PREVIEW - Derby & Bradford put their undefeated records on the line, plus National Cup Last 16

NBL Division One

 Loughborough Riders vs Team Solent Kestrels

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 6.00pm

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The NBL Division One weekend tips off with an exciting match-up between the top two teams from last campaign. Coach Mark Jarram's side were able to come from behind down the stretch to snatch the league title, so the Kestrels will be out for redemption in this one. Loughborough head into the game with a 2-1 record, picking up a big win over Essex Leopards a week ago. A fourth quarter scoring explosion from the East Mids' side was required to down The Big Cats, as Lucien Cristofis paced the Riders with 26 points on the day. Reigning NBL Division Three North MVP Niall Harris has been impressive since his step up to the top flight, as the Charnwood College guard added 15 points off the bench for Loughborough.

Meanwhile, the team making the trip to Loughborough University for this one have an unblemished record thus far this season, sitting tied atop the table at 3-0. Victors in a low scoring contest against the Nottingham McDonald's Hoods last weekend, Coach Matt Guymon's side have had an impressive start to the season behind the play of Herm Senor II and Jon Averkamp, while Elliott Dadds exploded for a Player of the Week performance a fortnight ago. In what could be an explosive match-up, this game on Saturday will be one to watch!


Thames Valley Cavaliers vs Reading Rockets

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 6.00pm

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Heading into this one after a week away from league play, Thames Valley Cavaliers host a Reading Rockets side that are coming off a vital win in the National Trophy last weekend. This game sees a repeat of the Trophy pool game four weeks ago, where the Rockets went into Uxbridge College and pulled out a 68-83 win behind 27 points from AJ Carr. In their more recent form, the Cavs improved to 1-1 in the league a fortnight ago when they downed Hemel Storm 86-82, as Martelle McLemore and Prince Lartey had 19 points and 17 points, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the visitors head into this one after having grabbed a win of their own against Hemel, a 117-95 home win over the Storm last weekend. Trae Pemberton, AJ Carr and Sydney Donaldson all hit 20+ points as they combined for 78 in that one, with Adrain O'Sullivan chipping in an important 18 in the balanced scoring effort. With John Madejski Academy away in Spain for an Erasmus trip, the Rockets will travel a little lighter this weekend, rumoured to be without Coach Alan Keane, along with their Under 19 academy players. 


Hemel Storm vs Leicester Warriors

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 7.00pm

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A tough start to the season sees reigning National Cup champions Hemel Storm sitting close to the bottom of the NBL Division One table with a 0-2 record, while they also picked up a crucial loss in the National Trophy pool stage last weekend. The loss to Reading last weekend saw Coach Robert Youngblood's side struggle to contain the offensive firepower that Reading possess, while a fortnight ago they lost a heartbreaker to Thames Valley. Hemel have more than enough weapons to quickly turn their season around however, as strong starts to the season for captain Bode Adeluola and new big man Leome Francis should be foundations to build upon in the coming weeks. 

The visiting Leicester Warriors are among the middle of the pack in Division One, as their 1-1 record summarises a narrow win over Manchester Magic to start the season, followed by a tough loss to Worthing last weekend. Despite a poor start to the contest, the Warriors put up a good challenge for the Thunder last weekend, cutting the deficit to single digits in the final stanza - but it wouldn't be enough down the stretch. Lamin Willan showed flashes of his ability as a scorer in this league, pacing his squad with 24 points. Coach Karl Brown will be hoping for more from US import Brian Orr, who has had a good start to the season but struggled with just two points in limited minutes against Worthing. 


Nottingham McDonald's Hoods vs Barking Abbey Crusaders

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 7.00pm

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The Nottingham McDonald's Hoods head into this one with a 1-2 record, after they fell bellow .500 with a road loss at Team Solent Kestrels last weekend. A staunch defensive effort from the south coast side saw the Hoods put up just 50 points in the contest, so Coach Ryan Westley will hope his squad can find the mark more frequently back at the Wildcats Arena in this one. Luke Mitchell and Cole Welle lead the charge down in Southampton, with Mitchell leading his squad with 11 points, while Welle added 10. 

Barking also find themselves mid-table among the congested Division One standings, as their 1-1 record also includes a loss at the hands of the Kestrels. Having had a week away from league action, the Crusaders should be fresh heading into this one as they make the journey up the M1 to the East Midlands. In a game that could go either way, Coach Lloyd Gardner will hope for continued production from his talented back-court of Ade Adebayo, Robin Bedford and Jonathan Brown, while big men Theo Hughes and Nathaniel Powell remain crucial to their efforts in and around the paint. 

