PREVIEW - Top of the table clash in Liverpool in NBL Division Two!

NBL Division One

 Leicester Warriors vs Team Solent Kestrels 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 3.00pm

Live Stats

Heading into this game tied at the foot of the table with a 1-7 record, the Leicester Warriors entered the season of giving early this year as they gifted Essex Leopards their first league win of this campaign. The Warriors battled hard with their fellow league strugglers at the Essex Sport Arena, but the damage had been done early on as a late run couldn't get them back into contention. A bright spark in the loss for Coach Karl Brown was the play of point guard Pak Chingombe, who had a game-high 28 points to pace the Warriors' squad. Lamin Willan continued his impressive contributions as he chipped in 22 points.

With the Warriors looking to pick up their second of the season, the task ahead of them in this one doesn't get any tougher. The visiting Team Solent Kestrels are on a roll, with a 9-0 record to start the season as they look close to unstoppable. With a strong roster of returners coming into this season, Coach Matt Guymon has also found a way to effectively integrate newcomers Jon Averkamp and Nick Lewis, along with recent import signing Travis Charles - who is finding his feet after pouring in 27 points last weekend. If league form is anything to go by, a Kestrels win is the bookmaker's choice - but the league has proved that any team is vulnerable on any given day. 


Thames Valley Cavaliers vs Bradford Dragons 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 6.00pm

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Fresh off a road win over Manchester Magic, the Thames Valley Cavaliers have improved to 4-3 on the season and now find themselves in a playoff spot in their first season in the top flight. The seventh-placed Cavaliers edged ahead of the Magic early on last week, before controlling proceedings and coming away with a hard-fought victory. Defensive lapses allowed Manchester to make their way back into the game, so Coach Robert Banks will hope for a more consistent effort from his troops in this tricky all-London affair. Coach Banks will also hope to continued form for Abdoulaye Sylla, who earned Player of the Week honours after pacing his side with an efficient all-round effort last weekend, scoring 20 points on 9-15 shooting floor, while adding 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. 

Held to one of their lowest scoring tallies in recent memory, the Bradford Dragons will be hoping for an improved effort on the offensive end after only putting up 66 points against Team Newcastle last weekend. The low-scoring loss to the North East side came as a shock to many, especially after Bradford's hot start to the season. Having lost Drexler Clark, the shake-up in the Dragons roster will see Coach Chris Mellor relying much more heavily on the play of his front-court, while Rafael Saipe, Andreas Lycoudis and Jermayne Laing will look to step up on the perimeter. 


 Hemel Storm vs Nottingham McDonald's Hoods 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 7.00pm

Live Stats

It has been a rough start to the season for reigning National Cup champions Hemel Storm, who find themselves down near the foot of the table, a far cry from their hot start last campaign. Without a win since October, Coach Robert Youngblood's side need a quick change to their fortunes, or they face a tough season down near the foot of the table. The Stormtroopers can be buoyed by the play of Blayne Freckleton, who is having an excellent season despite his side's struggles. Captain Bode Adeluola continues to put up consistent numbers as well, but both players will certainly trade their individual plaudits for better team performances. 

The visitors making the trip down to Hertfordshire for this one are the Nottingham McDonald's Hoods, who are quietly having a very good maiden campaign in the top flight, as they find themselves in a playoff spot after a surprise win over Derby a fortnight ago. Last weekend saw Coach Ryan Westley's squad fall at the hands of Worthing Thunder, as many sides have done so before them, but the East Midlands side competed and sparked a good run late on to keep things interesting. Cole Welle and David Watts have contributed the bulk of the scoring from the forward positions, so look for this one to be an inside-outside battle as Welle, Watts and Andrej Slavik aim to match the Storm's back-court production of Freckleton, Adeluola and Leon Henry. 


 Derby Trailblazers vs Manchester Magic 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 7.15pm

Live Stats

There has been a significant change in the Derby Trailblazers' fortunes as of late - after a 5-0 start to the season, the East Midlands outfit finds themselves sitting in fifth place with a 5-3 record after three tough losses on the bounce. Strength of schedule may play a factor in this downturn, but early statement wins against Reading and Bradford will have filled Blazers fans with hope of an impressive campaign. An unexpected loss against Nottingham a fortnight ago was sandwiched in-between losses to two top sides in Solent and Loughborough, as Derby came crashing back down to Earth after their hot start. The key in the losses seems to be the efforts made to slow down Malcolm Smith, who had a quiet night by his standards against Loughborough, chipping in just 16 points. 

The visitors in this one are languishing at the foot of the table, as one of the sides with just a single victory to their name. Manchester's young group are going through some growing pains at the moment, which was evident in their loss to Thames Valley last weekend - a contest where the game drifted away from them, and a solid run in the fourth quarter was too little, too late. Andre Gayle led his side with 24 points on the night, while import big man Jonathan Barnes kept up his solid production inside with near double-double of 10 points and nine rebounds. The storylines surrounding the Magic's turbulent season continue, as this week Head Coach Aurimas Verbukas announced his imminent departure from the club - something to keep an eye on as the North West outfit look to name a replacement. 


Worthing Thunder vs Loughborough Riders 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 7.30pm

Live Stats

Since their loss to Team Solent Kestrels at the start of November, Worthing Thunder have kept pace with their south coast rivals and not missed a beat - with an 8-1 record that maintains pressure on the Hampshire side. The offensive firepower that the Thunder roster contains has been a joy to watch for fans at the Thunderdome, and they will hope for another exciting one in this one. Alex Owumi was the star of the show last week in Nottingham, as he poured in 30 points. Zaire Taylor, Jorge Ebanks and Tom Ward are among others who gave Worthing solid production throughout November - something player-coach Josh Goddard will hope continues right through December up until the Christmas break. 

The visiting Loughborough Riders will provide Worthing's sternest test of late, as the third-placed team in the standings hope to improve their 5-2 record on the road in this one. With the East Midlands' side having handily beaten local rivals Derby Trailblazers a week ago, the Riders are hoping to keep rolling - holding a three-game winning streak heading into this tough contest. The balanced roster for Coach Mark Jarram will need to be on top form in this one take down the Thunder, as Jarram will hope for continued production from lead guard Alex Roberts. Roberts paced his squad with 26 points last week against the Blazers, as he got support from back-court running mate Lucien Cristofis who chipped in 18. The exciting match-ups at the guard spots in this game are mouth-watering to say the least, as Roberts, Cristofis, Reis Pinnock and Niall Harris will go head-to-head with Taylor, Owumi, Ebanks and Ishmael Fontaine - likely to be an exciting contest. 


 Essex Leopards vs Team Newcastle

Sunday 2 December 2018 - 2.00pm

Live Stats

Moving on to Sunday's play, the action will tip off in Essex as the Leopards host Team Newcastle - a long road trip for the North East side. The hosts in this one are coming off an impressive couple of weekends, having booked their place in the National Cup semi-finals with a win over Manchester, before pinching their first league win of the season with a triumph over Leicester Warriors and earning victory in the Trophy against Reading last weekend. A bolstered Big Cats squad now presents a formidable force, as Coach Thomas Baker has added import signings KJ Lee, Asante Sandiford and Dion Easton to an already talented British roster. With a core of Luke Mascall-Wright, Sam Newman, Lee Hodges and Chuck Duru already having found their feet, the added production from the US and Bermudan import players will likely see the Leopards become a tough ask for any opposition.

The victory won't be easy to come by for the hosts in this one, as Team Newcastle have proved that they are a solid road team thus far, with back-to-back wins on their travels over the last fortnight. No result was more impressive than Newcastle's win last weekend in the Dragons Den, as the held Bradford to just 66 points on their way to picking up their fourth win of this campaign. Team Newcastle's 4-4 record thus far sees them right in the hunt for one of the final playoff spots, needing to pick up a couple more results to solidify their place in the middle pack of the league. Coach Ian Hewitt has plenty of options to look to as Newcastle try to get the job done, with Tosan Evbuomwan, Eric Stafford, Onyekachi Nzerem and David Hanson all showing that, on their day, they can be difference-makers. 

 Reading Rockets vs Barking Abbey Crusaders

Sunday 2 December 2018 - 5.00pm

Live Stats

The NBL Division One weekend will wrap up with Barking Abbey Crusaders completing their double-header with a road trip to Berkshire to face Reading Rockets. An up-and-down campaign thus far for the hosts in this one sees the Rockets in sixth place with a 4-3 record, with a statement win over Bradford their best result so far. Last weekend's tough encounter with Solent saw Reading's two-game win streak come to an end, before Coach Alan Keane's side failed to lock up a National Trophy semi-final berth as they went down on the road at Essex Leopards. It seems that the Berkshire outfit will go as far as their top stars can take them this year, so look for AJ Carr, Trae Pemberton and Sydney Donaldson to make a statement in this one.

The Crusaders head west on Sunday, making the short trip down the M4 for a visit to Rivermead for this one. Barking will pit their young stars against the veteran presences that the Rockets' possess, backing their developing talent to get the job done as they did last weekend in impressive fashion. Without Coach Lloyd Gardner for this one, who is on international duty with the Great Britain Senior Men, Assistant Coach David Lavinier will step into the limelight to lead the team - who will hope for continued strong production by Jonathan Brown who had 32 points across their double-header last weekend. 


WNBL Division One

 Ipswich vs Anglia Ruskin University 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 1.00pm

Live Stats

A weekend off for Ipswich will have the Suffolk side heading into this one fresh and ready to compete, with Coach Nick Drane's squad looking to improve on their 3-3 record thus far. Life in the top flight has been up-and-down for the WNBL Division One newcomers, unable to put together a string of victories - but also bouncing back quickly from losses. The experienced presences of Harriet Welham and Danielle Cazey, among others, have helped keep the ship steady for Coach Drane, while they have also had impressive contributions from academy stars Esther Little, Charlotte Redhead and Cameron Taylor-Willis; to name a few. This mix of exciting youth talent and steady leadership will stand Ipswich in good stead as they continue to develop this season.

The squad making the short trip across the East region for this one is an Anglia Ruskin side that will be high on confidence after a dominant win over Sevenoaks Suns II last weekend. The Rhinos' 4-1 record is an impressive start to the campaign, with the only miscue coming at the hands of league-leaders Bristol Academy Flyers. Coach Matt Harber has no doubt pieced together a roster that can compete at the top of this league, with international flavour added to the returning cast of WNBL Playoff champions. The stand-outs thus far have seen Nadege Talva and Barbara Gonzalez Palacios put in good performances, alongside recent US import Najha Treadwell who earned WNBL Player of the Week not long ago. 


 Team Solent Kestrels vs Barking Abbey 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

Another squad that is quietly having a very good season is third-placed Team Solent Kestrels, whose 4-2 record thus far has seen miscues against Ipswich and Anglia Ruskin. Having played in plenty of close games to start the season, Coach CJ Lee's side are battle tested, after plenty of single digit games have gone their way down the stretch. After picking up October WNBL Player of the Month, US import guard Geena Gomez has continued her strong production, with plenty of support coming inside from Earleesha Jackson. 

The outfit making the trip down to the south coast for this one is Barking Abbey, whose disappointing loss at the hands of Loughborough saw them back down to Earth after a good win over Birmingham the week before. A young side reliant on the development of academy players, Barking are definitely going through some growing pains as this season progresses, but a few close losses definitely could have gone their way on a different day. The East London side can also be buoyed by the fact that they are the only team thus far to knock off league-leading Bristol, with a narrow opening day win. 


Sevenoaks Suns II vs Southwark Pride

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 5.30pm

Live Stats

Sevenoaks Suns II have had a mixed start to life in WNBL Division One since their promotion, with a 3-4 record thus far providing a good summary of the up-and-down nature of their results. A tough loss to second-placed Anglia Ruskin last week saw the Suns struggle on the offensive end, despite Katie Bennett continuing to show her ability at this level alongside valuable minutes in the WBBL. Fellow Great Britain junior international Olivia Partridge has also been effective so far this season, but the Kent-based side will need more up and down their roster if they are going to consistently add to their win total. 

The visitors in this one who make the trip from London out to Kent are the Southwark Pride, who were on the receiving end of a tough loss against league-leading Bristol Academy Flyers last week. The Flyers have been a tough ask for any team this season, and they got out to a hot start against the Pride, who struggled to score in the early going. The young talent in Coach Jackson Gibbons' squad continue to make their presence felt in the league, as Amelia Sandie and Jade Guidolin Duncan have contributed good production, alongside the returning Maya Hyacienth and Megan Haines. 


 Team Birmingham Elite vs Reading Rockets 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 6.00pm

Live Stats

The WNBL Division One weekend will wrap up with the Reading Rockets making the trip up to the West Midlands to face Team Birmingham Elite. With a 0-6 record, Elite have not had a lot of luck so far this season, missing out in a few close games and unable to get the job done down the stretch. A tight first half a fortnight ago had Birmingham well in contention against Midlands rivals Loughborough Riders, but a rough second half on the offensive end saw their East Midlands opposition pull away as Coach Robin Hall's side added to the loss column. Rebecca Brindley has been a bright spark for the side, leading the team in scoring in every contest thus far, so it is clear that she needs some help from the roster around her. 

The road team in this one also head in after a week away from league play, with a dominant win over Sevenoaks Suns II a fortnight ago as their last time in action. Coach David Sanchez' squad sit in eighth-place with a 2-3 record, having faced a tough schedule so far. Losses against Bristol, Anglia Ruskin and Southwark are nothing to be ashamed of, so the Reading play-caller will hope his team can head into the Christmas break at .500 with a win against the league's basement side. The play of Monica Herranz de Antonio may be a key factor, as the recent WNBL Player of the Week has been a big producer in the Berkshire side's victories. 


NBL Division Two

Derbyshire Arrows vs London Westside

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 2.00pm

Live Stats

Derbyshire Arrows head into this one off the back of a four-game skid that has contributed to their 1-5 start to the season. Despite the strong play of Joseph Baugh, the East Midlands side have struggled to pick up wins so far; their only triumph coming against fellow basement club Greenwich Titans. Last weekend's loss to London United saw the game get away from Derbyshire in the second quarter, as they couldn't recover in the second half. 

A competitive game is likely in store for this one, with London Westside not having fared much better thus far, with a 2-4 record to their name on the season. Westside took a loss to the Pioneers last time out in an all-London battle, as they struggled to find the basket in the first half. Zaid Amini has been a consistent performer thus far this season, but Westside will need multiple contributions on the road to add to their win tally.


London United vs Myerscough College 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

After back-to-back losses, London United picked up an important win against Derbyshire Arrows last weekend, a win which saw them improve to 3-3 on the season. Heading into this one in fifth place, the West London side will be hopefully of making their way into the top four before the Christmas break - and have a variety of weapons to get them there. Most effective against the Arrows were Modestas Krasauskas and Sarunas Antanavicius, who combined for 33 points, but player-coach Daniel Szatkowski has plenty of options he can go to down the roster.

Meanwhile, the visitors making the trip to the capital from the North West are a Myerscough squad coming off the toughest double-header possible. Facing league-leaders Liverpool and second-placed Westminster Warriors in a home back-to-back, Myerscough came up empty and two losses to their season tally, evening out their record at 4-4. Myerscough's good start to the season has seen take care of business both at home and on the road, so they will hope for a good performance at Alec Reed Academy on Saturday. 


 Liverpool vs Westminster Warriors 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 5.00pm

Live Stats

The marquee match-up of NBL Division Two this weekend sees a top of the table clash take place on Merseyside, as second-placed Westminster Warriors travel up to the North West to face league-leading Liverpool. The sternest test thus far for Liverpool's unbeaten start is likely, as they extended their undefeated run with a win over Myerscough last weekend behind the play of Mark Rangeley.

Westminster were also able to pick up a win against Myerscough last weekend, as they improved to 6-1 on the season - maintaining the pressure on Liverpool at the top. A win for the Warriors in this one would see them go top of the table, by virtue of a head-to-head tie-breaker, which would be a well-received Christmas present for player-coach Jon Johnson and his side as the festive season approaches. Johnson and his troops will need to be on top form, so expect big production from Justin Hitchman and Juan Manning, among others.


 Sussex Bears vs London Greenhouse Pioneers

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 5.00pm

Live Stats

Having had two weeks off to rue their loss at the hands of Westminster, the Sussex Bears will be chomping at the bit to get back into action as they welcome the Pioneers to SRWA. Inconsistent form for the Bears thus far sees them in seventh place with a 2-3 record, with a statement win over Myerscough their best result to date. Cordaris Townes, Joe Carter and Bud Johnston have all been instrumental in the Bears' successes, so expect Coach Gary Smith to go to them early and often in this one.

Meanwhile, London Greenhouse Pioneers head into this one having bested their cross-capital rivals London Westside last time out, as Max Hufschlag came off the bench to pace his team to victory. A strong first half performance got the job done for Coach Predrag Krneta's side, so they will be hoping to begin this one in the same manner. The form favours the Pioneers in this one, who head into the match-up on a four-game winning streak, sitting in fourth place with their 4-2 record. 


 Ipswich​ vs Greenwich Titans 

Saturday 1 December 2018 - 5.30pm

Live Stats

The final game that wraps up the NBL Division Two for this weekend is an evening tip-off in Suffolk as Ipswich host Greenwich Titans. The culmination of an exciting day of basketball at Copleston Sports Centre will see Ipswich hoping to improve on their 2-5 record as the Titans roll into town with just one win to their name. Two disappointing losses at the hands of Myerscough and Westminster brought Ipswich back down to Earth after a decent start, so a win here would get them back on track to secure their place amongst the playoff teams. 

The visitors in this one head out to Suffolk in the hopes of adding to their single win thus far this season. A rough third quarter last weekend saw the game get away from the Titans after a competitive start against the All Stars. The loss wasn't for lack of trying from Greenwich star Ray Akpofure, who paced the Titans with a highly efficient 34 points on 17-19 shooting from the floor, while adding 16 rebounds. Coach Ashley Thomas will hope for continued form from Akpofure, alongside better production from the remainder of his roster. 


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