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Match Report – Rockets secure Cup semi-final spot

Essex + Herts Leopards 82-98 Reading Rockets

After an outstanding league win the previous evening to second placed Worthing Thunder, moving Rockets into joint second themselves, Head Coach Alan Keane needed to ensure this quarter final was not an ‘ after the Lord Mayor’s show’ performance.

Leopards leapt out of the box with a brisk 8-2 opening run before Rockets outstanding threesome from the night before imposed themselves with Carr making a spin move, Nick Richards giving an assist for Liam Davis to slam before the power forward made a big block and went the length of the court to drive but was fouled so hit a pair of free throws seeing Rockets on a 8-0 run and the lead at 10-8. The scores remained tied on 12 and 14 but five quick Leopards points including a treble eased them ahead, a lead they kept to the end of the quarter at 21-18 .

A 26-18 second period for Rockets was lit by 18 yo David Chive as he hit nine personal points coupled to A J Carr stroking his first treble of the game. From 20-27 adrift Rockets came back to level on 29 before Nick Richards took an offensive rebound, scored and drew the foul . A Leopards treble was matched by Rockets and the game tied again on 37 before a Richards storm of six lightning quick pints, a Matias Boho block and a Pau Mayor penalty score saw Rockets into the locker room with a 44-39 lead. The interval stats sheet showed both teams were evenly matched on virtually everything from points in the paint, points from turnovers, fast break points , biggest scoring runs and biggest lead so would Rockets suffer from the double header weekend as the third period beckoned with Rockets having a slender 44-39 lead.

Not at all. In fact it was a game changing quarter as Rockets hit 39 points with Richards scoring thirteen, Davis eleven and Mayor eight as they took the game by the scruff of the neck and launched themselves towards the semi final with a 83-60 advantage. Carr sent an arrow pass to 17 yo Asher Ndah to score and moments later Ndah made a stop. Carr stroked a treble and then in the next offence took down an offensive rebound and gave Davis a three point play as he was fouled when scoring. Rockets were flying high and some great team play saw Richards hit a treble from the top of the key to lead 59-43 mid way through the quarter. Leopards stroked four trebles to stay in contention but the mercurial American Richards was a joy to behold as he hit a pull up jump shot and then made a characteristic steal and finish. Mayor did likewise and closed Rockets scoring for the period which they won 39-21.

With such an advantage you may have thought Rockets might have stepped off the gas but no chance as Rockets defence was prominent from the start of this quarter causing Leopards into a 24 second violation . Coach Keane gave his academy players Ndah, Chive and David Obediah more court time with Obediah scoring with a jump shot. Leopards hit a brace of trebles to encourage the hosts supporters but Rockets eased into the semi-final stage with a 98-82 victory.

Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 33 pts, 7 rebounds , 4 assists and a huge 6 steals. Liam Daviis had another double double with 19 pts and 10 rebounds. A J Carr hit 16 pts, took down 7 rebounds and made 6 assists with Pau Mayor now recovered from his leg and knee injury and scoring 11 pts and taking down 5 rebounds.


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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

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Reading Rockets announce new partnership with Secure Media Services

The Reading Rockets are delighted to announce a new partnership with Secure Media Services who will be supporting our NBL Division 1 Men in 2019-2020 season. Secure Media Services offer a range of logistic solutions with a focus on flexible, customer centric experiences.

The Reading based company that operates worldwide, has supported the family club for a number of years but decided to take the step into sponsorship for the current season. Reading Rockets owner Gary Johnson said “We’re extremely grateful for the support of Jamie and his company, Secure Media Services. After a few meetings he could see our vision over the next 3 years and the strides we’ve made off the court with our league leading live stream and increased presence in the digital space.” Gary went on to say “External sponsorship is vital for the longevity and planned growth of our club over the next few seasons and we feel local businesses, like Jamie’s Secure Media Services, are brilliantly aligned in terms of outlook, culture, and drive.”

Jamie Ward, who is the founder and owner of Secure Media Services, is preparing for a busy period with Black Friday and Christmas approaching, believes the partnership truly benefits both organisations “The work The Rockets do in the community, as well as their impeccable reputation around Reading and the UK made partnering easy”. He also commented on the potential exposure his company can see through this sponsorship “Reading Rockets have significant followings across the social media platforms as well as a live stream that can sees thousands of views each game which can only benefit the visibility of SMS”.

You can see the Secure Media Services logo printed on the home kit shorts as well as their banners at all Rockets games.

Please be sure to visit https://www.securemediaservices.co.uk/ to see how they can help with any of your personal or business logistics…And be sure to say hello to Jamie at home games!

Rockets looking to continue good form with the visit of Derby Trailblazers

Reading Rockets (7-2) will be looking to keep up their excellent form this weekend as they welcome Derby Trailblazers (5-4) to Reading on Sunday afternoon (5pm tip-off), finally returning to their regular home venue of Rivermead Leisure Complex. Rockets secured a pair of wins last weekend grinding out an 81-67 away win at basement outfit Essex and Herts Leopards (0-9) before advancing to the National Cup quarter-finals with the narrowest of victories in Nottingham, beating the Hoods 78-77 to make it nine wins out of ten in all competitions.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was a happy man after last weekend’s double success but will be hoping his team recover in time for this Sunday’s clash against Derby when they entertain the East Midlands side back in front of their home crowd, something the Irishman is looking forward to. He said,

“Coming off a double header weekend away and three games on the bounce away from the Rivermead, it will be really exciting to get back to playing in front of our home fan base. Derby, another potential top four team in the league will bring different challenges. A team very well coached team who compete as tough as any team in the league. They are capable to score in a variety of ways but obviously Malcolm Smith will need a lot of attention from us. A tough run of league games coming our way and Derby presents as big as challenge as any.”

The Berkshire outfit go into Sunday’s match-up with a number of injury and illness concerns. British guard Ed Potter missed Sunday’s National Cup win against Nottingham with a suspected broken finger and the Reading team won’t know if he will be able to play this weekend until just before the game. Young British point guard David Chive missed both last weekend’s games through illness but the Rockets are hoping the 18 year old makes a full recovery before this weekend’s top of the table clash. Spanish guard Pau Mayor was also out of action last Sunday with a dead leg after featuring heavily during Saturday’s victory over Essex and Herts Leopards. The 23 year old has been receiving treatment on his thigh complaint and will also be a game time decision alongside Ed Potter. Finally, academy player and GB Under 18 Sam Grant also missed last weekend’s double triumph with an ongoing back injury and knee complaint he sustained in an EABL game against Barking Abbey but it is unsure if he will be back to feature this weekend.

With Coach Keane sweating on the fitness of a number of players you can keep up to date with all the latest news and information by following 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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