Tag: #NBL

Rockets to take on high scoring Thunder

Reading Rockets (14-9) will be up against one of the leagues highest scoring teams this weekend when they entertain Worthing Thunder at Rivermead Leisure Complex on Sunday, 5pm tip-off. Rockets split last weekend’s games but were victorious in their second encounter as they finally stopped the rot of four consecutive league defeats when they beat Bradford Dragons 86-63 after losing out to Derby Trailblazers the night before 104-97.

This Sunday’s opponents recorded an incredible 80 point victory over relegation threatened Liverpool last weekend as they put 150 points on their opponents to 70 to keep themselves in contention for a top three finish. Runaway leaders Team Solent Kestrels claimed the NBL Division One title after a pair of wins last weekend with Thames Valley Cavaliers almost certain to now claim the runners-up spot in the division.

The meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with the Rockets claiming an impressive 100-81 away win at the Thunderdome back in December.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash against Worthing, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane highlighted what a force to be reckoned with this Sunday’s opponents are and the importance of the game at this late stage of the season. The Irishman said,

“Arguably the most potent scoring team in league, Worthing Thunder certainly proved that as they unloaded 150 points last weekend in one game! A team who are capable to have all five players on the floor who can shoot the 3 ball really well.”

“Worthing will certainly stretch the capacity of our defence, however on the other end we will have to be very aggressive attacking the basket relentlessly. An important game for both teams with playoff seedings we should see the best that both teams have to offer.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s game with no new injury concerns and should continue to have a fully fit squad available after an injury-strewn season. All of the Berkshire outfits concerns have returned to full training and game play with Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor the latest to be declared fully fit. Coach Keane will be buoyed by the valuable minutes given by academy duo Ross Stepney and Asher Ndah last weekend as well as new signing Leome Francis who has made a positive impact since beginning life in Reading last month.

Rockets will know a win this weekend keeps them right in the play-off mix but defeat for the Reading team will all but consign them to seventh place in the division and a tough quarter-final away trip in the post season to this year’s runners-up. To keep up to date with all the latest news and information, 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 – Bradford Dragons v Reading Rockets



Bradford Dragons63Loss
Reading Rockets86Win

Following the disappointing loss to Derby the night before, Rockets launched themselves from tip at the Den with a 11-0 blitz thanks to the twin towers of Leome Francis and Liam Davis coupled to a drive and assist from Pau Mayor and a wide shot form Academy starter Asher Ndah. Bradford broke the run but Rockets were soon back at a pace as Nick Richards made a great interception which he followed with a fine stop leaving Rockets in control at 23-9 at the first break.

Richards was again at his defensive best with a block before he received an assist from Francis to score giving Rockets a 30-19 lead mid-way through the second period. Ben Dixon came off the bench to drive and score but with Rockets in team foul trouble , Dragons hit 4 form 4 form the penalty stripe to reduce the deficit to 26- 36 at the interval.

After both Head Coaches had used the interval very effectively a most competitive third quarter was dished up for the supporters. Rockets again launched themselves into the game with a 9-0 opening run but Dragons drained three trebles in this 23-24 period. Again it was encouraging to see Ndah stroke a treble and Matias Boho also hit one as Rockets upped their shooting percentage too. Dixon drove repeatedly for 6 personal points whilst Richards was at the offensive end also hitting 6 personal points. After having to sit out much of the game due to personal foul trouble Davis scored again but the best move of the period was a Dixon block, a fast pass to Richards who returned the assist and Dixon finished with a finger roll. Richards completed Rockets scoring with a long two to secure Rockets lead at 60-49.

Matias Boho made a steal and then stopped Dragons next offence before David Chive made a steal and score. When Ed Potter scored Rockets had continued their excellent start to another quarter with a 8-0 run. Boho stroked a brace of trebles and Chive hit another as Rockets took the final period 26-14 to secure a fine win. Ndah took a charge in the final moments to show Rockets determination to play hard throughout the game.

The victory has secured Rockets place in the Play-off Championship but now they have 3 games to see how high in the league they can finish to establish if they have a home or away quarter final.

Top scorers for Rockets were Leome Francis with 19 points and 10 rebounds as Nick Richards hit 17 points with 7 rebounds, Matias Boho 11 pts and Ben Dixon with 10 pts.

Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040


Date Time League Season
08/03/2020 16:15 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


Bradford College
31 Great Horton Rd, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1AT, UK

Match Report – Derby Trailblazers v Reading Rockets



Derby Trailblazers104Win
Reading Rockets97Loss

Other than Sam Grant who’s slowly recovering, Head Coach Alan Keane had a full squad for the away double header weekend starting with high flying Derby who were on a winning streak of 5-0.

It proved a tough assignment especially when one of the league’s best players, Malcolm Smith ,was in outstanding form as he poured in 33 points though Rockets pair of Liam Davis and Nick Richards had 27 and 25 points respectively as Rockets fought back from a disappointing opening half (38 -51 ) but took the second half 59- 53 though the victory eluded them.

Derby raced into a 7-0 lead before Liam Davis hit back to back scores though Leome Francis and Ben Dixon were called for offensive fouls on the dangerous Smith. Smith hit 18 of Derby’s 30 first quarter points with their Spanish guard helping himself to 8 including a rare 4 point play as he stroked the penalty point having hit a wide treble when being fouled. Davis scored 10 of Rockets 19 points in this period but Rockets’ lead scorer Nick Richards was kept quiet.

The second quarter began with Richards being his usual influential self , hitting 9 personal points and giving assists around the court. Though Rockets lost this period 19-21, there were signs of increased hope for the travelling supporters as Rockets got to within 6 points adrift of Trailblazers but then missed a score and Trailblazers hit a treble as Rockets trailed 38-51 at the interval.

Derby shot out of the blocks on the re-start as they hit 6 unopposed points to find themselves 19 up and even though Pau Mayor hit a treble , Derby replied immediately with one of their own. Richards stroked a treble as did Matias Boho and Mayor went 3 from 3 from the free throw line before Ben Dixon stroked a treble and Rockets were a much improved team chasing Derby though still being edged out by 29-28 in the third quarter and finding themselves 66-80 down.
Richards had hit double figures and Rockets hit 9 more points than in either of the two first quarters.

An 11-5 run at the start of the final period had Rockets within single figures of Derby as Rockets’ twin towers of Davis and Francis went to work inside hitting 19 points between them . Unfortunately Derby’s Bowman hit back to back trebles to give Trailblazers a 95-83 advantage with 4 minutes remaining. A Mayor assist to Francis followed by a drive by the Spaniard drew Rockets close again and they reduced the deficit to just 5 with just over a minute to go and the Derby supporters were nervous but then a slip by Smith was adjudged a foul and Derby stayed ahead but Rockets were playing much better and finished on a high taking the final period 31-24 .

Rockets top scorers were Liam Davis with 27, Nick Richards with 25, Pau Mayor with 18 and Leome Francis with 12.


Date Time League Season
07/03/2020 19:30 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre
14 Bracknell Dr, Derby DE24 0BP, UK

Rockets facing play-off battle in remaining five games

Reading Rockets (13-8) will be hoping to put their recent run of three consecutive losses behind them when they face a daunting double header weekend as they visit play-off rivals Derby Trailblazers (14-7) on Saturday evening, 7.30pm tip-off, before heading further north to take on Bradford Dragons (11-10) on Sunday afternoon, 4.15pm tip-off.

Rockets suffered a surprising defeat to relegation threatened Essex and Herts Leopards who chalked up only their third win in 21 outings against the Berkshire outfit as the earned a hard fought 91-97 overtime victory to keep their hopes alive of remaining in NBL Division One.

The Reading team still have it all to do if they are to now qualify for the post season and face two teams either side of them in the league table. Rockets lost out to Saturday’s opponents back in December by 77 points to 102 but were able to beat Bradford the following weekend as they recorded a narrow 78-75 success.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was disappointed to see his team slip up against a rejuvenated Leopards outfit but still knows his team is on a journey and is confident his group can bounce back this weekend. The Irishman said,

“Last weekend was a tough loss for us but credit must go to Essex who played so much better than their league position. Despite this disappointment, we must continue to work hard and grow this weekend in practice ahead of a really tough double header weekend.”

