KitKing Trophy 2023/24: Hemel's streak continues, big wins for COB, MK and more

The 2023/24 season got underway with 10 KitKing Trophy games.

The competition is organised by NBL1 Men's clubs in partnership with naming rights holder and BE, and the opening weekend saw Hemel returning to old ways as they beat Essex, while City of Birmingham were the only team to pick up a pair of wins.

The pool fixtures of the competition are set to be completed next weekend, with each team playing three games before the top two sides in each pool progress to the quarter-finals on 30 September/1 October.

We take a look at all the action below from across the four groups on a weekend where nine out of the ten home teams all claimed victory.

Group 1

Twenty points from Elijah Maynard plus a near-triple-double from Zack Powell (17pts, 10reb, 8ast) was enough for Reading to start their Group 1 campaign with a win, seeing off Worthing Thunder 95-78.

Life would get better for Worthing 24 hours later though as they saw off Barking Abbey 93-87. Tom Ward (23pts, 7ast, 6reb) was in fine form for the hosts as they got their first W, whilst Barking were led by a 20-point, 15-rebound double-double from new signing Juan Manning.

Sunday's loss dropped BA back to 1-1 in Group 1 after they started the weekend with a comfortable 89-68 win over Brighton Bears.

Melchi Egbeyemi starred off the bench with 21 points as Barking led 25-10 after a quarter and 49-24 at the half.

Group 2

Group 2's only game this weekend saw defending champs Hemel Storm get their campaign off to the best possible start as they beat Essex Rebels 102-91.

Storm leant on the trio of Seth Swalve (29pts), Sam Newman (23pts, 7ast) and Hakeem Sylla (21pts, 12reb) in a potential sign of things to come for Mark Clark's new side as they adjust to life without Taylor Johnson and Aaryn Rai.

Trey Chapman had 23 points for the visitors, who drop to 0-1 in the group.

Group 3

Newly promoted City of Birmingham Rockets enjoyed their first taste of D1M action as they saw off not one but two sides this weekend.

The Rockets got the better of Nottingham Hoods 113-91 in their home opener on Saturday, with Sam Toluwase (26pts) and Orlan Jackman (26pts, 7reb) both enjoying productive evenings.

That run continued on Sunday as the former D2 champs went on the road to Loughborough and sealed an 83-69 victory, moving to 2-0 in the process.

The tip-to-buzzer win was once again led by Toluwase (13pts, 5reb) as part of a team effort where seven Rockets scored nine or more points.

Elijah Bailey started his season with a bang for Loughborough despite the final score, dropping a game-high 35 points.

The other game in the group this weekend saw Milton Keynes Breakers easily see off Nottingham last night, coming through as 93-72 winners.

MK won three of the game's four quarters, including the first 32-18, to open up an advantage that topped out at 32 points in the third quarter.

Breakers' captain Jordan Spencer (19pts, 10reb, 7ast) led the charge, shooting 7/10 from the field and 4/7 from long range.

Group 4

A trio of games took place in Group 4, starting with Bradford taking a close one against Newcastle, 87-80.

The visitors erased a two-point deficit heading into the fourth to lead by one with 4:47 remaining, but the Dragons would fight back to claim their first win of the year behind 27 points from last season's D1M scoring leader Justin Williams.

Williams' dual with Newcastle's Logan Rooney (27pts, 5/10 3pt) was fine viewing as both players already look in solid form.

The North East side would bounce back on Sunday with an 85-80 home win over Manchester, with Rooney (26pts) once again going to work.

His efforts countered a 25 point, 10 rebound double-double from Magic captain Pharroh Gordon.

That meant Manchester endured an 0-2 weekend after their 81-57 loss in Derby on Saturday night.

Twenty three points from Sam Masten (including a perfect 8/8 from inside the arc) was too much for the North West side to overcome, with Derby guard Charlie Brown (9ast, 7reb) flirting with a double-double despite taking just a single shot in the contest.

This weekend's results:

Saturday 16 September

2pm - Reading Rockets 95-78 Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS

2pm - Barking Abbey 89-68 Brighton Bears - LIVE STATS

6:15pm - Bradford Dragons 87-80 Newcastle University - LIVE STATS

7:30pm - City of Birmingham Rockets 113-91 Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS

7:30pm - Derby Trailblazers 81-57 Manchester Magic - LIVE STATS

Sunday 17 September

3pm - Newcastle University 85-80 Manchester Magic - LIVE STATS

4pm - Loughborough Riders 69-83 City of Birmingham Rockets - LIVE STATS

5pm - Worthing Thunder 93-87 Barking Abbey - LIVE STATS

6pm - Hemel Storm 102-91 Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS

6pm - Milton Keynes Breakers 93-72 Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS