PREVIEW - First games of 2019 get underway as second half of the NBL season commences!

NBL Division One

Loughborough Riders v Leicester Warriors

Saturday 5 January 2019 - 2.00pm

Live Stats

Leicester Warriors start the New Year on a three-game winning streak after defeating their East Midlands rivals, the eighth-placed Nottingham McDonalds Hoods, before the Christmas break. Despite the end result, the game was far from close with the Warriors getting off to a commanding double-digit lead in the first half which they managed to maintain throughout the majority of the game. The Warriors will travel to face the Loughborough Riders, who are looking to get back to winning ways after suffering a loss to the Reading Rockets in December.

With a glance at the standings the twelfth place Warriors will look to continue to climb their way out from the bottom of the table and build on their three wins as their January campaign unfolds. The 6-3 Riders meanwhile, sit in seventh place in the standings and will aim to return to winning ways as they pursue a playoff position in the second half of the season.


Barking Abbey Crusaders v Bradford Dragons

Saturday 5 January 2019 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

The Bradford Dragons enter the New Year on a high after taking down the previously undefeated Team Solent Kestrels in emphatic style right before the Christmas break. The game was nail bitingly close throughout, and literally came down to the final seconds where Rihards Sulcs monster 30-point performance was signed off with two huge plays in the last seconds of the contest. The visiting Dragons will head to London to face the Braking Abbey Crusaders who also begin the second half of the season with a win behind them, after defeating Team Newcastle in a close battle up North before the break.

The win gives the now 4-7 Crusaders a better chance of avoiding a relegation spot as well as hope of closing the gap on a future potential playoff position as they currently sit in 9th place. The 6-5 Dragons will look to continue their strong performance in the second half of the season and close the gap on a top five spot in the coming weeks


Manchester Magic vs Reading Rockets

Saturday 5 January 2019 - 6.30pm

Live Stats

The Reading Rockets will enter the New Year with great momentum after their high-scoring win over the visiting Loughborough Riders before the break advanced them into fifth place to start the second half of the season. The Berkshire side got off to a convincing double-digit lead in the first half, and paired with a strong performance from Captain Danny Carter in the second half, helped propel the Rockets beyond reach of Coach Mark Jarram’s Riders. The Manchester Magic will play host to the Rockets on Saturday and look to turn things around in the New Year after winning just one game in 2018.

With a glance at the standings, the Magic sit in last position with a 1-10 record and will be looking to make some progress at the bottom of the table. The Rockets sit with a 7-4 record in fourth place and will look to maintain their strong position near the top of the table.


Derby Trailblazers v Hemel Storm

Saturday 5 December 2019 - 7.15pm

Live Stats

The Hemel Storm begin the second half of the season on a more positive note after defeating the Manchester Magic just before the Christmas break to give them their second win of the season. With both teams holding just one win each before the match-up, Coach Robert Youngblood’s side were the ones that emerged victorious. The Storm travel to face the Derby Trailblazers who will also enter the New Year coming off the back of a victory after pulling off a surprise win against the second place Worthing Thunder in December.

The 7-4 Trailblazers currently sit in fifth place and a win could potentially move them straight into fourth to start the second half of the NBL season. The 2-8 Storm currently sit near the bottom of the table and will look to make their way out as the second half of the season unfolds.


Worthing Thunder v Thames Valley Cavaliers

Saturday 5 December 2019 - 7.30pm

Live Stats

The Thames Valley Cavaliers surprised everyone in the first half of the NBL season winning seven out of ten games in the debut Division One campaign. They return to action after the Christmas break with another win behind them after defeating the Essex Leopards. The two teams exchanged the lead during the early stages of the game before the Cavaliers pulled away with a convincing margin in the third quarter that continued to grow until the end of the game. The number three Cavaliers travel South to face the number two Worthing Thunder who will be looking to bounce back on their home turf after suffering a surprise defeat to the Derby Trailblazers before the break.

