Reading Rockets (13-9) will be hoping to keep their top four hopes alive this weekend when they make the short journey to Hertfordshire to take on Hemel Storm (9-12) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Sportspace. The Reading outfit split last weekend’s games as the form book was thrown out of the window as they lost to relegation threatened Barking Abbey Crusaders 95-84 in Kent before returning home to defeat top four contenders Thames Valley Cavaliers 70-67.
Sunday’s meeting will be the third of the season between the two teams with Rockets currently leading the series 2-0. The Berkshire outfit picked up National Trophy success back in October with a 117-95 victory before repeating the feat in league play, winning 97-80 the following month. This will be the first game between the two sides in Hemel this weekend which hasn’t been a happy stomping ground for the Rockets in recent years having not been victorious there since October 2016.
In speaking ahead of Sunday’s match-up with the Storm, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased his team managed to pick up one valuable win last weekend after a tough couple of weeks but knows the upcoming test will be a tough one for the group. He said,
“Coming off a very tough stretch schedule wise which had an impact on injuries and fatigue, it will feel refreshing to have only one game next weekend. Hemel have really rejuvenated themselves with new signings and a positive run of form this side of Christmas. Having played and beaten them twice this season we are very familiar with the threat they bring across multiple positions. We will approach the game like any other, fully prepared and ready to go with a full roster.”
Rockets go into Sunday’s game with the news Captain Danny Carter should be able to return to fold after sitting out of last Sunday’s win over Thames Valley. The 30 year old forward continues to nurse his back complaint in his final competitive season but is most likely to return to action against Hemel Storm. A hip injury stunted American Trae Pemberton’s weekend last time out but should be fit in time for the trip to Hertfordshire. Coach Keane may well have a full squad to select from as the Rockets look to push on for a top four finish with five regular season games remaining.