PREVIEW - Busy double-header weekend in NBL Division One!

NBL Division One

Leicester Warriors vs Reading Rockets

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 3.00pm

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The NBL Division One action for this weekend tips off with Leicester Warriors hosting Reading Rockets at Gateway College. The East Midlands side are coming off a double header that saw them bounce back from falling to 1-2 in league play by booking their place in the National Cup quarter-finals. Saturday's encounter with Hemel Storm did not go the Warriors' way as Hemel started and finished strong to take a commanding victory. Brian Orr led the way for the Warriors in a return to form, dropping 20 points and eight rebounds. Big man Elhji Jabby pulled down 18 rebounds to go along with 16 points as he did work inside the paint.

Meanwhile, a short-handed Reading Rockets also split their weekend double header a week ago, beginning their weekend by taking home the spoils from their league match-up with Thames Valley Cavaliers. Sydney Donaldson paced his side with 28 points and 14 rebounds, while Trae Pemberton added 21 points. The second half of their back-to-back saw the Rockets travel up to the North West to face Manchester Magic. The Magic grabbed a 76-60 win in that one, to knock Reading out of the National Cup. Adrian O'Sullivan was the high point man on the day, as he led the visitors with 18 points. 


Team Newcastle vs Hemel Storm

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 3.00pm

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A difficult weekend double-header for Team Newcastle saw them face the two top teams in NBL Division One back-to-back in league and cup action. Saturday evenings league game on the south coast saw the North East side go down 73-63 at the hands of Worthing Thunder, despite a valiant 22 point effort from David Hanson. Newcastle's fortunes would not improve the following day as they host Team Solent Kestrels in the National Cup. A 68-94 loss saw Coach Ian Hewitt's side bow out of the knockout competition for this year, as they refocus on the league with an upcoming home double header against Hemel and Leicester to contend with.

Meanwhile, the visitors in this one had a much more successful weekend, as they improved to 1-2 in the league by grabbing their first win of the campaign. The 107-77 win over Leicester Warriors was led by Blayne Freckleton and Leon Henry who chipped in 18 points apiece. Hemel followed up their Saturday night win by going on the road to Barking Abbey Crusaders and booking their place in the quarter-finals of the National Cup. The reigning cup champions defeated the Crusaders 97-105 as Henry continued his fine form as he poured in 27 points. 


Barking Abbey Crusaders vs Loughborough Riders

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 6.00pm

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A tough weekend double-header last week saw Barking drop back-to-back games; firstly, heading on the road to Nottingham for a tricky fixture. They went down 76-60 in that one, despite an efficient 20 point effort from Chris Feeney. Their Sunday match-up was equally as disappointing for Coach Lloyd Gardner's side as they bowed out of the National Cup at the hands off Hemel Storm. Hoping for improved form this weekend, the Crusaders face a home back-to-back as they host Loughborough Riders and Derby Trailblazers, aiming to improve their current 1-2 record.

Saturday's visitors are Loughborough Riders, who sit in fifth place in NBL Division One with an even 2-2 record. The Riders dropped the front half of their back-to-back last weekend when Team Solent Kestrels made the trip up to the East Midlands. Alex Roberts and Niall Harris paced the effort for Coach Mark Jarram's side on the day, as they chipped in 13 points apiece. The second of their back-to-back games saw Loughborough host London United in the National Cup, squeaking their way into the quarter-finals after a 78-71 win on their home floor.


Essex Leopards vs Derby Trailblazers

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 6.00pm

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A week off league play last weekend saw Essex Leopards able to focus on their cup campaign. A successful Sunday match-up with Nottingham McDonald's Hoods saw the Big Cats take a 88-73 win to book their spot in the quarter-finals, behind a 16 point outing from Luke Mascall-Wright. The Leopards face another East Midlands foe in this one, as Derby Trailblazers make the trip down to Colchester to the Essex Sport Arena.

After being knocked out in Round Three of the National Cup by Liverpool, the Blazers had a quieter weekend last week where they were able to focus on their league campaign. A powerhouse battle of undefeated teams saw Derby grab a key win over Bradford Dragons, an offensive showcase where they poured in 116 points. Derby now sit third in the table with a 3-0 record, snapping at the heels of league-leading Solent and Worthing who remain at 4-0. All eyes will be on Malcolm Smith, who earned Player of the Week honours behind a 31 point effort last weekend, as his scoring output was closely followed by Matt Ward-Hibbert's 28 point outing for Coach Matt Shaw's side. 

