Tag: #rockets

Rockets looking to bounce back from cup final defeat with trip to Loughborough

Reading Rockets (13-5) will return to NBL Division One action this weekend when they take on Loughborough Riders (10-5) on Sunday afternoon, 2pm tip-off. The Reading team missed out on the first piece of silverware last weekend when they were beaten 90-67 by Team Solent Kestrels in the National Cup Final so will be looking to bounce back in league play and keep up the pressure at the top of the table as they push for a top four finish.

Sunday’s meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with Rockets taking their home game in comprehensive fashion, winning 93-70 back in October. Since that match-up, Rockets have lost American AJ Carr through injury but gained British forward Leome Francis whilst the Riders have added former junior Rocket Harrison Gamble to their line up alongside Jonas Dieterich who re-joined the East Midlands outfit after a spell in the first team with Leicester Riders.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was understandably disappointed to see his team defeated in the National Cup but was very proud of his younger players stepping up and knows this will be necessary again this weekend. The Irishman said,

“We have really enjoyed our cup run and although we are disappointed not to win the competition, I am very proud of my team for the way they performed but now we are excited to get back to league action and chase a top four finish.”

“A very positive step this weekend was how our EABL (Elite Academies Basketball League) players stepped up and showed us they are ready for that next level of play and it is more than likely we will need them again this weekend with the injuries we currently have.”

“Loughborough are one of the best teams in the division and have bolstered their roster since we last played them. They play a good brand of basketball and are very well coached so it will be a tough trip there to gain a win and keep up the goal of finishing in the top four but I know the players are hungrier than ever to keep performing to the best of their ability with what we have as a group.”

Rockets go in to Sunday’s game with two major injury concerns and a notable absence. Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor both missed out during last Sunday’s National Cup final defeat to Solent and are a big doubt for the match-up against Loughborough. 6’5 forward Boho Sayo is currently sidelined with knee ligament damage whilst 6’3 guard Mayor has an achillies issue and it is unknown when either player can return to action. Co-captain Ed Potter, who pulled down 13 rebounds in the National Cup final, is also unavailable for this weekend’s encounter but in better news for the Berkshire outfit, Leome Francis comes back in after being cup-tied last weekend and the 6’5 forward will make his away debut for the Reading team after his first outing at home with a 28 point 17 rebound double double. Academy players Ross Stepney and Kivuvu Live made significant contributions last weekend with Coach Keane likely to call upon his youth once again as Rockets go in search of win number 14 of their 2019-2020 campaign.

Remember for 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 – Cup Final – Solent Kestrels v Reading Rockets

Solent Kestrels 90 v 67 Reading Rockets.

Despite losing the National Cup Final on Sunday to the unbeaten Kestrels both Rockets Chairman Gary Johnson  and Head Coach Alan Keane were extremely proud of the way the depleted team played and represented Rockets in one of only 3 National trophies this season.

A final Saturday morning fitness test on both Spanish players, Matias Boho and Pau Mayor, revealed that neither could participate in any way due to knee ligament and Achilles injuries respectively, so coupled to the absence of long term injured A J Carr and new signing Leome Francis being cup tied, the Berkshire outfit took to the court with just 4 senior players. However the six Academy players made much contribution as they played 43% of the game showing just how blessed Rockets is with such talent for today and the future. ‘Our programme is designed for the development of young players and giving them exposure at the highest level of English basketball’ said Rockets Chairman ‘And in Alan Keane we have the very best coach to develop these players for either USA colleges or the professional game in main land Europe as well as with Rockets ‘ added Johnson.  He was immensely proud of Rockets achievement in reaching the National Cup Final and the way they played throughout the game, playing hard and raising their game from what looked like a game too far with the devastating injuries Rockets currently have.

Obviously Head Coach Alan Keane was disappointed with the loss but nonetheless very proud of his young academy players. The talented and deep Kestrels squad  imposed themselves on the game from the tip hitting the opening 6 points but Ben Dixon and Liam Davis hit back with drives and jump shots whilst Nick Richards hit a fade away shot and then immediately ran the length of the court to make a stop letting all the Rockets supporters and his team mates know that Rockets were here to play at their best whatever the circumstances.

