PREVIEW - Team Solent Kestrels & Bristol Academy Flyers take their league-leading records on the road!

NBL Division One

 Leicester Warriors v Team Newcastle 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 3.00pm

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Having picked up a second consecutive win for the third time this season, the Leicester Warriors return to Braunstone Leisure Centre this weekend in hope of three-game win streak. Unable to pick up three wins on the bounce thus far this season, a success in this one against Team Newcastle would be ground-breaking, and see Leicester continue their momentous rise from the relegation battle into playoff contention. The additions of Taylor Johnson and Raphell Thomas-Edwards have been massive for Coach Karl Brown's side - as the two mid-season signings combined for 50 points in last weekend's single point win over Hemel Storm, with Johnson knocking down the crucial game-winning free throw.

Team Newcastle were without a game last weekend, as the North East side enjoyed a rest week to watch on as their Division One foes battled it out. Coach Ian Hewitt's side are 1-4 since the turn of the year, with their sole win coming at the Benfield Centre against Manchester Magic. However, Newcastle have come close on the road a number of times, picking up single digit away losses at Nottingham, Loughborough, and most recently Hemel. With a 5-10 record still holding the visitors in the relegation battle just above the struggling Magic, Coach Hewitt will be hoping his side can get over the hump and pick up a result in this one to create some breathing room between them and the drop-zone. 


 Thames Valley Cavaliers v Loughborough Riders 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 6.00pm

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With probably the most exciting climax to a Division One game last weekend, it will have taken most of this week for the Thames Valley Cavaliers to come down from the high of their last-gasp win over Barking Abbey Crusaders. Walid Mumuni's game-winning and-one jump shot won it in the dying seconds the Cavs, who improved to 11-4 and kept themselves relevant in the race at the top of the table. Abdoulaye Sylla continues to be a force for Coach Robert Banks' side, as the forward poured in 30 points to lead all scorers in the triumph over the Crusaders. 

Meanwhile, Loughborough Riders were not in league action last weekend as they had the small matter of the National Trophy final to contend with; their second finals appearance of the early season. Looking to add Trophy honours to their recent National Cup win at the Essex Sport Arena, the Riders played out an entertaining final in front of a packed house at UEL Sportsdock, but couldn't get it done down the stretch as Worthing Thunder took home the title. With knockout play now in the books until the post-season, Loughborough get their eyes firmly fixed upon the league campaign once again, with this tricky road encounter that may have some bearing on playoff placings when the end of the season rolls around. A win would see Coach Mark Jarram's squad leapfrog the Cavs into third place; vital spoils to be won in this one. 


 Nottingham McDonalds Hoods v Manchester Magic 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 6.30pm

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Nottingham McDonalds Hoods return home this weekend after a narrow victory on the road in East London a week ago. The single digit victory over Barking Abbey was clinched by some solid free throw shooting down the stretch that kept their young hosts at arms length, allowing the Hoods to secure a result that improved their record to 8-9 on the season. After a strong debut campaign in the top flight thus far, the East Midlands' squad will have one eye on a potential playoff berth; currently sole owners of the eighth and final playoff spot. Coach Ryan Westley's side will have to pick up some results as they season continues, with a good chance of completing a season double in this one. 

Manchester Magic head on the road after another disappointing loss last weekend, this time coming on their home floor against the Essex Leopards. With the Magic offering valuable experience to the youngsters on their roster, this season has been an eye-opening welcome to NBL Division One for some of their rising stars - as their young core will need a miraculous end to the season to stave off playing Division Two basketball next season. The 1-17 season record leaves the perennial North West powerhouse with just eight games remaining, needing at least five wins as things stand to avoid the drop. Mid-season addition Coach Simon Fisher will have nothing but confidence in his squad, but the outlook is beginning to look bleak for the Magic. 


 Hemel Storm v Essex Leopards 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 7.00pm

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Downed last weekend by a last-second free throw from Taylor Johnson, the Hemel Storm picked up a single point loss on the road at Leicester Warriors in a disappointing outcome to a competitive game. Coach Robert Youngblood's side will be looking to get back on track as they return to their home floor and the support of the Stormtroopers for this one. An all-East region battle in on the cards as the squad from Hertfordshire welcome the Essex Leopards, with the visitors having had the better run as of late since both sides suffered tricky starts to the season. The Storm require a couple of results to create breathing room between themselves and the drop-zone at the foot of the table, as a win for Team Newcastle this weekend would see Hemel drop back into the bottom two.

Meanwhile, the Essex Leopards have begun the second half on their season on the front foot - with a busy schedule generally going their way as they have amassed a 7-2 record since the turn of the year. The Big Cats find themselves riding high in fifth place as things stand, with a 10-8 season record to their name, as they have thrown their name into the hat - now with a real chance of contending for a solid playoff seeding. With Loughborough likely to catch the Leopards due to games in hand, Coach Thomas Baker's squad are still in full control of a potential top six finish - an amazing turnaround after a difficult start to the campaign. Asante Sandiford has been the perfect compliment to Coach Baker's talented British core since his mid-season arrival, while captain Sam Newman as really led from the front recently with his sharp-shooting and crafty guard play. 


 Derby Trailblazers v Barking Abbey Crusaders 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 7.15pm

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After a 0-4 start to the month of January, the Derby Trailblazers have really picked themselves back up in recent wins as they now hold a three-game win streak. With triumphs over Newcastle, Essex and Bradford, the Blazers find themselves back near the top of the standings with an 11-7 record that is good for fourth place as things stand. With some high-scoring exploits in recent weeks, Derby come into this one having notched triple figures in their previous two encounters, with forward Malcolm Smith amassing an eyebrow-raising 57 points across the two contests. 

Defensive effort will be a the first order of business for Coach Lloyd Gardner and his side as they look to slow down an in-form Derby Trailblazers side that has been scoring at will in recent contests. The Crusaders themselves have had a tricky couple of weeks when you look back at their own form, currently nursing a three-game losing streak - dropping their home double-header last weekend by a combined five points. If this one turns out to be anywhere near as close as those contests, Coach Gardner will be hoping that his side will have learned some lessons from their narrow losses and be able to improve their late-game execution to pinch a result on the road.


 Worthing Thunder v Team Solent Kestrels 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 7.30pm

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In the marquee match-up of this weekend's NBL Division One schedule, a potentially league-deciding encounter will see Worthing Thunder play host Team Solent Kestrels at the Thunderdome on Saturday night. The Thunder will head into this crucial matchup on a high, having picked up the National Trophy title last weekend and holding a 5-1 league record since the turn of the year. A disappointing double overtime loss on their home floor two weeks ago saw Worthing pick up their fourth loss of the season as they dropped to 13-4, meaning the Kestrels can lose this game and still clinch the title if they win out their remaining matchups. However, with a couple of slip-ups already this season, a double-digit victory for Coach Josh Goddard's side would give them a crucial head-to-head advantage; one more loss for the Kestrels down the stretch and the title could be heading to Worthing.

Meanwhile, the visitors who make the short trip along the south coast for this one are a Team Solent Kestrels side that are looking to top the standings from gun to tape, and need a result in this one to have breathing room at the top. With just two losses to their name this season, both coming on the road at Bradford and Thames Valley, Coach Matt Guymon's side have been near-perfect as they look to claim the league title that was in their grasp until the final moments of last season. Holding a two-game win streak since their slip-up against the Cavaliers, the Kestrels will need to bring a top performance to grind out a result in a tough road environment in Sussex. Having swapped out US imports Jon Averkamp for Travis Charles since these two teams last met, Coach Guymon will be looking for big performances from both Charles and Herm Senor II - with Nick Lewis potentially ineligible to face his former side due to contractual obligations. 


 Team Solent Kestrels v Team Newcastle 

Sunday 17 February 2019 - 3.00pm

Live Stats

Regardless of the result on Saturday night, the Team Solent Kestrels are straight back into action on Sunday as they head back to Southampton for a rare outing at St Mary's Leisure Centre. If the Kestrels do indeed drop the game on the road at the Thunderdome, their stretch run of results becomes even more crucial as they would need to stay perfect to keep Worthing at bay and take home the title. On the other side of this matchup, Team Newcastle complete their road double-header by continuing to head south after an encounter with Leicester Warriors on Saturday afternoon - before the longest road trip of the season sees them make the long Sunday evening journey back to the North East. With two chances to pick up a vital win this weekend, Coach Ian Hewitt will hope to at least split this weekend's to put his side in position to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. 


 Barking Abbey Crusaders v Worthing Thunder 

Sunday 17 February 2019 - 4.00pm

Live Stats

Another set of teams completing double-header weekends sees Barking Abbey Crusaders return home after a road matchup in Nottingham the night before. A squad currently in the purgatory of the lower half of the table, the Crusaders find themselves one win clear of the relegation spots, while they are two wins away from competing for a playoff spot. Coach Lloyd Gardner's side have two chances to pinch a result this weekend - with the more likely chance at a win coming when they open up their back-to-back on the road. Worthing will need to refocus when they head into East London, regardless of their result on Saturday night against the Kestrels, they need every point they can get as both the league title and playoff seedings go right down to the wire throughout the stretch run of this season.