“Derby have just come off the back of a really impressive win over Thames Valley Cavaliers and it will take a lot to stop their inside threat but we will plan and prepare for that this week as we do with every game.”

“We then travel to Bradford who will give us some similar problems to solve with defending the paint and the battle of the boards working against players like (Ricky) Fetske and (Rihard) Sulcs so it’s two very challenging but important games this weekend and the test will be can we prepare well enough and execute on Saturday before recovering in time for another tough game on Sunday.”

Rockets were able to field a near to fully fit team last Sunday for the first time in two months with Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor returning to full practice last week. Australian Ben Dixon was able to play despite a dislocated finger sustained in training and Under 18 forward Sam Grant was also available for selection after a four month lay-off with a back injury.

Having lost four games on the bounce in all competitions the Berkshire outfit will be looking to keep up their excellent record of reaching the post season in all ten of their previous NBL Division One campaigns as they 2019-2020 campaign begins to reach it’s climax.

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

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Essex & Herts Leopards



Reading Rockets91Loss
Essex & Herts Leopards97Win

In a pulsating game where the lead changed hands 19 times and the game was tied on 12 occasions, it was only appropriate that a winner was going to have be found in overtime.

With the addition of 3 BBL professional players picked up when London City Capitals went out of business at the end of January, Rockets were only too well prepared for a very different game with Leopards whom they’d beaten in 3 earlier games this season. Elvisi Dusha and Orlan Jackman were awesome throughout the game as Dusha stroked 6 trebles in his games top scorer 34 points whilst Jackman had a double double with 26 points and 12 rebounds though Rockets led the stats in points from turnovers, points in the paint, second chance points and fast break points.

Rockets twin tower offence of Liam Davis and Leome Francis troubled Leopards from tip to buzzer with returning Ed Potter having a great second quarter to keep Rockets within a score at the interval. After an opening period when Nick Richards and Pau Mayor hit trebles, Rockets found themselves adrift by a single point at 20-21 before Potter scored 4 times under the basket as he took down offensive rebounds to see Rockets just 42 – 44 down at the interval after Dusha banked trebles with his first shot of the second quarter and again with a heart wrenching buzzer beating one at the end of the period.

Seven Rockets players scored in the third quarter as Head Coach Alan Keane tried all combinations to stop Leopards sharp shooters whilst also finishing better themselves but Rockets found themselves 5 points adrift for most of this third period before a Leome Francis 3 point play and a buzzer beating Mayor treble saw the deficit exactly the same at 2 down at 62 – 64 as the fourth quarter beckoned.

Rockets were sharply out of the blocks at the start of the final stanza as Francis finished a Rockets fast break to tie the game on 64 with awesome American guard Nick Richards tying it again on 66and 68 before Francis gave Rockets the slenderest of leads at 70 – 69. A Chive steal and finish was quickly followed by a Chive treble and Rockets had opened up a 78 -71 advantage causing Leopards to take a time out with just over 6 minutes of normal game time remaining. Despite Richards efforts a brace of trebles saw Rockets lead drop to just 2 points at 80-78 midway through the quarter but again Potter finished inside . With 2 minutes and 45 seconds left Rockets called a time-out and Matias Boho hit his first 2 points of the game seeing Rockets 3 up with 1 minute 21 to go. Up again comes Dusha with a treble to tie the game on 86 and despite both teams having time and opportunity to secure the win, neither team took them so the first overtime this season lay ahead.

Despite Leopards having possession it was Richards who scored first for Rockets before making a steal scoring and drawing the foul as Rockets enjoyed a 5 point lead at 91 -86 with 2 minutes 44 seconds left on the clock. However a 11-0 finish including a pair of trademark trebles form Leopards gave them the victory in a most entertaining and competitive game which sees Rockets in sixth place in the league with just 5 league games remaining.

Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 28 pts., 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals as Leome Francis had a double double with 18 pts., and 12 rebounds with Ed Potter doing similar with 14 pts and 10 rebounds and Liam Davis making it three Rockets players with double doubles as he hit 10 pts and took down 11 rebounds .


Date Time League Season
01/03/2020 17:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK