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Rockets look to bounce back after double defeats last weekend

Coach Keane’s men were defeated 86-75 in NBL Division One Men v Solent and 85-69 in the National Trophy v Essex Leopards as their four game win streak came to an abrupt end.

Captain Danny Carter is struggling with a back injury but still tried his hardest to secure a semi-final spot in the Trophy which now will be down to the last pool game in early January when Hemel Storm play Leopards. Depending on the result of that game, the pool is likely to be decided on points difference so it’s out of Rockets hands now.

Rockets take on Barking Abbey Crusaders in NBL Division One Men on Sunday 2nd December, 5pm tip-off as they look to bounce back and maintain a push for a top four finish in this most competitive of leagues where it appears any team can take each other’s scalp on any weekend,  other than maybe Solent  who look down on all the other teams form their lofty perch in top spot and a 9-0 record.

The Reading team currently lie in seventh place with four wins and three losses whilst Barking sit in tenth position with a record of 2-5

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season with Barking back in NBL Division One Men after a year’s absence

The last meeting between the two teams was in the National Cup two seasons ago when the then NBL Division Two outfit Kent Crusaders caused a cup upset defeating the Rockets 92-83 in the quarter-finals

Assistant Coach Josh Thorne:

“Next weekend is a very important weekend for us. After two losses this weekend we have to have a strong week and continue to grow together and build on our development areas. Our focus remains on ourselves but we will be aware of the threat a young, vibrant Barking team will pose.”

Rockets prepare to continue winning streak

Reading Rockets are back on the road this week following an impressive run of form that has seen them move up into the top-six of the National Basketball League Division 1.

Most recently, the Rockets powered to a 97 v 80 against Hemel Storm in front of a packed Rivermead crowd, extending their run of strong form. Adrian O’Sullivan was named NBL Division 1 Player of the Week following his contribution to the result.

A tough challenge awaits the squad with a combination of NBL and National Trophy action this coming weekend. First up, on Saturday evening, the Rockets will face the unbeaten might of Solent Kestrels. The dominant league leaders, who have scored eight wins in eight, will offer a stern test for the young Rockets line-up.

Rockets will need to conserve some energy for Sunday’s National Trophy game against Essex Leopards, who were triumphant 83-90 in a pre-season friendly. A win would see the Rockets take a semi-final slot in the Trophy and continue their 100% win rate in the pool stages. This fourth double-header of the season follows a weekend off for the team.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “Two great tests coming up for the group this weekend but our focus will be on one game at a time. Solent have started the season very well but if we can take another step with our behaviours to drive performance, we have a very good opportunity in front of us. I have been pleased with the progress we have been making and how we practice has allowed ourselves to push each other further to be better and stronger especially in the face of adversity. An exciting weekend ahead and we will give everything we have to secure two positive outcomes.”

Captain Danny Carter: “Looking forward to getting back onto court after a rest week. We are taking on the undefeated Solent Kestrels, which will really test us and what we are trying to improve on. On Sunday we take on Essex knowing a win will put us into a national semi final. Essex are improving every week and we will need to be ready for a tough challenge. Our last double header weekend ended in two wins and more growth as a group, that’s our aim again”

Rockets in seventh heaven as they aim for top four finish in final weekend of the regular season

Reading Rockets (15-7) will be looking to secure a top four finish in NBL Division One this weekend when they travel to the north for their final regular season games as they face rivals Team Northumbria (15-7) on Saturday afternoon (4pm tip-off) before matching up against the league’s basement team Lancashire Spinners (0-22) on Sunday afternoon (3.45pm tip-off). Rockets secured their seventh victory on the spin last weekend when they defeated league leaders Team Solent Kestrels, claiming a hard fought 78-66 victory to put themselves in contention for a third place finish. If Rockets finish the season with an equal number of wins as Northumbria and Worthing, they have the head to head over Worthing, who are currently fifth placed (14-=8). The Reading team would need to beat Lancashire Spinners on Sunday should Saturday’s affair not go their way to make sure of a top four finish and a home tie in the quarter-finals of the play-offs, scheduled for Sunday 8th April.

Rockets have faced both opponents at home already this season in league play securing victories on each occasion. The Reading outfit captured an 84-72 win most recently over Team Northumbria and also comfortably beat Lancashire Spinners 107-67 back in January but face a tough final league double header this coming weekend.

Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was really pleased to see his team chalk up win number seven in a row as well as deliver a much improved performance but knows this will mean nothing should his team falter during the final weekend of the regular season. The Spanish play-caller said,

I am really happy with last weekend’s win against Solent and the players put in a much better performance than in some of our recent successes so this is very positive for us heading into this weekend’s tough double header. Defensively, we were a lot better but know that this can improve further with more work needed on offence for us to really maximise our potential.

Whilst it is a positive time for us, it is important that we now focus on our game against a very good Team Northumbria this Saturday before we look ahead to Sunday. Sports Central has always been a difficult place to get a win and none more so this weekend with third place on the line for both teams. Preparation for this game will be crucial and if we are able to keep working on being the best version of ourselves and deliver what we know we are capable of then there is no reason why we can’t secure the all important win. We know the talent Coach Mark’s (Steutel, Team Northumbria Head Coach) roster has and there is no doubt he will have them ready to play as he has done so well in past end of seasons. An exciting time and we will be ready!

Rockets go into this weekend’s crunch double header with no current injury concerns: however the Under 18 duo of Adrian Nosa Castillo and Iñigo Perez Baena both remain out of action with injury and games themselves. The Reading team could make it nine consecutive wins to finish their campaign and be a real threat in the play-offs as they look to pick up their first piece of silverware in almost four years.

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


Rockets pit their six game winning streak against champions elect

Reading Rockets (14-7) will look to extend their six game winning streak this weekend as they take on the favourites for the NBL Division One title in the shape of National Trophy winners Team Solent Kestrels (17-3) on Saturday evening at Bohunt School, 5pm tip-off. The Rockets recorded two vital wins in the hunt for a top four finish in the division and home court advantage in the play-off quarter finals by beating Leicester Warriors in overtime on Saturday night 105-102 before returning to Reading and capturing a 109-87 victory against Derby Trailblazers. After their recent National Trophy success, Team Solent Kestrels are also one of the form teams in the league having won their last seven games and 13 out of the last 14 in league play. The two teams have met three times already this season in the National Cup, National Trophy, and league with Saturday’s visitors in charge of the series 3-0 having captured an 89-67 win in the quarter-final of the National Cup, a 93-78 victory in the National Trophy, and a 70-59 success in league play most recently.

Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was pleased to see his team pick up two important wins against two very competitive teams but knows continued work is needed at the defensive end after a duo of high scoring affairs. The Reading play-caller said,

Last weekend we showed some really good character, discipline, and application to get two crucial wins as the regular season draws to a close and I am really pleased with how the players overcame some adversity in both games. Their behaviours have continued to be very good but now we must focus on specific areas starting with defence and how we apply ourselves to this and our tactics during each game. Application and clarity are key at this time of the season especially when you are preparing to play one of the league’s best teams.”

Team Solent have been excellent this season and Coach Matt (Guymon, Team Solent Kestrels’ Head Coach) has done an exceptional job in only their second year back in the league and we know Saturday’s game will be a very hard fought encounter. They have strength and depth at every position but in our last game against them we did a much better job and I believe that with that and our improved performances we have a great chance of securing another win. It is going to be tough and we are really going to need our fans at Bohunt but it should be a really exciting game and we cannot wait to play!

Rockets go into Saturday’s match-up hoping for some better news on the injury front to their Under 19 trio. Forward Alex Drincic has been out of action with tendonitis in his foot but returned to training earlier this week and should be available to play but will be a game time decision. Spaniard Adrian Nosa Castillo is still carrying an ankle injury and will also be assessed before the weekend with his Under 18 team also in action on the same day but it’s likely the 6’4 forward will miss out. His fellow countryman Iñigo Perez Baena will also be a game time decision after corrective surgery on a broken nose. The recently turned 18 year old had manipulation on his injured nose he sustained in an Under 18 game two weeks ago but is keen to play heading into the final few weeks of the season.

After losing five out of six games before their current six game winning streak, the Rockets will be looking to put their mid-season blip behind them as the regular season comes to crunch time with both teams vying for slightly different objectives in the next three games but with all to play for with the post season approaching.

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