NBL Division One and National Cup preview - Week 12 (14/15 December 2019)

Despite the impending mid-season break, it's a busy weekend in D1M with some teams in double header action due to the quarter finals of the National Cup, which take place on Sunday.

We take a look at all the games on tap for week 12, starting with our game of the week in Worthing.

Game of the Week

Worthing Thunder (9-2) v Reading Rockets (8-3)

2nd plays 5th on the South coast tomorrow, though Reading are part of a three team group covering 3rd, 4th and 5th that all sit on 16 points, just two behind the Thunder.

Worthing are on a seven game winning streak that includes a road victory against high flying Hemel. Zaire Taylor and Cam Hildreth missed last weekend's gritty win over Liverpool, and both will be hoping to return to action tomorrow night.

Reading were also run close last weekend, coming through 78-75 at home to Bradford thanks to 21 points from Nick Richards. The American guard sits 9th in D1M with 20.9ppg at present, also averaging 2.5 steals per game for good measure. 

Worthing did the double over Reading in the league last season, including an 86-79 victory at Worthing Leisure Centre. Those wins form a modest 3 game regular season win streak over the Rockets stretching back to the 2017/18 season. The Thunder would love to move that run up to 4 games after Saturday's match up.

Elsewhere in D1M

Nottingham Hoods (4-7) are the next side to face the Solent juggernaut, taking a trip to the South coast to face the unbeaten Kestrels (11-0). The Hoods have been on the up recently, winning three in a row, but that might not count for much against Coach Guymon's side.

Hemel Storm (8-3) will look to bounce back from last week's loss to Solent in front of the NBL cameras as they head to Leicester to take on the Warriors (5-6). 23 year old American T.J. Henderson continues to impress for Leicester in his debut NBL season, he ranks 2nd in D1M with 26.2ppg.

Liverpool (2-9) defied their recent roster issues to go down fighting in a highly competitive game against Worthing last time out. The Merseyside outfit will be hoping to harness more of that spirit as they travel to play Loughborough Riders (6-5).

Thames Valley (8-3) have maintained a top four spot in the table despite a recent defeat to Nottingham as normal service was resumed last weekend when the Cavs went to Loughborough and won 95-80. Coach Banks' team finish 2019 with a pair of home games, starting with a visit from Westminster Warriors (3-8).

Finally, Derby Trailblazers (6-4) welcome Bradford Dragons (4-7) to Clarence Wiggins tomorrow, fresh off the back of a statement road win over Reading. Tre Wilford was excellent in that game to finish with a game high 21 points, he'd like to continue that form and join Malcolm Smith (NBL 10th best 20.6ppg) as a solid contributor to the Trailblazers' offence.

Men's National Cup

Having reached the quarter final stage, there are four intriguing match ups as eight teams go head to head for a place in the final at the University of Essex on 2 February!

The tie of the round could be Solent's trip Hemel in a rematch of last weekend's D1M encounter. The Kestrels won that game 79-74, though the Storm will no doubt be hoping that home court advantage is enough to make up for such a small margin of defeat this time around.

Reigning champions Loughborough Riders have a home tie against fellow D1M rivals Derby Trailblazers, with Coach Shaw's side defeating high flying Worthing Thunder in the previous round.

Essex & Herts Leopards will try to put their league form behind them and continue a solid cup run, they go up against Reading Rockets. Unlike their opponents, Essex don't have a game on Saturday, whilst the Rockets play in Worthing with a 7:30pm tip before taking on the Leopards on Sunday at 3:30pm. Could that tip the scales in Essex's favour?

Myerscough are the only remaining team from outside D1M left in the draw, and the North West side currently sit 2nd in D2M North with a 7-2 record. Westminster Warriors are next up for Myerscough, who have already beaten D1M side Liverpool to reach this stage.

Full fixtures and stats

Saturday 14 December 2019 - Division One

3:00pm - Leicester Warriors v Hemel Storm - LIVE STATS
3:00pm - Loughborough Riders v Liverpool - LIVE STATS
6:00pm -  Thames Valley Cavaliers v Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - Team Solent Kestrels v Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS
7:15pm - Derby Trailblazers v Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS
7:30pm - Worthing Thunder v Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS

Sunday 15 December 2019 - National Cup

12:30pm - Loughborough Riders v Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS
3:30pm - Essex & Herts Leopards v Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS
5:00pm - Hemel Storm v Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS
TBC - Myerscough College v Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - Alex Daniel Photography