 Loughborough Riders v Thames Valley Cavaliers 

Sunday 17 February 2019 - 4.30pm

Live Stats

The Loughborough Riders and Thames Valley Cavaliers will find themselves highly familiar with one another after this weekend is over, with the season series between the two sides being played out within a 24 hour period. The Riders head to Uxbridge on Saturday to open up their double-header against the Cavaliers, before returning home to play out the matchup in front of their home fans. With both sides tied on four losses as things stand, this weekend back-to-back could be crucial in deciding final playoff seedings - with a vital head-to-head tie-breaker on offer. 


 Reading Rockets v Bradford Dragons 

Sunday 17 February 2019 - 5.00pm

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The final game of the NBL Division One weekend sees Reading Rockets welcome Bradford Dragons, as the hosts look to bounce back from some disappointing play as of late. The Rockets head into this one with a three-game losing streak, as they have fallen in the season standings right down to seventh as they now face a fight for one of final playoff spots if they don't get out of this funk. With reports stating that Adrian O'Sullivan is close to a return after being sidelines with injury, Coach Alan Keane may soon be able to call on a fully fit lineup down the stretch of this season. 

The visitors in this one have had a dismal second half of the season thus far, with the Dragons stumbling to a 0-5 record since the turn of the year as they have fallen out of the playoff spots. A relegation battle is now looming if Coach Chris Mellor's can't slip the switch, as a 6-10 record is now good for just 11th place on the year. After a 3-0 start to the season, and picking up a clutch shocker of a win over Team Solent Kestrels, the Dragons have had their moments of brilliance - but they have been few and far between for the West Yorkshire side which has seen their expectations plummet in recent weeks. A bright spot in the disappointing of 2019 for Bradford has been the continued production of Rihards Sulcs, as the crafty wing scorer shows he is up there with the best of the NBL Division One crop - averaging 21.2ppg (3rd) and 9.3rpg (9th). 


WNBL Division One

 Ipswich v Loughborough Riders 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 3.00pm

Live Stats

Having gone an undefeated 4-0 to kick off 2019, the odds were leaning heavily in Ipswich's favour last weekend to continue their hot streak when they went on the road to bottom of the table Team Birmingham Elite. However, the Suffolk-based were stunned as they took a single point loss home with them, dropping to 7-6 on the season. Having bounced back from a mixed start to the season with a strong resurgence after the New Year, Coach Nick Drane's squad will be looking to get back on track in this one as they host Loughborough Riders. 

The visiting Riders head into this one off a dominant home performance against Sevenoaks, as the National Cup champions earned a blowout victory over the young Suns side. Niamh Kelshaw was the pick of the bunch on the day, as she paced her side with 21 points after a hot shooting display. The young Loughborough squad currently hold a solid 7-4 record, putting them right in contention for a top four finish as the business end of the season approaches. 


 Bristol Academy Flyers v Reading Rockets 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 3.30pm

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Bristol Academy Flyers' league-leading 10-2 record will be sternly tested this weekend as they embark on a double-header of action, beginning with a home tie against Reading on Saturday afternoon. Having righted the ship with victory over Birmingham after a tough loss against Ipswich, Coach Gareth Till's squad will be looking to regather their momentum as both the Rhinos and Kestrels are snapping at their heels. 

Meanwhile, Reading Rockets have had a rough start to 2019, yet to pick up a win - on a four-game losing streak as things stand. Roll in the Rockets' loss in the National Cup final and the first five weeks of the year have been nothing but disappointing for Coach David Sanchez' group. A difficult task awaits them on Saturday as they head down the M4 to the league-leaders, but after only a single digit loss at Rivermead earlier in the campaign, the Berkshire-based squad make the trip with belief of a potential result.


 Team Solent Kestrels v Anglia Ruskin University 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 6.00pm

Live Stats

Another side near the top of the standings that will put their record on the line in double-header action is Team Solent Kestrels, as they begin their home back-to-back with a third vs second matchup that could be vital as the top four shakes up down the stretch. Anglia Ruskin pinched a three point win the last time these two faced off, so the Kestrels will be hungry to avenge their earlier loss.

The Rhinos themselves make their way into this encounter on a four-game win streak since the turn of the year, as newly appointed head coach Michael Hanson-Morris has enjoyed a successful start to life in Cambridge since his switch from Nottingham Wildcats WBBL side. Anglia Ruskin's 9-2 record is the closest competitor to Bristol's league-leading mark as things stand, and a big win over Team Solent would do wonders in their plight for the top spot. 


 Team Solent Kestrels v Bristol Academy Flyers 

Sunday 17 February 2019 - 5.30pm

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The WNBL Division One weekend is wrapped up by another marquee matchup as the league-leaders travel to the third-placed side. Team Solent complete their home-and-home double-header with another matchup that could prove critical in the final standings near the top, and Coach CJ Lee's side will have to be ready to battle against a talented Flyers' roster. With Saturday's potentially easier matchup against Reading out of the way, Coach Gareth Till and his side will have to regroup as they head to the south coast for another crucial encounter in their plight for a league title. 


NBL Division Two

 Liverpool v Derbyshire Arrows 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 5.00pm

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Liverpool open the NBL Division Two weekend as they look to continue to stay perfect in NBL Division Two play, their 13-0 record remaining unblemished after a tricky win on the road at London Westside last weekend. David Ulph had a vastly important 27 point haul in that one, a crucial contribution that Coach Delme Herriman can be repeated in this contest. 

Meanwhile, the Derbyshire Arrows head into this one with one hand on a playoff spot as they sit in the eighth and final playoff position with a 5-8 record. A difficult task lies ahead as they look to break new ground by being the first team to earn victory at Archbishop Beck, but Coach Jonny Kelly and his squad will do their best to provide an upset on the road.


 East London All Stars v Myerscough College 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 5.00pm

Live Stats

East London All Stars are back on their home floor this weekend, after UEL Sportsdock played host to some exciting Senior Cup Finals last Sunday. Nursing a two-game losing streak, Coach Dave Greenaway and his group will need a big bounce back performance in this one if they are to improve on their 6-8 mark thus far this campaign. 

Myerscough College head on the road sitting just above their foes in this one with a 7-6 mark on the season, as Coach Neal Hopkins and his side look to maintain their status above .500 and competing for a playoff spot. With hopes of a top four position and home advantage in the playoffs, the North West side will be hungry to pick up another win in this one - a rematch of the NBL Division Three playoff final a season ago. 


 Sussex Bears v Westminster Warriors 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 5.00pm

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Heading back to the south coast are a Sussex Bears side that were unable to clinch victory on the road last weekend as they took a narrow loss at the hands of Myerscough. Cordaris Townes continues his standout season for the Bears, with an eye-catching stat-line almost every weekend, and Coach Gary Smith will look to his top players again this weekend in a difficult matchup against the league's second-placed squad.

Fresh off picking up their second consecutive Patrons Cup title, the Westminster Warriors make a trip down to the coast for this one in the hopes of picking up their 11th win of the campaign. Their record sits at 10-2, a mark that separates them from the chasing pack and continues to breath down the neck of an unblemished Liverpool side. Needing every point to continue to chase the Merseysiders, player-coach Jon Johnson will have his side focused and ready as they resume league play.


 Ipswich v London United 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 5.30pm

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A disappointing second half in the Patrons Cup final saw the occasion get the better of the young Ipswich roster, while their was a standout performance from forward Ethan Price who turned heads with his play in East London. With their focus back solely on league play, the Suffolk-based squad will hope to improve upon a 4-9 mark down the stretch here, as a recent three-game losing streak hasn't helped their current position in the ninth spot - a placing which has them on the outside looking in as the playoff race shakes up. 

Meanwhile, London United look like a dangerous side down the stretch here as the business end of the season approaches. With some up-and-down play throughout the campaign, the West London squad have recently put together a two-game win streak as they have found a way to secure the points in close contests. Their 7-6 record has them holding onto fourth place as things stand, a position that they would love to cement and secure home court advantage at Alec Reed when the playoffs commence. 


 London Westside v Greenwich Titans 

Saturday 16 February 2019 - 6.15pm

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A disappointing campaign for London Westside has seen them firmly rooted to the foot of the table with a rough 2-11 record to their name. However, recent mid-season additions and a consequent uptick in form has seen the Londoners compete closely with both Myerscough and Liverpool in recent weeks, as both high-flying North West sides were made to work for single digit victories.

Facing off against the league's basement side is a Greenwich Titans team that enters a back-to-back this weekend looking to build on their strong blowout win against London Greenhouse Pioneers just a week ago. The triumph was just the Titans' third victory of the campaign - but with two chances to add to that this weekend, they will hope they can widen the breathing room between themselves and the foot of the table.


 Greenwich Titans v Myerscough College 

Sunday 17 February 2019 - 2.15pm

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A Sunday matinee game sees two sides completing a weekend back-to-back as Greenwich return home after a cross-capital matchup with London Westside the night before. Meanwhile, Myerscough complete an East London double-header as they make the short trip on Sunday after an encounter with the All Stars the day before. The North West side head into this one as the favourites, as the higher ranked team, but after a dominant win against the fifth-placed Pioneers last weekend - Greenwich will firmly believe that anything is possible.


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