Tag: #2019-2020

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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Match Report – Reading Rockets v Westminster Warriors



Reading Rockets98Win
Westminster Warriors78Loss

Starting the New Year with a victory was high on Rockets goals, especially as Rockets had tasted defeat on the opening day of the season’s campaign in the London Borough . How w ell they achieved that goal with an 18 point win and leading from tip off to buzzer.

With at least 4 Academy players still in Spain on an educational programme which also includes watching top European basketball and competing in tournaments ( JMA Rockets won the U 18 Junior Men Valencia tournament on Sunday ), a depleted team of just eight players took to the court at Rivermead taking the game to Warriors from the first possession. Liam Davis hit Rockets opening points of 2020 and decade before Matias Boho launched the first of his three trebles . When Nick Richards introduced himself to the score board Warriors were 2-11 adrift and called a time-out after just over two minutes play. Some great team play saw Pau Mayor stroking a treble which Rockets followed with a fast break finished by Richards, who extended their lead to double digits as Boho sent an assist to Asher Ndah who hit a treble from wide out seeing Rockets 26-16 ahead.

The second period began as Ndah scored off the glass and the other Academy player playing, David Chive, hit the first of his three trebles as Rockets as Rockets defence also caused Warriors to have a 24 second penalty. Richards hit a treble and Australian guard Ben Dixon also hit one from the top of the key as Rockets moved from just six points ahead to finish the quarter fifteen points ahead with a 12-3 finish taking a 52-37 advantage to the changing rooms at the interval.

Rockets kept up the momentum throughout this third period as Davis and Richards led all scorers during this time and Boho stroked a treble from the top of the key. Rockets defence again caused Warriors into a 24 second violation and capitalised with more fast break points principally through Richards though Davis finished one with a slam and another with a base line buzzer beating jump shot as Rockets extended their advantage to 72-52 as the final stanza beckoned.

Warriors awoke with a 11-2 run at the start of the final quarter, stirring Rockets into action of their own after finding their comfortable twenty point lead reduced to just eleven in the opening two minutes. A Boho treble form beyond the arc stopped the rot and when Boho took a big defensive rebound , Chive stroked a glorious treble form out wide to see Rockets ahead by 80-63, a lead they were to maintain till the end of the game. 18 yo Ndah hit a wide treble and Mayor stroked one too as the game drew to a close with Rockets victorious by 96-78.

Head Coach Alan Keane and Rockets leadership team are still trying to strengthen the team after the loss of A J Carr with a season ending injury just before Christmas, all in preparation for a big double header weekend ahead and then a National Cup semi-final on 19th.

Top scorers for Rockets were Liam Davis with 21 pts and 4 rebounds as Matias Boho hit 19 pts, took down 3 rebounds, had 3 assists and three blocks with Pau Mayor having 16 pts,4 assists and 2 steal and the ever influential Nick Richards with a double double of 15 pts 10 assists and 5 steals.


Date Time League Season
05/01/2020 17:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

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

Match Report – Hemel Storm v Reading Rockets



Hemel Storm91Win
Reading Rockets75Loss

Before this top of the table clash , Rockets got the most disappointing news from the hand specialist that their influential guard A J Carr had suffered a season ending double fracture in the last training session before Christmas. A J was obviously mortified and in shock but had planned to return home for Christmas whilst Academy guard Sam Grant, the G.B U18 also had his back diagnosis ……three slipped vertebrae leaving Head Coach Alan Keane with much to ponder before the game and certainly over the break.

With his British passport now sorted 18 yo Kelsey Espeut shirted up for Rockets who scored the first points through Matias Boho before Hemel responded. Ben Dixon stroked the first of his five trebles and Boho made a fake move to score. The importance of the game wasn’t lost on anyone in the sports centre and the teams were level on 7, 9 and 12 as trebles were exchanged ( Rockets coming from the influential guard Nick Richards ). A Richards assist to captain Ed Potter coupled to an inside score from the small forward encouraged the academy players now making up 50% of the team though a dubious call which Rockets supporters saw as a great strip by 18 yo David Chive was given as a foul from which Hemel scored seeing them to a 26-18 advantage at the first break.

Liam Davis opened Rockets account at the start of the second period with a hook shot but a fluky treble glanced off the glass saw Hemel increase their lead to 33-21 but a Richards assist to Dixon saw the Aussie excellent beyond the arc. When Richards made a steal, one of seven during the game, he went coast to coast to slam dunk and reduce Rockets deficit to just four points at 29-33. A Potter spin and finish was accompanied by another Richards drive and spin score as Rockets got within a single score of Hemel but yet again a very, very tough call against the resurgent visitors saw Hemel at the line. A Richards rejection, assist to Dixon, and drive through the eye of a needle kept Rockets close at 36-38 and though Hemel were secure from the penalty line it was an electrically fast tracking back by Richards that made a stop and saw Rockets closer to Hemel at 38-44 at the interval having taken the quarter 20-18.

Storm’s shooting prowess beyond the arc had given them the advantage but Richards and Dixon matched them in this third period though Rockets missed four consecutive lay-ups which saw Hemel back with a double digit lead for most of the time and though a Davis slam dunk and Richards drive brought the quarter to an end Rockets found themselves adrift by 53-63 as the final quarter beckoned.

Richards was fighting the good fight throughout the game as he put in an outstanding performance. Hemel just couldn’t stop the American even fouling him in an unsportsmanlike fashion as they tried to stop his personal onslaught. Though they failed in that, five trebles in the final quarter by the sharp shooting Hertfordshire team, saw Hemel take the win at 91-75. This leaves Rockets in joint third place in the league but four consecutive Sunday afternoon home games at Rivermead to start their 2020 campaign, including a crucial National Cup semi -final on 19th January , will left the Berkshire team as they seek one of the three trophies on offer this season.

Top scorers for Rockets were the outstanding Nick Richards who led all scorers with 31 pts, 7 rebounds, 7 steals and 4 assists as Ben Dixon hit 15 pts, Ed Potter 11 points and Liam Davis with 10 pts and 8 rebounds. Rockets begin their New Year by hosting Westminster Warriors who beat them in the opening league game of the season.


Date Time League Season
21/12/2019 19:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre
Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre 45A Park Rd, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1JS, 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


Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040