These two teams sit directly next to each other in second and third place, the Thunder with a 9-3 record and the Cavaliers with a 7-3 record. Both teams will be looking to continue their strong runs of play going forward into the second half of the season and maintaining position at the top of the league leading up to the play-offs.


Team Solent Kestrels v Essex Leopards 

Saturday 5 January 2019 - 7.30pm

Live Stats

The Team Solent Kestrels enter the second half of the season remaining at the top of the league despite suffering their first loss of the season to the Bradford Dragons right before the break. The Southern side will host the visiting Essex Leopards who despite being a bottom four team in the league, are coming off an impressive win against a strong Reading Rockets team.

To start the New Year, the Kestrels remain firmly at the top of the standings with a 10-1 record and will be looking to maintain this position as the second half of the season unfolds. The visiting Big Cats will look to advance out of the bottom four and improve on their 3-6 record.


Nottingham McDonalds Hoods v Team Newcastle 

Sunday 6 January 2019 - 2.30pm

Live Stats

The Nottingham McDonalds Hoods will be looking to bounce back in the New Year after falling to their East-Midlands rivals before the Christmas break. The hoods play host to a travelling Team Newcastle who will also be looking for a win to start the second half of the season after losing a close game to Barking Abbey in their last game of 2018.

With a quick glance at the standings, the 5-6 Nottingham McDonalds Hoods currently sit in eighth place and will be looking to solidify a play-off spot as the second half of the season unfolds. Team Newcastle sit in the lower half of the table with a 4-6 record and will be looking to climb into a playoff position.


Derby Trailblazers vs Leicester Warriors

Sunday 6 January 2019 – 4.15pm

Live Stats

In the only back-to-back match up of the weekend, the Leicester Warriors face the Derby Trailblazers on Sunday. The Warriors have a hard task on their hands as they play both games on the road, facing a strong Loughborough Riders side first on Saturday.

Both teams will be heading into their Saturday match-ups coming off victories at the end of 2018, and will look to build on their records in the New Year. Derby are chasing a top four position whilst Leicester will be looking to keep their winning streak alive and push their way out of the bottom four.


WNBL Division One

Barking Abbey v Reading Rockets

Saturday 5 January 2019 – 2.00pm

Live Stats

The Reading Rockets return from Christmas after a long break having played their last game on December 9th against Anglia Ruskin University where they defeated the reigning WNBL Division One playoff champions to advance to the National Cup Final. The Rockets travel to London to face the Barking Abbey Crusaders who will be looking to bounce back from a loss to the number one Bristol Academy Flyers as the second half of the season gets under way.

As it stands, the Barking Abbey Crusaders hold a 2-8 record near the bottom of the table and will be looking to improve on their performance’s in the New Year, whilst the visiting Reading Rockets stand in sixth place and hold an even 3-3 record.


 Ipswich vs Team Solent Kestrels

Saturday 5 January 2019 - 3.00pm

Live Stats

After dropping their final three games of 2018, Ipswich will be looking to their home opener of 2019 for some bounce back potential. The fact that the Suffolk side beat the Kestrels to open the season back in October will provide further confidence that this is a game that can help last year’s National Cup winners back towards a .500 record. That 84-79 win required a come from behind 22-10 4th quarter and 31 total points from Harriet Welham, who’ll no doubt need to be in top form for the hosts.

The early season defeat to Ipswich was one of the few blemishes on the Kestrels 2018 efforts. Going 6-2 before the Christmas break has left the South Coast side with a hold on 2nd place in D1. Winners of three straight coming in, Geena Gomez has been putting up some real numbers. She averages 21.75PPG and 3.75APG, leading the league with a 159 efficiency rating. Gomez v Welham could prove to be some must watch WNBL action this weekend.


Loughborough Riders Vs Southwark Pride

Saturday 5 January 2019 – 4.30pm

Live Stats

Two teams battling in the middle of D1, both Loughborough and Southwark would love a win this weekend in an effort to catch the teams above them. A narrow 3-point win for the Riders when these teams last met suggests these familiar teams will no doubt contest another close encounter here. A close game may well suit the hosts in this one as well. Three of their five wins this season have come by 5 points or less, showing the 2019 National Cup Finalists know how to get over the line in crunch time.

