi-final stage with a narrow margin of just five points. From a 3-14 deficit Rockets got within five points midway through the final quarter and into the last 1 minute 17 secs but a very contentious refereeing call saw Rockets top scorer being called for an unsportsmanlike foul and having to leave the court. Despite this impact Rockets Ladies tried fervently to take the victory but just one of three treble efforts hit the target and Riders hit three from the free throw line to move into the semi-final stage. Four of Rockets Ladies had scored double figures compared to just the pair from the Riders  professional WBBL team as Rockets fought tirelessly giving a great performance.Riders had made three blocks inside the opening three minutes as Rockets just couldn’t break through the tough defence , finding themselves on the receiving end of a 12-2 Riders run. Rockets captain Maike Delow Fasbender stopped the rot and Noa Sanchez Marques made a pair of steals and finishes before Monica Herranz De Antonio  was secure from the penalty stipe as Rockets returned the 12-2 compliment and the scores levelled on 14 apiece. Five unanswered Riders points saw them enjoy a narrow 19-14 advantage at the end of the period.

Andrea Gomez De La Vara stroked the first of her three trebles and Herranz hit one too to stay close to Riders at 20-26. Sanchez Marques caused Riders into a five second inbound violation as Rockets ramped up the pressure but nothing seemed to be going Rockets way as they found themselves 26-37 down at the interval. Head Coach David Sanchez was expecting a fresh upturn in pressure from Riders and quickly Rockets found themselves 42-28 and then 48-32 in arrears as Riders struck a brace of trebles, one on the buzzer. Nonetheless this Rockets Ladies team wears the badge with pride and great team work and ethics shone through as they recovered to 43-48 moments before the last break though Riders went into the last period 50-43 ahead.

Rockets scored off their first possession to close the gap and then made a pair of stops but Riders stroked a treble. Sanchez Marques scored and Herranz De Antonio made a big rejection as the travelling Rockets fans bellowed their encouragement. Another Gomez De La Vara treble saw Rockets just two scores behind at 53-59 with two minutes remaining and Rockets in the ascendancy and causing this smart Riders team many problems they hadn’t envisaged after their early dominance. Then the decision that fuelled up Rockets through losing their stalwart player as Rockets did their upmost to take the win though losing out narrowly 58-63.

Top scorers for Rockets were Monica Herranz with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals accompanied by Andrea Gomez with 13 points, Noa Sanchez with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and Anabel Latorre Ciria with a double double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.


Date Time League Season
06/04/2019 16:30 WNBL Div 1 2018 / 2019

Match Reports – Weekend 2nd / 3rd March



Reading Rockets90Loss
Team Solent Kestrels91Win

In a pulsating game at Rivermead on Saturday evening, Rockets got to within a whisker of defeating Kestrels,  missing some free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining. Nonetheless this was  most encouraging from Rockets in a game where two players had outstanding  performances namely Kestrels Travis Charles with 29 points and ten rebounds together with Rockets  Trae Pemberton with 30 points , 5 assists, 2 steals and 5 rebounds. ..a pair of gladiators trying to help their team across the winning line.

Kestrels shot off to a 10-2 start but after a time out by Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane, Rockets went on a 21-10 run to take the opening quarter 23-20 with captain Danny Carter scoring 10 points including a brace of trebles and Tanner Kuehn tipping in on the buzzer.  The Mead had an electric atmosphere. Kestrels are not just joint league leaders and title favourites for nothing and responded with a 20-7 run in the second period restricting Rockets to just 16 points too and hitting a buzzer beating treble to take a 43-39 interval advantage to the dressing room.

A Pemberton treble brought the deficit back to a single point with the first offence of the third quarter and soon an A J Carr hook gave Rockets the lead. Another treble from Pemberton extended the advantage before Kestrels tied the game on 49, 51 and 53 prior to a barrage of four trebles as they just couldn’t miss, which saw Rockets 7 points adrift. 14 Pemberton points and a buzzer beating treble from Academy player Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo kept Rockets in the hunt for the victory though 64-69 down as the final stanza began.

17 year old David Chive scored to start this vital period but again four more Kestrels trebles were only answered by a Pemberton one as Kestrels led by 11 points at 79-68 with just over 7 minutes remaining. Sydney Donaldson sent an assist to Pemberton to stroke another treble and scored 4 quick points himself to keep Rockets very much in the hunt. Adrian O’Sullivan sank a treble and hit a free throw as Rockets found themselves 4 points down with 1 min 23 secs on the clock. An exchange of baskets saw Kestrels open up a 5 point lead with 29.3 secs left. Up strolls Pemberton to hit a treble and The Mead was alive with noise and drums. Carter was called for his fifth personal foul so left the court with 21.2 secs to go but Kestrels missed both free throws. Rockets went to the line and unfortunately repeated the lack of success as the tension was at fever pitch. Kestrels hit 1 from 2 from the line to have a 3 point advantage with 6.7 secs left but with just 1.5 secs left Rockets had 2 free throws. The instruction went out that to tie the game Rockets needed to score the first free throw ( which they did ) but purposely miss the second one so Rockets could grab the rebound and score. Unfortunately the ball hit the side of the ring and backboard but instead of falling out dropped in leaving the final score somewhat disappointing at 90-91 but what a great game, what an improved team performance and encouragement as the league season draws to an end of March for Rockets. Don’t miss their remaining home games !!

Top scorers for Rockets were Trae Pemberton with 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals; Danny Carter with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals; A J Carr with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists; Adrian O’Sullivan with 11 points and 3 assists and Sydney Donaldson with 10 points and 5 rebounds.


Date Time League Season
02/03/2019 17:00 NBL Div 1 2018 / 2019


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK


Reading Rockets86Win
Nottingham Hoods76Loss

Before another packed crowd at Rivermead, Rockets secured a fine win against another Championship Play-off contender. Again American shooting guard Trae Pemberton was on fire as he added 26 points to his 30 from last night as both teams were a little less energetic having both played the two joint league leaders the night before. Hoods scored first but that was the only time they led. David Chive replied with a treble and ignited Rockets as captain Danny Carter gave the first of his 4 assists to Pemberton before Sydney Donaldson hit 3 from 4 from the penalty stripe, Chive scored again and Carter spun to help Rockets to an 8 point lead at 12-4. Hoods fought back but a Tanner Kuehn tip in and an Adrian O’Sullivan cross court assist to Chive to hit another treble saw Rockets 21-16 ahead at the first break.

The second quarter was a quieter time for both sides as a little tiredness crept in but A J Carr and Pemberton kept the Rockets scoreboard ticking though Rockets advantage was just 4 at the interval 38-34. Hoods were just one shot off the lead before the last play from which Chive scored on the buzzer. Rockets hit five trebles in the third quarter with Pemberton helping himself to 3 as Carr and Donaldson also stroked one apiece. Carr had upped the tempo after the interval as he fought tenaciously on the floor for possession whilst Donaldson took down a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to score. O’Sullivan gave Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo his first points but a pair of 3 point plays kept Hoods on Rockets tail. The diminutive O’Sullivan stood tall and strong to take a charge and stop the high scoring and big forward Cole Welle from scoring. Carter sent an assist to Pemberton which he repeated to Donaldson a moment later and Rockets had their first double digit lead at 63-52. Hoods hit the final shot to trail by 9, 54-63 as the final quarter beckoned.

Donaldson again took down a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to score, this time drawing a foul and hitting the resultant penalty shot. Ex Rockets Tintin Watts sent a scorcher of a treble from down town but Pemberton replied with a replica shot with the next offense. Rockets enjoyed their biggest lead of 15 points soon after but Hoods went on a 8-0 run just as Rockets supporters were thinking ‘ game over’ . 3 quick points from Donaldson and a Carter rejection saw Rockets regain a double digit advantage with 4 minutes remaining, something they extended to 12 points by the time of the final buzzer at 88-76.

This was another key win for Rockets who stay well in contention for not only a Championship Play-off place but also maybe a home draw if they can reach fourth place in the league.

Top scorers for Rockets were Trae Pemberton with 26 pts., ( giving him a weekend total of 56 pts ) , 7 assists and 5 rebounds with Sydney Donaldson having a double double with 16 pts., and 10 rebounds; A J Carr also with 16 pts., and 5 rebounds and Academy young man making a noise in Div.1 with 10 pts. ,and 3 assists, David Chive.


Date Time League Season
03/03/2019 17:00 NBL Div 1 2018 / 2019


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK




Date Time League Season
03/03/2019 14:30 WNBL Div 1 2018 / 2019


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

National Cup Finals weekend – Match Reports

Rockets Junior Ladies 65 v 60 Charnwood College Riders.

Rockets launched themselves with great propulsion into the opening 2 quarters of this first ever National Cup Final for Rockets Juniors Ladies as they stormed Riders 23-9 and 23-18 in the initial two quarters giving Rockets a comfortable 19 point advantage at the interval 46-27.

Carmen Moreno was finishing clinically with an average of over 83% conversion rate while Paula Tarrega was dominant on the boards for Rockets. With Noa Sanchez Marques also over 83% shooting percentage and making assists, it was now crucial for the U 18’s to not get complacent as they knew Charnwood would come out fighting…..and how they did !!

Rockets were restricted to just 11 points in the third period as Riders hit 15 and the game took on a different perspective. Now Rockets’ clinical finishing fell away as Riders defended with grit and determination as they fought to not lose 3 consecutive finals. Would the 57-42 advantage at the end of the third period be enough Riders began another charge ?

Each team wanted to lift the cup in front of their passionate supporters. It was a mighty strong fight back by Riders in the final quarter as they restricted Rockets to just 8 points whilst scoring 18 themselves but Rockets prevailed with scores at key times and solid defence in the end game as they took the victory and held the cup high through their 65-60 win.

This was very much a team effort though the top scorers for Rockets were Anabel Latorre Ciria as she raised her game in the second half to finish as the game’s MVP with 17 points and 12 rebounds whilst Carmen Segura Moreno also hit 17 points,  took down 4 rebounds and had a brace of assists and steals . Noa Sanchez Marques hit 16 pts., had 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

Head Coach Blai Benlloch was thrilled with the Rockets Junior Ladies win as he recognises it’s the result of a dedicated academy investment programme at the John Madejski Academy .

Anabel Latorre Ciria – MVP


Rockets 71-73 Haringey Hawks

A pulsating game referred to by the commentators as one that will be regarded as the best ever U18 Junior Men Cup Final in the sports history ended with heart breaking final second defeat for Rockets as the final 3 point shot to lift the trophy, rimmed out and they found themselves forlorn on the court having truly given their all.

This is the way Head Coach Fisher encouraged them throughout, ‘Don’t leave anything on the court, do your utmost and be proud.’   And for sure he and his team did just that in front of the biggest and loudest supporters the day had experienced. The majority of these young men have another year at this level and will be striving to succeed in next year’s competition.
Rockets edged the opening quarter 17-16 but found themselves 33-39 adrift at the interval as Hawks lifted their finishing and stifled Rockets. The 15 minute break was a key time for Coach Fisher and his message was clearly received by his stalwarts as they took the third quarter 26-20 to leave the game delicately poised at 59 each as the final period began.

Hawks opened with a score but Rockets edged ahead thanks to a Sam Grant treble. Hawks had a 6-0 run midway through the quarter but Rockets cut that to three with just two and a half minutes left…. a huge time in Basketball. Three Rockets shots rimmed back and Hawks led by five with Just 28.9 seconds remaining . Rockets drove on seeking the cup triumph and with 16.9secs left scored to get within  three of Hawks. One from two from  the free throw line extended Hawks lead but another big Rockets treble with 7.7 secs on the clock meant Rockets were tied . Another opportunity from the free throw line edged Hawks ahead  by two. Again Rockets took off and the outstanding Grant launched a buzzer beating treble effort but it came back off the ring to leave an exhausted Rockets Juniors team bereft on the court. They had been in a fantastic final and Coach Fisher was proud of their magnificent effort in getting a National Cup Final and just falling a millimetres short of victory.

For Rockets Sam Grant finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists , Ross Stepney with 17 points and 16 rebounds and David Chive 10 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists .

An absolutely great Saturday for Rockets Junior Men and Women and a great future ahead for some truly talented players.

David Chive scoring for Rockets


Sam Grant – Rockets’ Top Scorer




Loughborough Student Riders81Win

In what was clearly going to be a tough final for Rockets Ladies as 7 of the Rockets team of 12 are not only Academy players ( under 18yo ) but had also played less than 24 hours before as they took the Junior Women title. So could they put the inevitable physical tiredness and the emotion of winning the day before, behind them.

Head Coach David Sanchez was well aware of that but was expectant as his team had fought many tough battles to reach this final and they were well prepared. However the sight of one of England’s brightest basketball hopes for many years being released from her primary professional league seniors ( Leicester Riders ) , on court, increased the level of difficulty against an already talented side. In reality Holly Winterburn for Riders and Monica Herranz for Rockets were the two outstanding stars of either team and fought for the MVP too.

Riders shot off to an initial 7-0 run before Rockets drew level on nine each midway through the opening period before Riders finished that quarter with a 12-0 blitz. Rockets had missed seven open shots and Winterburn had scored 13 of Riders 21-9 lead.  A stunned Rockets team used the 2 minute break but Riders charged to another 7-0 opening start to quarter two to enjoy a 28-9 advantage. Herranz hit 14 before the break including 2 from 3 trebles to help Rockets stay in contention though 25-41 in arrears.

The third period saw Rockets further adrift at 42-64 but these young players have a never say die attitude that was much appreciated by the packed stands and though going down to a better team on the day, gave a spirited display of what’s to come in the future for the whole female development programme. At Rockets.

With Herranz being rested in the final few minutes the final score was 54- 81 . Herranz had finished with 20 pts.,13 rebounds and 3 assists whilst 16 yo Carmen Moreno had 8 pts and 17 yo Noa Sanchez-Marques 7 pts, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Rockets still have much league action ahead before that draws to a close in April so why not pop along, watch them at JMA or Rivermead …or join one of young teams ?


Date Time League Season
20/01/2019 13:00 National Cup 2018 / 2019


University of Essex
Boundary Rd, Colchester CO4 3WA, UK