Tag: #division1

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

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Worthing Thunder



Worthing Thunder81Loss
Reading Rockets100Win

With an awesome display against second in the table Thunder on the south coast on Saturday evening, Rockets blitzed the final quarter after losing the lead at 74-75 in the opening exchanges to go on a 26-6 run to earn a vital victory and join three other teams in a tie for second position in the league.

With Sam Grant side-lined for the rest of the year and captain Ed Potter playing with strapping over his 2 broken fingers, it was still good to see Pau Major recovered from his leg and knee injuries and the absence of the sickness that dramatically impacted the team in the last 2 weeks. The Thunderdome is always a menacing place to go to and when Thunder’s captain Taylor launched the first treble with the first offence the writing was clearly on the wall for Head Coach Alan Keane to see. A 2-7 early deficit was rectified by six A J Carr points, a Nick Richards pull up jump shot coupled to a pair of successful free throws from Ben Dixon as Rockets went on a 8-0 run. A magnificent piece of team play gave 6’9” Liam Davis the first of his slams whilst Richards went coast to coast to extend Rockets lead but Thunder stormed the next few minutes to be just 15/16 adrift before back to back shots including a big treble by Carr and another Richards score saw Rockets enjoy an eight point advantage at 23-15 and though Thunder came again it was a seven point haul from Davis including a buzzer beating treble that gave Rockets an opening period lead of 32-24 with Thunder having scored nine of their points from the free throw line.

The second quarter began with Thunder going on a 10 -2 run to level the scores on 34 apiece. Carr again kept Rockets side of the scoreboard turning over whilst guard Richards leapt high to slam dunk to open up a five point gap before Carr sank a big treble to give him a personal tally of twenty points midway through the second period. Rockets enjoyed a double digit lead as Richards hit a treble and then the three key Rockets scored and made assists for each other in the dying minutes before the interval as Carr helped Davis to an easy score before Richards did likewise to Davis and then A J finished the quarter’s scoring on the buzzer helping Rockets to a 56-44 lead at the interval. A three point play and a brace of trebles including a buzzer beating one from Thunder couldn’t stop Rockets fire.

The break did Thunder a power of good as they stormed to a 7-2 run to cut the deficit but academy player Asher Ndah continued his big improvement as he dived on the floor to regain possession for Rockets . Carr scored again and Richards stole the ball and finished to see Rockets back with an eleven point advantage at 66-55. Thunder were again secure from the penalty stripe coupled to a brace of trebles and even though another great piece of team play saw Davis slam dunk it was Thunder who took the quarter 27-18 to not only be back in this top of the table clash but also meaning Rockets advantage was just 74-71 going into the final quarter.

Within fourteen seconds Thunder had scored and moments later the Thunderdome erupted as Thunder took the lead at 75-74. How would Rockets react after playing well for so long ? Magnificently was the answer as they poured in twenty six points to just six for Thunder as Rockets blitzed the final quarter 26-10. Richards drove twice in succession to regain Rockets lead before making a huge rejection as Thunder threatened to score….the Thunderdome was quietened but four unanswered Thunder points saw the scores 80-79 in Rockets favour with just over six minutes remaining. And what a period this was Rockets as 17 year old Ndah hit seven personal points including a wide game defining treble and Richards and Davis gave Rockets the final lift off with a 20-2 run to secure a big and major win in their endeavour to stay in touch with undefeated league leaders Solent Kestrels .

Three of Rockets players played exceptionally well as between them they amassed 84 of Rockets 100 points with Nick Richards scoring 32 points, taking down 9 rebounds and making 5 assists. A J Carr and Liam Davis hit 26 pts each with Carr taking down 9 rebounds and making 6 assist as Davis hit a double double with 13 rebounds to add to his 26 points. Asher Ndah scored 9 points and took down 8 rebounds as the academy player continues his growth at the senior level.


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Date Time League Season
14/12/2019 19:30 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


Worthing LC
46 Shaftesbury Ave, Worthing, West Sussex BN12 4EQ, UK

Rockets face final double header of 2019

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.

Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Bradford Dragons



Reading Rockets78Win
Bradford Dragons75Loss

With injury and sickness having depleted Coach Keane’s squad and interfered with his game preparation, he had no hesitation in promoting 18yo Asher Ndah to the starting five. The John Madejski Academy student showed not only his talent but also his invaluable worth to Rockets at this top level as he blitzed the opening quarter with ten personal point but also stroked a key buzzer beating treble getting Rockets to within a single point of their visitors at the interval.

In fact the first score of the game was a treble from Ndah and though the mercurial Nick Richards spun to extend Rockets early advantage, a 6-0 Bradford Dragons run caused Coach Keane to call a time-out. Liam Davis hit a jump shot and then a long two but Dragons shooting guard David Walsh was on electric form hitting three trebles in the opening period as he also took the last shot to give the visitors a 27-20 lead at the first break.

Guard Ben Dixon took his usual charge, a characteristic of the Aussie and then he drove, drew the foul and made a crucial three point play and cause Dragons Head Coach Chris Mellor to take a time-out. Another pair of trebles from the Dragons guard Walsh was matched with fast breaks and steals from Rockets which they converted into points to reduce the deficit. A Davis block lit up the court and a Richards electrically fast back track stopped a certain Dragons score. A brace of free throws from Carr brought Rockets to within three points before another Dragons treble. However the tempo had now increased markedly by the hosts and with Carr scoring off an offensive rebound and receiving an assist from Richards to add to his score, it was just left to the young Ndah to stroke the buzzer beating treble seeing the home team behind by just 45-46 at the interval.

As the third quarter started Dragons Walsh had scored 22 of their 46 points so was clearly a target for Rockets better defence….and how well they stopped him throughout the remainder of the game as Walsh didn’t add to his personal score. Davis and Richards gave Rockets the lead at the start of the period and then a Richards steal and finger roll coupled to a Dixon drive and a Davis pull up jump shot saw Rockets 55-50 up. Ndah and Dixon double teamed Dragons to cause the visitors to turn the ball over much to the delight of the appreciative crowd and then Matias Boho hit a wide treble to increase Rockets lead midway through the quarter having also kept Dragons to just four points in that time. Carr needed a further rest having been winded in one collision , and he didn’t have much wind at the start of the game !!.Captain Potter came in for a three point play but five unanswered points including a buzzer beating Dragons treble meant Rockets lead was just 63-61 as the final quarter beckoned.


Date Time League Season
08/12/2019 17:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


John Madejski Academy
112-118 Hartland Rd, Reading, Reading RG2, UK