• Tue. Nov 28th, 2023

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

British_Basketball_League_(emblem)The action in the BBL is really beginning to heat up and there are a number of potentially crucial match-ups taking place across the country this weekend in front of sell-out crowds.

Having played out an entertaining BBL Cup Final earlier in the month, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Leicester Riders lock horns for the first time in the BBL Championship.

Both teams have one loss to their league record so far and the head-to-head could prove an important factor with first blood on the line in front of a full house at Sport Central tonight.

The Riders will then play in front of another sell-out crowd on Saturday as they open their new Leicester Sports Community Arena against Surrey Scorchers in the BBL Trophy Quarter-Finals, with the game also being live streamed via the skysports.com website.

Sheffield Sharks go into the weekend in the midst of an eight-game winning streak and take on Plymouth University Raiders in a double-header this weekend.

The Sharks host the Raiders in a league encounter tonight, before heading to the Pavilions on Sunday for their BBL Trophy Quarter-Final clash and George Brownell believes his side will be able to cope with any adjustments that are needed.

“We haven’t seen Plymouth yet this season, but looking at their games they’re a team that can score the ball well,” he said.

“There may be one or two little things to change, but if we stick to what do, playing as a team and getting stops then playing them in succession shouldn’t be a problem.

“Obviously it’s always good to be on a streak and get into the habit of winning, but we’ve got to keep coming into every game as though we have something to prove still.

“We’ve been playing very solid defensively and making sure we come out fighting every game.”

The third BBL Trophy Quarter-Final this weekend takes place at the University of Worcester on Sunday with Worcester Wolves hosting Glasgow Rocks in a repeat of the 2014 Final in the competition.

Both teams have league games to worry about before their Trophy showdown with Glasgow entertaining Cheshire Phoenix, and Worcester away at Leeds Force this evening.

Cheshire also welcome London Lions to the Cheshire Oaks Arena in a key battle between two teams in mid-table limbo with the head-to-head series on the line.

The Lions were without Demond Watt when they won 87-72 in the first meeting back in October, and the former Cheshire ace is ready for his return to the North-West.

“I’m looking forward to playing against Cheshire, especially after missing the first game,” he declared.

“Just being able to play in front of those fans again who showed me so much support is going to be good, even if they will be cheering against me this time.

“I don’t want to make it a personal thing regardless of how emotional it can feel – I still have to make sure I’m doing what I need to do to help us win.”

The Lions have not played since losing to Leicester in the First Round of the BBL Trophy on January 8, and Watt believes the break has been good for the team.

“Three weeks off is a long time, but I think the long lay-off has been good for us especially with the way we were playing.

“It has given us time to re-group and get better at things we have been working on and trying to all get on the same page.

“We just need to be more in sync – it’s been tough for us with guys missing time and a couple of transactions, but we just haven’t been able to play consistently together.

“I think the biggest thing for us is getting our defensive principles right then that can give us more confidence offensively and lead to more consistent play.”

Also, on Saturday, Bristol Flyers go up against Leeds in a battle of last season’s BBL newcomers, with both teams aiming to boost their Play-Off chances.

By admin