After the 15-28 first quarter reverse Rockets lost the services of Davis as he was called for a second foul when Rockets fans thought he’d made a great block. Besides the ball not dropping into the basket as frequently as they’d hoped, Rockets persevered as Ed Potter was working tirelessly inside scoring and taking down rebounds with Dixon adding to his personal points tally though it was a 19 point deficit at the interval as Rockets trailed 30-49.

Just what could Coach Keane get out of his team in the second half. An excellent display is the answer as Rockets won the third quarter 19-16 and just lost this half by the smallest of differences 37-41 as Richards came alive offensively hitting 18 points , young Ross Stepney hit Rockets sole treble , David Chive took down 8 rebounds and made 3 steals as Rockets upped the intensity and speed. Davis enjoyed one of the few slam dunks in the game and Rockets players flung themselves on the floor to hustle for possession but a brace of trebles from Kestrels in the last minute gave the scoreboard an unfair reflection on Rockets efforts.

The game’s top scorer was Rockets Nick Richards who hit 22 pts, took down 8 rebounds and made a pair of steals and 5 assists in a complete performance. Rockets Ed Potter had a double double with 16 pts and 13 rebounds whilst Liam Davis scored 10 pts and took down 9 rebounds . It would be remiss not to mention Academy player David Chive who also took down 8 rebounds and made 3 steals to compliment his 5 points.


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Reading Rockets Under 18 Girls v Ipswich

Reading Rockets Under 18 Girls 57-60 Ipswich

From tip to buzzer this was an enthralling affair as defending champions Rockets trailed by a single score for most of the game but levelled with 2 minutes remaining and were just 2 points down with 8.1 seconds on the clock and certainly in the ascendancy but one very tough foul call went against Rockets and Ipswich sealed the game from the free throw line.

Anabel Latorre scored Rockets first points before the player of the game, Rockets Sitota Gines opened her account. Jess Ford scored inside and captain Gabi Sanchez led by example by taking an early charge before Gines made a superb steal, went coast to coast and finished giving Rockets a 10-6 early advantage. Gines took a charge but 4 unanswered Ipswich points drew the game level for the first time at 10 each midway through the opening period. A 7-0 Ipswich run caused Rockets Head Coach Antonio Acuna to call a time out from which Latorre scored inside again bringing the score to 16-19 against Rockets as the quarter ended.

A second big Ipswich treble took them out to an 8 point lead at 24-16 but Gines reduced the deficit and Sanchez finished a fine spoon move . Ford hit a jump shot and Gines made a 3 point play to see Rockets adrift by a single point at 25-26. However another crucial Ipswich  treble edged them further ahead. Rockets’ determination shone through again with Sanchez as she raced the length of the court to stop another Ipswich score quickly followed by Carmen Segura Moreno hitting a buzzer beating treble leaving Rockets 28-34 down at the interval.

The third period began with huge intensity from both finalists but neither team scoring before Latorre hit a brace of free throws. Unfortunately Ipswich hit another treble though Gines kept Rockets in touch with a fine drive and score. Rockets upped the tempo a little and showed great tenacity with a couple of key floor hustles, a Latorre block before the outstanding Gines made a steal, went coast to coast to score as Rockets stayed in contention at 38-43 as the final stanza began.

Latorre made a excellent stop and then finished well inside but Ipswich now had a 47-40 advantage with just 6 minutes to go. A Segura Moreno stop and a Ford finish was quickly followed by four Gines points as Rockets got within a single point at 48-49. The atmosphere in the packed Essex University Arena was amazing and though Rockets were knocked back with a buzzer beating Ipswich treble the courageous Rockets girls fought on levelling the game on 52 as Gines and Ford scored with less than 3 minutes remaining. Latorre made a stop but then hit 4 points before Ford made a jump shot to see the score 54-56 with just 48.8 seconds left and Rockets playing brilliantly. However a very tough officials call which many people in the arena thought had gone Rockets way was called against them and Ipswich hit a point from the free throw line to be three up and saw two of Rockets key players fouled out and Ipswich score both free throws.  Mia Thompson tried a huge treble but was fouled so went to the line. She hit all three penalty shots so Rockets were now just 57-59 adrift with 8.1 secs remaining on the clock. Ipswich took a time-out and scored a single point but Rockets’ brave effort was about to be extinguished as the 3 point effort fell short and Ipswich took the cup 60-57.

This was a great advert for the very best of Under 18 Girls basketball as witnessed by the packed arena. Top scorers for Rockets were Sitota Gines with the game’s highest points total of 21 which was complemented with 14 rebounds, 6 steals, 5 assists and a block whilst Anabel Latorre also had a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds as Jess Ford hit 10 points.

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

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Liverpool Basketball Club



Reading Rockets96Win
Liverpool Basketball84Loss

When you join a new club you hope to make an impression early. Well Leome Francis certainly did that at Rivermead on Sunday afternoon as he had a double double with 28 pts and 17 rebounds bringing much acknowledgement from his team mates, his Head Coach and the Rockets supporters alike. The game began with Francis on the bench having only had 2 training sessions since his transfer from Northampton Titans in mid- week but four minutes into the game Coach Keane released the 6’5” forward , who has been recruited to help fill the vacancy left by A J Carr’s season long broken hand., onto the court to tumultuous applause….and he didn’t disappoint as he led all Rockets players with 8 personal points in the opening quarter as well as dominating the boards. Liam Davis had scored Rockets first points with a floater before David Chive stroked a treble and Nick Richards hit both penalty shots as he was fouled as he drove to score. The returning Aussie Ben Dixon gave the first of his seven assists to Francis to score before the forward spun and finished giving Rockets a single point lead at 13—12. A crucial Richards block interrupted the three point shooting of the visitors who had tied the scores on 17, 20 and 23 as they hit four trebles in the opening period and edged ahead 24-23.

Liverpool extended their advantage as they scored the opening five points inside the opening 90 seconds of quarter two to lead 29-23, much to the annoyance of Coach Keane. Francis stopped the rot and Richards again scored with a pair of free throws before Francis scored inside and then Liam Davis was also secure from the penalty stripe as he took down an offensive rebound, tying the scores on 31. Richards stole the ball and sent an assist to Davis to slam dunk before Spanish guard Pau Mayor scored and Richards sent an assist to Francis and eased Rockets ahead 38-32 with an 11-3 run, causing Liverpool to call a time -out. In their next 2 possessions the visitors stroked a brace of trebles , so much a part of their armoury and with two brothers Reiss and Ellis Haggith. Davis scored well inside and drew the foul making it a 3 point play moments before Dixon gave an assist for Richards to finish exquisitely with a finger roll and seeing the hosts in the locker room with a 48-43 lead.

Rockets opened the scoring at the start of the third period as the two big men imposed themselves as Francis took down an offensive rebound and gave an assist to Davis to score with his trademark slam dunk . Dixon drove and scored before a 3 man fast break was finished with a Davis slam. Rockets defence was improving as Richards made a block and Francis a stop as Rockets enjoyed a 56-47 lead . A Francis base line drive and score was followed by a spin and score but the Liverpool sharp shooters struck again with a treble to stay 5-6 points adrift throughout the quarter which finished 64-59 in Rockets favour.

Rockets powered in 32 points in this final stanza as Richards helped himself to 13 points and the twin big men attackers hit 11 between them. A pair of Davis jump shots got Rockets up and running before Dixon waited for the fast approaching Richards to rise high, score and hit the penalty shot as he was fouled in scoring. Richards gave an assist to Chive who followed up that score with a pull up jump shot too. Francis gave an assist to Richards who then made a pair of audacious steals and finishes to see Rockets with a double digit lead of 88-78. Mayor scored with a lay-up before Francis finished his cameo debut with a brace of offensive rebounds and scores. Needless to say he was the Nando’s Impact Player of the Game .

With Rockets facing a mid-week game at Barking Abbey on Tuesday evening, Head Coach Alan Keane is hoping that Matias Boho will be fit .

Top scorers for Rockets were Leome Francis with 28 pts, 17 rebounds whilst also drawing 7 fouls. Nick Richards hit 23 pts, made 6 steals and gave 4 assists as Liam Davis hit 21 pts, and took down 7 rebounds. David Chive was Rockets other player finishing with 11 pts, as the academy players also took down 4 rebounds.


Date Time League Season
26/01/2020 15:30 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020


24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

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

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