"It will be a tough couple of weekends on the road for us as we look to build on what’s been an excellent start so far," said Coach Shaw ahead of the game. "Essex return to our league after a season in Division Two and we know quite a few of their players from their time with Ipswich. Coach Thomas Baker has them playing some good basketball and they picked up a win in the National Cup last weekend, so I expect them to be full of confidence especially on their new home floor."

Shaw continued, "That does mean we largely have to focus largely on ourselves. However, we set the level with last weekend’s big win over Bradford and we know that if we play like that each week, we will be tough to beat."


Thames Valley Cavaliers vs Nottingham McDonald's Hoods

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 6.00pm

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A league loss at the hands of Reading Rockets was not the start to their weekend double-header that the Cavaliers would have wanted, but they managed to bounce back last Sunday to book their place in the National Cup quarter-finals. Saturday's loss to the Rockets saw Martelle McLemore continue his good form for Coach Robert Banks' side, as the forward had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Sunday saw an improved performance from the West London outfit, who made the long trip up to visit 'giant-killers' Liverpool in the National Cup, coming away with a 92-98 victory. The win sets up a tough quarter-final tie for the NBL Division One newcomers, as they will host Team Solent Kestrels for a chance at a spot in the semi-finals.

Nottingham McDonald's Hoods head into another double-header weekend after splitting their games a week ago. Their league win on Saturday against the young Barking Abbey Crusaders saw them improve their record to 2-2, as they were paced by 15 points from US import forward Cole Welle. Coach Ryan Westley will have been pleased with their team effort, as 11 of their 12 man squad got onto the scoresheet. Sunday saw a more difficult match-up for the East Midlands side, as they travelled down to Essex Leopards in the hope of extending their cup run. Sadly, it was the Big Cats who grabbed the quarter-final spot, but Coach Westley will be pleased with the play of big man Andrej Slavik who had 15 points, while Aaron Maher came off the bench for five made three-pointers en route to 19 points. 


Bradford Dragons vs Worthing Thunder

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 6.15pm

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The penultimate game on Saturday night sees Bradford Dragons hoping to bounce back from a 0-2 weekend, as they were dealt their first league loss and bowed out of the National Cup in the space of 48 hours. The Blazers brought the Dragons bright start to end, as Bradford made the trip down to Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre, only to go down 116-93. They were led by 24 points and 12 rebounds from Rihards Sulcs, while Drexler Clark added 16 points and seven assists. Sunday saw double-disappointment for Bradford, as Coach Chris Mellor's side returned to the Dragons' Den to welcome their opponents in this one, Worthing Thunder. It was the south coast side who progressed in the knockout competition, as they dealt Bradford a 78-98 loss. Coach Mellor will have been pleased by Drexler Clark's 22 point effort, but they will need a much better defensive effort if they are going to turn this one around in a league re-match against the Thunder. 

A 4-0 start and a quarter-final berth for player-coach Josh Goddard's side has seen their play in October go to plan. With Jorge Ebanks back with the side after the departure of Nick Lewis, the south coast team outlasted a good effort from Team Newcastle last Saturday to grab a 73-63 win as they extended their unbeaten run. Their good fortune continued last Sunday as they went into the Dragons' Den hungry for cup success. Tom Ward was crucial in that one, pouring in 26 points to go with six rebounds, as he will look to continue his good form in this re-match. 


Team Solent Kestrels vs Manchester Magic

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 8.00pm

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Heading into this weekend riding high atop the NBL Division One standings, Team Solent Kestrels picked up two wins last week to maintain their undefeated league start and book their spot in the National Cup quarter-finals. A Saturday victory on the road against reigning champions Loughborough Riders got their weekend off to a good start, as Coach Matt Guymon's squad were paced by a 28 point effort from US forward Jon Averkamp. Herm Senor II also continued his good form as he added 19 points and seven assists. The Kestrels were also in knockout action on Sunday as they cruised to victory on the road at Team Newcastle, setting up a quarter-final match-up with Thames Valley Cavaliers. 

Meanwhile, the visitors in this one will make the long trip down from the North West for a tough encounter with the league-leaders. The Magic are yet to pick up a win in league play as they sit joint bottom with a 0-2 record, but they grabbed their first win against Division One competition last Sunday. Their National Cup tie saw them welcome Reading Rockets to the Manchester Basketball Centre, as the cup runners-up from a season were victorious 76-60 to set up a quarter-final road game at Essex Leopards. Josh Houghton impressed against the Rockets, as he found his shooting touch to pour in 26 points to pace his team. 


