Tag: #rockets

Rockets to take on Liverpool as fight for top four heats up

Reading Rockets (11-5) will be looking to use last Sunday’s National Cup semi-final victory as a springboard in the league when they host Liverpool (2-14) on Sunday afternoon, 15:30pm tip-off at Rivermead in Round 17 of the regular season. Rockets defeated NBL Division Two outfit Myerscough College last weekend, running out 78-59 winners to secure their place in next month’s National Cup final where they will face unbeaten league leaders Solent Kestrels.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased to see his team reach their first final during his tenure but is fully focused on next Sunday’s match-up with Liverpool. The Irishman said,

“It is great for our club to be back in a national final and I am delighted for our fans and everyone associated with the team that we will have the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in an historic competition.”

“Attention now must to turn Sunday’s game against Liverpool who have been really unfortunate with their run of results so far this season and with a lot of changes to their roster. Their recent games against Worthing and Hemel shows they are well up for the fight to stay in the division having being tied with one of the best teams in the league right at the end of the game so we will need to be fully prepared for what they will bring to us because they still have a very talented team.”

Sunday’s meeting will be the second of the season between the two sides with the Reading team securing a hard fought away win back in November 86-90. Liverpool’s only successes to date have been against Barking and Bradford with only Essex and Herts securing less wins than the Merseyside outfit.

Rockets go into Sunday’s clash with Liverpool having added to their roster. 6’5 British Forward Leome Francis has joined the Berkshire outfit on a short term deal having signed from NBL Division Three outfit Northamptonshire Titans. The 29 year old has had spells at Hemel Storm, Derby Trailblazers, and Leicester Warriors and joins the Rockets after the loss of American AJ Carr due to a season ending hand injury. Francis has been training with the team over the last few weeks and has put pen to paper ahead of the transfer deadline on 31st January.

Australian Ben Dixon will also be back in action this Sunday after returning from his native country so Coach Keane should have a fully fit and available squad to select from boosted by positive performances from academy players Asher Ndah and Kivuvu Live in Sunday’s cup triumph over Myerscough.

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

Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Myerscough College – National Cup Semi Final



Reading Rockets77Win
Myerscough College58Loss

Rockets reached their first final in 4 years after reaching the Div.1 Play-off championship and National Trophy semi-finals in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively.

Despite being without the services of Sam Grant ( long term back injury) coupled to the absence of Rockets Australian guard Ben Dixon, (back home at his brother’s wedding) , Rockets eased themselves into the final with speed of transition causing Myerscough to turn the ball over too much and Rockets capitalising with 35 points from this source alone. With a comfortable lead in the initial three periods, Coach Keane gave his 6 academy players much court time in the final quarter as they gain experience for the final on Sun 2nd Feb at Essex University with a 3.30 pm tip. Rockets couldn’t complete the transfer of their new recruit before the game but he’ll be registered for next week’s Sunday Rivermead game against Liverpool. Which tips at 3.30 pm.

Liam Davis scored Rockets first points with a left handed hook before Pau Mayor finished with a lay-up . Nick Richards began his usual up beat tempo with a fine drive and score, also drawing the foul and making it a 3 point play. Matias Boho took an assist from Richards to stroke a treble from the top of the key and see Rockets enjoy a lead of 16-8 before Coach Keane introduced Ross Stepney and Asher Ndal onto court and seeing Rockets go to the first break with a 22-16 advantage.

Richards and Ndah were the high personal points contributors of the second period with 8 and 7 points respectively with 17 yo Ndah hitting an impressive treble and making another three point play as he was fouled in scoring and then hit the penalty shot too. Rockets had quickly moved to a 36-18 lead before Richards finished with a tip in after rising high and mighty above the opposition. Another academy player, Kivuvu Live, made his debut appearance at Rivermead and soon hit a jump shot to score . Rockets captain, Ed Potter, was leading by example by taking a charge but Rockets thirteen steals showed the main difference between the teams at the interval with Rockets 46-28 ahead.

Myerscough scored first after Rockets missed on their opening possession but it was back to normal service as Richards made yet another steal and then sent an assist to Boho to score. Davis hit a pair from the free throw line as Rockets reached 50 points with a 20 point lead. Mayor and Richards hit trebles whilst Potter worked tirelessly under the basket to score seven personal points as Rockets went into the final quarter 65 – 37 ahead.

Again Myerscough scored first and had a 7-3 run interrupted only as David Chive banked a treble. Kivuvu played well on his debut and hit six more points in this quarter though Myerscough took the opportunity as Coach Keane rested all his senior players and took the final quarter 21-12 . A Kivuvu dish to Chive was one of the highlights of this period as the future looks promising for Rockets academy players as they are such an integral part of Rockets Seniors and seek to further develop themselves at the highest level in English basketball. The final score was 77 -58 though the primary goal was a fine victory and cup final place, something the team delivered and deserved.

Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 16 pts, 6 assists and 4 steals as Matias Boho hit 13 pts, took down 5 rebounds and made 3 steals. Captain Ed Potter was also in double figures as he hit 10 pts and took down 7 rebounds though watching the development of the academy players remains a great joy for the Rockets leadership team and the supporters.


Date Time League Season
19/01/2020 17:00 National Cup 2019 / 2020


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

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

Basketball Hotline 0118 926 3040

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