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Derby Trailblazers vs Bradford Dragons

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 7.15pm

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Having played one league game less than the league leaders, Derby's undefeated record in the early season goes a little under the radar as they sit in fifth place in NBL Division One. The Blazers head into this one 2-0 after picking up a narrow win in the North East last weekend. An 81-87 triumph over Team Newcastle saw the trio of Malcolm Smith, Tre-Shawn Wilford and Matt Ward-Hibbert close the game out down the stretch with crucial plays from the field and at the foul line. Smith led all scorers on the day with 25 points; proving to be a problem for all who match-up with him. 

Bradford Dragons also head into this one undefeated, as they improved to 3-0 last weekend with a win over the Magic to sit atop the Division One standings. Always one of the leading scorers in the league, the Dragons have again set off with a hot start to this campaign as they punish opponents with their variety of scoring options. The win over the Magic was settled in the second quarter, as they limited their visitors to just five points in the period, then cruised to victory in the second half. Rihards Sulcs has been a significant threat for Coach Chris Mellor's side so far this year; pacing his squad with 24 points against Manchester. With Coach Mellor able to call on Ricky Fetske, Drexler Clark, Andreas Lycoudis, and many more weapons - the Dragons could be a force to stop this campaign, but they will have to work hard with their undefeated record on the line at Clarence Wiggins on Saturday; the Blazers won't back down. 

Blazers' Coach Matt Shaw said, "The away wins over Reading and Newcastle have provided a great start to the season for us and we need to try and build on those wins against Bradford. They are undefeated in all competitions, so we know the task will be a tough one. Chris has put together a strong roster with several returnees and some new additions that appear to compliment their familiar faces."

Shaw continued, "I know our fans will be excited to see Malcolm Smith make his home debut after so many games on the road. He’s shown the sort of form that saw him win the league MVP two years ago and it’s been a delight to work with him. He’s making those around him better and plays with intensity that sets the tone for us at both ends. Tre-Shawn [Wilford] has also settled in very well. He is filling the stat-sheet with his all action style of play and he’s impacting the game in a variety of different ways."


Worthing Thunder vs Team Newcastle

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 7.30pm

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Worthing Thunder joined Solent and Bradford at 3-0 last weekend with their win over Leicester Warriors, as a late scare quickly passed as they made the plays they needed to; pulling away down the stretch. Player-coach Josh Goddard has had an embarrassment of riches thus far this season, with a myriad of weapons to call on. However, the recent news from the south coast is that guard Nick Lewis has departed the club and will be replaced by Jorge Ebanks - a vital factor in the Thunder's championship winning campaign last year. With multiple Player of the Week nominations having been shared out around the Worthing roster, the Sussex-based outfit will be looking for more big performances from their stat-sheet stuffers as they look to improve to 4-0.

The visitors making the long trip down from the North East to the south coast in this one are Coach Ian Hewitt's Team Newcastle squad. The home loss at the hands of the Derby Trailblazers last weekend will have been a significant disappointment, as Newcastle fell to 0-2. A tied game with three minutes to play, Coach Hewitt's squad just didn't make the plays they needed down the stretch as Tosan Evbuomwan was the only Newcastle player to find the basket in the final stages. Evbuomwan has enjoyed life since stepping up to the Division One level, as he chipped in a 12 point, 12 rebound double-double off the bench last weekend. His early form is joined by some good performances by David Hanson, Ben Seipt and US import guard Eric Stafford - also whom must put in big efforts if Newcastle are to compete with Worthing in this one.


WNBL Division One

Loughborough Riders vs Bristol Academy Flyers 

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 3.00pm

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A good start to the season saw Loughborough head into last weekend with a 2-0 record, but they fell to 2-1 with their first loss of the campaign coming at the hands of Team Solent Kestrels. The tied league-leading Kestrels were able to pull away from the young Loughborough squad, before a spirited final quarter from Coach Krumesh Patel's side cut into the deficit. Coach Patel will hope for continued form from his back-court, with Holly Davies and Hannah Dawson having strong starts to the campaign, while Lauren France will also be crucial as the Riders match up on the inside. 

The Riders opposition in this one are the squad that are tied with Solent atop the WNBL Division One standings, as the Bristol Academy Flyers make the trip to the East Midlands. Bristol's 3-1 record comes off two impressive wins over the last fortnight, first downing Ipswich then following that up with a home win over Team Birmingham Elite. Mai Zibleti was impressive for Coach Gareth Till's side last week, leading her squad with 22 points. Cristina Bigica has also been a big factor since joining the Flyers, as she added an efficient 20 point outing against Birmingham.


Barking Abbey vs Ipswich

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 4.00pm

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A quiet weekend in WNBL Division One sees the National Cup take centre stage, so just two league fixtures will take place, with the second of the two league games seeing Ipswich make the trip to East London to face Barking Abbey. Barking fell to 1-3 last weekend as a rough offensive performance saw the visiting Anglia Ruskin run away with the match-up. A difficult third quarter for the home side saw the Rhinos outscore them 2-21, putting the contest to bed. Jolicia Cadogan and Karla Powlesland have had strong starts to the season for the London side, and they will be needed in this one against an Ipswich side looking for a statement bounce back game.

After Ipswich's historic run of victories came to end at the hands of the Bristol Academy Flyers a fortnight ago, many would have expected a quick return to winning ways for Coach Nick Drane's side. Sevenoaks Suns II had other plans, as Ipswich fell to their second loss on the bounce, evening out their record at 2-2. In what may be looked at later in the season as an early hiccup for Coach Drane's squad; this Ipswich roster has more than enough talent to make its way back up the standings, so Ipswich will be really looking to get a result in this one to get back on track. 


NBL Division Two

Myerscough College vs London Westside

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 2.00pm

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In the first match-up of the NBL Division Two weekend, we see two teams face off in the North West after they picked up crucial wins last weekend. Myerscough College made their first of many trips down the capital a week ago, and came away with a single point victory over London Greenhouse Pioneers at CitySport. A back-and-forth game throughout came right down to the wire, as Mate Okros and Lewis McGlasson had crucial scores for Coach Neal Hopkins' side to pull out the win. With Myerscough sitting mid-table in the Division Two standings with their 1-0 record, they will be looking to begin building their win streak in this one. They will need continued good play from Okros, who had 17 points to pace his squad last weekend, and Sanmi Fajana, as the big man added 14 against the Pioneers.

Meanwhile, the visitors who make the trip up to Lancashire for this one are London Westside - the side who kicked off the weekend of games last week with a surprising triumph over London United. Westside hold a 1-1 record after the win, as Coach Frank Lamptey's side unleashed a 27-11 final period to grab the victory. Tyrell Isaacs has been crucial for Westside since his addition to their squad, pouring in 23 points to go along with seven steals against United. Theo Deleligne also chipped in 17 points in the win.


London United vs Sussex Bears

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 4.00pm

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London United return home this weekend after a 80-66 road loss at the hands of London Westside last week. Coach Daniel Szatkowski will be hoping for improved form from his team that sits mid-table in the standings at 1-1 in the early going. Modestas Krasauskas couldn't get into a rhythm from behind the arc last week, going one-for-nine from distance, so look for him to be aggressive in this one in a search for a return to form. United will also have to lean on the scoring of Marius Ceponis, Tomas Butrimas and Marius Talijunas, but with many options to go to - they should have enough to get the job done.

The Sussex Bears make the trip into the capital this weekend off the back of a tough loss on their home floor that saw them drop to a 1-1 record. An extremely tight game down the stretch saw the Bears tie things up heading into the final quarter, before clutch play from David Ulph and Mark Rangeley grabbed the win for Liverpool. Cordaris Townes had 22 points, while Joe Carter chipped in 18, both in impressive performances for Coach Gary Smith's side. The south coast side will need more of the same in this one; with both teams desperate to bounce back from last weekend's losses, it should be a good one.


Liverpool vs East London All Stars

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 5.00pm

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Both teams head into this one of the back of wins last weekend, with Liverpool cementing their good early start to the season by improving their record to 2-0 and sitting atop the NBL Division Two standings. The Merseyside squad got things done on the road last weekend, as they travelled down to the south coast to pick up a 74-77 win over Sussex Bears. Mark Rangeley was crucial in that one, holding his nerve down the stretch and pouring in 25 points on the day. David Ulph and Jack Hudson also kept up their good form, adding 21 and 13, respectively. Coach Delme Herriman's side now face a tough ask to protect their undefeated record on their home floor, against a surging East London All Stars side.

The All Stars improved their record to 2-1 last weekend, with a home win over Ipswich, to sit in second place - just behind Liverpool. A narrow lead in the fourth for the East London squad was quickly added to down the stretch as Jonathan James went on a crazy scoring run - scoring 11 of his side's final 13 points of the contest. James was effective throughout, leading all scorers on the day with 28 points. Coach Dave Greenaway will hope for more of the same from his young guard, alongside continued support from Kyle Gouveia and Mohamoud Mohamed. 


Westminster Warriors vs London Greenhouse Pioneers

Saturday 27 October 2018 - 5.30pm

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A cross-capital derby wraps up the NBL Division Two action for Saturday, as the Pioneers make the short trip to face Westminster Warriors. The Warriors have had a weekend off league action since their tough two-point loss at the hands of Greenwich Titans a fortnight ago. A narrow game throughout saw the Division Two newcomers grab a 77-79 win, leaving player-coach Jon Johnson and his squad with a 0-1 record to start their campaign. Johnson led his side with 26 points on the day, so will look for more from his supporting cast if the Warriors are to get themselves back to .500 in this one.

Meanwhile, the visiting Pioneers lost a heartbreaker at the hands of Myerscough College last weekend, going down 62-63 to the young squad from the North West. Max Hufschlag and Teni Mango did all they could down the stretch to cut into the deficit, but Myerscough were able to hold on as the Pioneers began their season 0-1. Hufschlag was impressive in the loss, pouring in 31 points, while Kyle Diaz chipped in 10 points for Coach Predrag Krneta's side.


Derbyshire Arrows vs Ipswich

Sunday 28 October 2018 - 4.00pm

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The final game of the NBL Division Two weekend sees a Sunday match-up between Derbyshire Arrows and Ipswich. In a repeat of their Patrons Cup contest on the first day of the season, Ipswich will hope for a similar outcome as they triumphed 72-98 on the day, behind 21 points from captain Colin Dockrell. Derbyshire have had mixed form since then, with a 1-1 record in the league and bowing out of the National Cup at the hands of Manchester Magic. The Arrows' victory last weekend against Greenwich Titans showed their potential, spurred to a 92-100 triumph behind the play of Przemyslaw Milak, who picked up Player of the Week honours after exploding for 32 points on 12-17 shooting.

Meanwhile, the visitors making the trip up to Killamarsh Sports Centre are an Ipswich side looking to bounce back from a loss at the hands of East London All Stars. A hot start to Ipswich's campaign saw them breeze through the Patrons Cup pool stage, before hitting a slump to go 0-2 in the early league season. The Suffolk-based side will be looking for improved form in this one as they search for a maiden victory in their league campaign. Eivydas Aleksa has been impressive for Ipswich thus far, alongside Copleston academy stand-outs Veron Eze and Ethan Price. There will be hope of a quick return for point guard Ben Winter, after his recent injury in EABL action. 


Men's National Cup

The National Cup takes centre stage on Sunday, with both the Men's and Women's competitions now reaching the Last 16 after some tough battles in the preliminary stages. Reigning champions Hemel Storm continue their title defence with a match-up that sees them on the road at Barking Abbey Crusaders. Manchester Magic, runners-up from a season ago, have a home tie with Reading Rockets - an exciting fixture between two storied franchises from NBL Division One.

Coach Aurimas Verbukas said ahead of the match-up with Reading, "I am really excited about this game. It's our first game at home after a few away games, so I am looking forward to see the support from our club and supporters from all over Manchester. We are a special club with special supporters and this game won't be any different. The players that put the Magic kit on understand the responsibility to give it all they have for these fans."

Coach Verbukas added, "Reading are a good team and are favourites in this one, but anyone that knows the Magic spirit will know that we will give all that we have. We are a young team with players as young as 16 years old, I am sure we will do best we can and more."

The only team to have defeated a Division One side thus far is Liverpool, whose victory over Derby Trailblazers has set up a Last 16 tie with Thames Valley Cavaliers on their home floor at Archbishop Beck. Meanwhile, the only team from the lower tiers to progress to this stage is Team Birmingham Elite, as the NBL Division Three North side face an all-Midlands contest on the road at Leicester Warriors.


Men's National Cup - Last 16

Loughborough Riders vs London United

Leicester Warriors vs Team Birmingham Elite

Team Newcastle vs Team Solent Kestrels

Liverpool vs Thames Valley Cavaliers

Barking Abbey Crusaders vs Hemel Storm - Live Stats

Bradford Dragons vs Worthing Thunder - Live Stats

Essex Leopards vs Nottingham McDonald's Hoods - Live Stats

Manchester Magic vs Reading Rockets - Live Stats

(please note - Live Stats are not mandatory until the latter stages of the competition, so only teams that have requested game keys will have webcasts)


Women's National Cup

The Women's National Cup has also reached the Last 16 stage this weekend, as the top WNBL Division One sides from a season ago now enter the fray. Reigning Cup champions' Ipswich grabbed a 56-74 win at Myerscough College to set up a tie on the road at Southwark Pride, while WNBL Division Playoff champions Anglia Ruskin University will host Sevenoaks Suns II. Barking Abbey won their Round One match-up 58-65 on the road at Worcester Wolves, and head on the road again to Team Birmingham Elite looking to continue their run. 


Women's National Cup - Last 16

Nottingham Trent University vs Team Solent Kestrels - Live Stats

London 'South Bank' Thunder vs Reading Rockets (postponed)

Bristol Academy Flyers vs Northamptonshire Titans - Live Stats

Oxford Brookes University vs Cardiff Met Archers II

Cardiff City vs Loughborough Riders

Southwark Pride vs Ipswich - Live Stats

Anglia Ruskin University vs Sevenoaks Suns II - Live Stats

Team Birmingham Elite vs Barking Abbey

(please note - Live Stats are not mandatory until the latter stages of the competition, so only teams that have requested game keys will have webcasts)