Southwark dropped a surprising home encounter against previously winless Birmingham last time out, and Coach Gibbons will no doubt be wanting to correct that performance at the first opportunity. With the talented guard Megan Haines at their disposal, she’ll be doing all she can tomorrow to make sure that is the case.


Sevenoaks Suns II vs Bristol Academy Flyers

Saturday 5 January 2019 – 5.30pm

Live Stats

As new kids on the block, Sevenoaks II enjoyed a respectable 2018. Wins over Barking, Loughborough and Ipswich had the team at 3-2, but four straight defeats have left the Kent team lacking momentum heading into the New Year. Katie Bennett has averaged over 19PPG so far this season, including a game high 21 when these two sides last met in October.

For Bristol, they enjoyed the honour of being D1’s top side as the curtain fell on 2018 and Coach Till be hopeful that his side can remain in that spot the rest of the way. At 8-1 and with that 69-42 victory against Sevenoaks already under their belts, the Flyers can go into this weekend with confidence that their 8 game winning streak can continue to grow.


NBL Division Two

 Sussex Bears vs East London All Stars

Saturday 5 January 2019 – 5.00pm

Live Stats

As two teams locked in the 4th-7th place pack on 8 points, a win and the potential to take first blood in any head-to-head tiebreaker would be most welcome for either team here. The hosts will be looking to build on a modest two game win streak tomorrow and they’ll be confident of doing just that if they can keep Cordaris Townes hot. The talented American is currently the division’s leading scorer at 27.67PPG, enjoying a 39-point performance against London Westside in December. Clocking over 38 minutes per game so far, you have to figure he’ll have a big say in the result here.

Stopping Townes might be East London’s number one priority, but they have some talent of their own to do damage on the scoreboard. Former London Lion Jonathan James has been averaging a tick under 20PPG so far this season, and he combined with Aaron Badibo to put up 51 points last time out. The All Stars won that game 99-94, and they’ll be looking for more of the same tomorrow.


 Ipswich vs London Westside 

Saturday 5 January 2019 – 5.30pm

Live Stats

2018 wasn’t overly kind to either Ipswich or London Westside, with the teams sat in 8th and 10th respectively. A 111-109 OT thriller against Greenwich is the Suffolk sides only win in their last four games. Ipswich have shipped an average on 96PPG during that run, their key to an uptick in fortunes against Westside is likely to come from improvements at the defensive end.

Entering tomorrow’s match up on the back of a four game skid, Westside don’t have a lot of momentum to call on in their search for a big road win. Their high scoring loss against East London to conclude 2018 showed that their offence can fire given the chance, Levi Edwards is perhaps the most likely player to get hot for the visitors. He scored 30 points last time out, though don’t sleep on Aaron Noel and Tyrell Isaacs. Neither featured in the last game but both are talented scorers so Westside may be left sweating on the duo’s availability in this one.


Derbyshire Arrows vs Westminster Warriors

Sunday 6 January 2019 – 4.15pm

Live Stats

Two teams with differing fortunes lock horns on Sunday, with Westminster the favourites based on league position. Currently sat 2nd at 7-2, the Warriors lost last time they were on their travels, though that was against the currently undefeated league leaders Liverpool in a tight contest. With former Essex Leopard Justin Hitchman dropping 30+ points in each of the last 3 games, both he and Westminster will be hoping that form continues in Derbyshire this weekend.

To counter the potential scoring threat of Hitchman, Derbyshire will no doubt call on the services of the dangerous Joseph Baugh. Continuing his solid form, the 27-year-old ranks 2nd in the division with 24PPG. The Arrows were close to securing a 3rd straight win to end 2018 but a 21-7 final frame on the road in Sussex let the Bears sneak a 68-64 win. Still, look for Derbyshire to try and get back to winning ways now they’re back at home.


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