Team Solent Kestrels vs Worthing Thunder 

Sunday 4 November 2018 - 12.30pm

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Barely 14 hours will have gone by before Team Solent Kestrels step on court again for a Sunday matinee game against south coast rivals Worthing Thunder. Saturday's games will decide if these teams maintain their undefeated starts to their league campaign, but this match-up on Sunday will ensure that one of these teams begins their loss tally for this season. With the Kestrels having so little time to recover from their game the night before, and Worthing making the long trip south after a match-up with Bradford, fatigue could play a real factor in this one - so expect a slightly slower pace than we might expect from these two powerhouse sides. 


Team Newcastle vs Leicester Warriors 

Sunday 4 November 2018 - 3.00pm

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It's a weekend of home comforts for Team Newcastle, as Coach Ian Hewitt's side remains in the North East for their double-header of Division one action. After welcoming Hemel Storm on Saturday, Team Newcastle will again play hosts as Leicester Warriors make the trip up to Tyneside for this Sunday afternoon match-up. Key battles will include Pak Chingombe and Eric Stafford going head-to-head in the back-court, while Tosan Evbuomwan and Brian Orr will battle it out at the forward position. 


Barking Abbey Crusaders vs Derby Trailblazers

Sunday 4 November 2018 - 4.00pm

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Another team able to enjoy their double-header from the comforts of their home court is Barking Abbey Crusaders, who welcome Derby Trailblazers on Sunday afternoon after facing Loughborough Riders one day prior. A tough weekend for the Crusaders sees them face the teams currently ranked third and fifth in the league, so Coach Lloyd Gardner's side will do well to pinch a victory from either of these two encounters. Meanwhile, Derby face a back-to-back in the South East, following up their Saturday game at Essex Leopards with a trip into East London. Time will tell if Coach Matt Shaw's squad can improve to 5-0 after this weekend's fixtures. 


Bradford Dragons vs Reading Rockets

Sunday 4 November 2018 - 4.15pm

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The final team to have been granted a home double-header to kick off their November is Bradford Dragons, who welcome Reading Rockets on Sunday after having hosted Worthing Thunder the day before. Bradford will be looking to get back on track after dropping their first game of the season last weekend at the hands of the Blazers, as Coach Chris Mellor's side regroup and begin to chase the leading pack. Reading will have a short trip up the M1 to Bradford after facing Leicester Warriors on Saturday afternoon in the first game of the weekend, but are still without their John Madejski Academy cohort, who continue their Erasmus trip in Spain. 


 Manchester Magic vs Nottingham McDonald's Hoods

Sunday 4 November 2018 - 6.30pm

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The final game of an extremely busy NBL Division One double-header weekend sees Manchester Magic return home to host the Nottingham McDonald's Hoods. Having played in the late game on Saturday on the south coast at Places Leisure Eastleigh, the Magic will return back to 0161 in the early hours of Sunday morning, before readying themselves for their East Midlands' visitors.

The Hoods themselves will be racking up the miles this weekend, as a Saturday trip to West London to face Thames Valley Cavaliers is followed up by this journey across the peak district to face their Manchester foes. This weekend may see the return to action of David 'Tin Tin' Watts, who has returned to training with the Hoods this week after recovering from a recent concussion.


WNBL Division One

Southwark Pride vs Barking Abbey 

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 2.00pm

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A quiet weekend in WNBL Division One sees a four game slate tipped off by a Saturday afternoon London derby. Barking Abbey will make the trip into central London to face Southwark Pride as both teams continue to settle into their early season form. After an early win over league-leaders Bristol Academy Flyers, Barking have struggled in the month of October; falling to second bottom in the league with a 1-4 record. Meanwhile, Southwark Pride will be looking to bounce back after being knocked out of the National Cup at the hands of Ipswich last Sunday, despite an exceptional effort from Maya Hyacienth. 


Ipswich vs Team Birmingham Elite

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 3.00pm

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Ipswich picked up two wins a week ago as they outlasted Barking Abbey in the league, before grabbing a clutch 75-76 win on the road at Southwark Pride to book their place in the National Cup quarter-finals. The reigning cup champions were treated to a Player of the Week performance from Charlotte Redhead, who lit it up from outside the arc against Barking en route to a 22 point outing. Sunday's knockout action saw Harriet Welham take on the scoring load, as her 26 point effort played a big part in the victory. Redhead came up clutch down the stretch in that one, holding her nerve to ice the game at the foul line. 

Meanwhile, Team Birmingham Elite had a week away from WNBL Division One action last weekend as they focused on their knockout exploits. The West Midlands side played host to Barking Abbey as they picked up a 63-51 to punch their ticket to the next round. Coach Robin Hall's side will now face a tricky road tie down on the south coast, visiting Team Solent Kestrels in the quarter-finals. Before the excitement of the cup resumes, Elite must focus on this journey to Suffolk which sees them face the second-ranked Ipswich as Birmingham look to improve on their 1-3 record thus far. 


 Oxford Brookes University vs Anglia Ruskin University

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 5.30pm

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As the only team without a win thus far in the WNBL Division One season, things only get tougher for Coach Zach Meekings' Oxford Brookes University side as they welcome last campaign's WNBL Division One playoff champions in this one. Last weekend saw Oxford take a break from league play as they welcomed Division Two South's Cardiff Met Archers II in the cup. The Welsh side pulled off somewhat of a 'giant-killer' victory as they defeated their hosts 72-78 behind a 21 effort from Kimberley Kheing. Coach Meekings did get a 27 point outing from Tessa O'Connor; showing her growth in confidence to have a big impact on games. 

Anglia Ruskin also had a week away from league action as they faced Sevenoaks Suns II in the National Cup. A narrow 60-55 victory for the Cambridge-based side saw them safely into the quarter-finals, paced by 16 points from Jazmin Gyulai. The Rhinos will host WNBL Division One league-leaders Bristol Academy Flyers in the next round, but first they must navigate this road game at Oxford Brookes, if they are to maintain their unbeaten start.


Sevenoaks Suns II vs Loughborough Riders 

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 5.30pm

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Sevenoaks Suns II crashed out of the National Cup last weekend at the hands of Anglia Ruskin University, as the Cambridge-based side pinched a 60-55 victory on their home floor. The Suns had a 17 point outing from former WNBL Player of the Week Katie Bennett, in a bright spot for the Kent-based side. With the Suns perched at a even 2-2 record, they will be looking to improve to above .500 in this one as they welcome the Loughborough Riders.

Loughborough were one of the only sides who faced a double-header last weekend, as they hosted Bristol in the league before heading over the Welsh border in the cup to play Cardiff City. Bristol went top of the league as they grabbed a Saturday afternoon win in the East Midlands, while Loughborough were led by 10 points off the bench from guard Holly Davies. A Sunday trip into the Welsh valleys saw Cardiff City host the Riders at the University of South Wales, with Loughborough having no trouble with their lower-tier opposition. A big fourth quarter saw the East Midlands side pull away, led by 14 points apiece from Holly Wright and Rebecca Morrison, as Niamh Kelshaw chipped in 13. 


NBL Division Two

Sussex Bears vs Myerscough College 

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 5.00pm

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Mixed form in the early season sees Sussex Bears in sixth place in NBL Division Two, with a 1-2 record. Last week's outing saw them travel up to West London to face London United, as the hosts put in an efficient shooting effort to grab the win and deal the Bears their second loss of the campaign. A bright spot in the loss saw Cordaris Townes continue his excellent form for the south coast side, as he poured 37 points on 15-21 shooting. 

The Bears opponents in this one make the long trip south from Lancashire to the coast, as Myerscough College head into the game full of confidence as one of only two undefeated teams left in Division Two. Last weekend, the young Myerscough squad picked up their second win of the campaign as they hosted London Westside, almost hitting triple digits in a 97-72 victory. Mate Okros paced his side with an efficient 22 point effort, en route to earning NBL Player of the Week honours. With Okros currently on recruiting visits in the USA, Coach Neal Hopkins may be without his star guard in this one. 


Ipswich vs Liverpool 

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 5.30pm

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After a tough 0-2 start to the season, Ipswich grabbed their first win of their league campaign last weekend with a road victory over Derbyshire Arrows. A good third quarter out of the half-time team talk gave the Suffolk-based side the momentum they needed to get off the mark in the standings. Ipswich's win was paced by 22 points, five rebounds and five assists from Cameron Hawes, while captain Colin Dockrell added 19 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. 

The visitors in this one are the other of the two undefeated teams that remain in Division Two, as the North West has shown its ability with Liverpool and Myerscough College both riding high in the early season. Coming off a double-header if mixed success, Coach Delme Herriman's squad return their focus to the league after their cup run came to an end at the hands of Thames Valley Cavaliers. Before falling out of the National Cup, Liverpool were able to pick up a Saturday evening win over East London All Stars, as the Merseyside squad never looked phased in a routine 95-58 win, led by 24 point from October Player of the Month, David Ulph.


Westminster Warriors vs London Westside

Saturday 3 November 2018 - 5.30pm

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In a league with so many teams based in the capital, it seems like every weekend there is a London derby - and this weekend sees two taking place! Up first on Saturday evening, Westminster Warriors will play host to London Westside, two teams yet to really establish themselves on the standings. The Warriors are 1-1, an even .500 record, after picking up their first win of the league campaign last week against the Pioneers. Solid second and fourth quarters for player-coach Jon Johnson's side built a commanding lead as they pulled off a dominant 93-51 victory. 

Meanwhile, Westside are 1-2 on the early season, after falling below .500 at the hands of Myerscough College a week ago. Westside competed well early on against the talented Lancashire-based academy side, but the hosts began to score at ease with their high tempo style of play - as Westside just couldn't keep up. Bright sparks for Coach Frank Lamptey saw Levi Edwards lead the charge in the loss with 19 points, while Zaid Amini added 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. 


 London Greenhouse Pioneers vs Greenwich Titans

Sunday 4 November 2018 - 1.30pm

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The final game of the NBL Division Two weekend sees London Greenhouse Pioneers host Greenwich Titans at CitySport in a Sunday matinee fixture. The Pioneers will be hoping for better luck in this London derby, after last weekend's outing did't go to plan as Westminster Warriors cruised to victory. The Pioneers are 0-2 on the early season, so will be looking to get their first win on the board in this one as they host the Titans. Max Hufschlag will hope to continue his good form, as he paced his Pioneers' side last weekend with 12 points and nine rebounds in their loss.

Meanwhile, Greenwich Titans will head into this one well-rested, after a week off NBL Division Two action last weekend. A fortnight ago, the Titans hosted Derbyshire Arrows, as a high scoring game went the way of the visitors, giving Greenwich their first loss of the league season. The south east London side are seventh in the Division Two table with a 1-1 record, so the newcomers to the league will hope for a win in this one to get them above .500 and moving up the standings.


Around the NBL

NBL Division Three

The action this weekend in the North division sees early league leaders University of Chester (5-1) face a home tie with Sheffield Sabres (2-3) as they look to extend their lead at the top with the chasing pack of Team Derby Spartans (4-1) and Sheffield Hallam Sharks (4-0) both having a week off. Derby Trailblazers II (4-1) host Team Sunderland (1-3) in the hopes of keeping pace with the leading pack. 

Meanwhile, in the South division, Team Solent Kestrels II (3-0) will look to continue their unbeaten start as they host Barking Abbey (0-2). Cardiff Met Archers (0-2) will hope for their first win of this campaign as they visit Oxford Brookes University (1-2), while Swindon Shock (3-2) will travel the opposite direction over the border to visit Cardiff City (1-1). 

WNBL Division Two

After being knocked out of the Women's National Cup at the hands of Team Solent Kestrels, Nottingham Trent University (0-0) will get their North league season underway when they travel to Lancashire Spinners (0-2). There's also an East Midlands derby as Northamptonshire Titans (0-0) host Derby Trailblazers (1-0) in their first league action of the year. After a narrow 84-79 defeat against the Titans in the National Cup last month, Blazers' Coach Leanne Chandler is pleased to have the opportunity to them again so soon.

"The first contest was a tight game and hard fought by both teams. We know we can play better than what we did and look forward to showing that on Sunday," said Coach Chandler. "We made some big improvements at Worcester and hope to continue that in to this game. The team have been working hard in practice and look forward to trying to put right our mistakes the last time we played Titans."

The South division has been paced thus far by West Herts Warriors (3-0) and London 'South Bank' Thunder (3-0), with the Warriors hosting Bristol Storm (0-2) and the Thunder visiting Cardiff Met Archers II (1-2) in this weekend's action. Meanwhile, Canterbury Christ Church Saints (0-2) will look for their first win when they host Brighton Basketball (1-1), and University of Hertfordshire Wolves (1-2) will hope to deal Thames Valley Cavaliers (2-0) their first loss.

NBL Division Four

With Midlands league leaders City of Birmingham Rockets (4-0) enjoying a weekend off; Nottingham Trent Hoods (2-1) face Coventry Flames (1-1) and Northants Thunder (2-1) visit University of Nottingham (1-1), hoping to close the gap at the top.

There's a top of the table clash in the North division, as Liverpool Stars (2-0) and Doncaster Danum Eagles (2-0) put their undefeated records on the line as they battle it out. 

The South East league also sees unbeaten starts to the season put on the line, as Richmond Knights (3-0) travel to Canterbury Academy Crusaders (3-0). Chelmsford Lions (3-0) will also look to continue their good early season form, visiting London United II at Alec Reed Academy. 

Bristol Hurricanes (4-0) have enjoyed a strong start to their South West campaign, and will enjoy a weekend off this week. Hoping to close the gap behind the league-leading Hurricanes are this weekend's NBL Instagram Takeover team Dorset Storm (1-2), who will host Surrey Rams (2-1) on Saturday evening. 


For full Scores & Schedules from this weekend's action, click the link below: