NBL1 and National Cup preview: 7/8 January 2022 - live streams, stats and more

The NBL is back with a bang as five D1M fixtures and a pair of National Cup semi-finals bring in 2023.

There's four league games on tap for tomorrow plus another on Sunday, with two National Cup semi-finals also scheduled in to close out the weekend.

The NBL Live crew are taking in their first action of the New Year, with Reading's clash against Thames Valley going ahead in front of our cameras to boot.

We take a look at all the action below, with links to live stats and live streams at the bottom of the page.

Reading Rockets (4-6) vs Thames Valley Cavaliers (4-7)

Two teams with playoff aspirations meet on Sunday in front of the NBL Live cameras as Reading host Thames Valley.

Both sides will have been expecting much more from the first half of their respective seasons, given their performances in years past.

Thames Valley have been league runners-up in each of the last three seasons but currently sit 12 points off top spot. A playoff place is much more attainable however, with the possibility of hitting form just in time for a solid post-season run.

Reading are three time D1M champs and four time playoff winners, though their most recent accolade was in 2013/14. Still, the Rockets were 3-0 in KitKing Trophy play to begin 2022/23 after a solid summer of recruitment and their 0-5 start to the regular season was a surprise.

That means both teams are now on the edge of the playoff places rather than in the thick of them, making Sunday's contest an intriguing one.

The match-up between Reading's Troy Cracknell (19.6PPG) and Thames Valley's Victor Olarerin (19.2PPG) is sure to one to watch as well, with both players currently taking up spots in the league's top 10 scorers.

John Hobbs and the team will have all the action from Lodden Valley Leisure Centre, with a 4pm tip. The game can be viewed from the embed below.


Elsewhere this weekend

There's four league games tomorrow, starting with a long trip north for Westminster Warriors (1-9) as they take on Team Newcastle University (5-4).

Six points off potential safety as things stand, the Warriors need to start picking up wins sooner rather than later. That will be tricky against a Newcastle side that have already won three times at home this season.

London Lions II (3-8) are another team with a strong desire to move away from the lower reaches of the standings and they'll have the chance to do just that as they welcome a Nottingham Hoods (5-6) team who are 1-6 in their last 7 games.

Bradford Dragons (5-5) have a tricky assignment as they welcome third place Worthing Thunder (9-2), whilst Saturday's action finishes with Essex Rebels (4-7) taking a trip to Manchester Magic (4-8).

NBL National Cup

Sunday contains two important semi-final ties as a pair of teams look to progress to the National Cup final later this month.

There's a blockbuster match up between Worthing Thunder and Derby Trailblazers, with both teams currently sat in the top three of the D1M standings. 

When the two sides met in the same fixture in mid-November, Worthing won 107-83 thanks to 21 points apiece from Andre Arissol and Hafeez Abdul. The Thunder would enjoy a repeat of that performance to reach their first National Cup final since 2015/16.

The 2017/18 Cup winners Hemel Storm are still unbeaten across all competitions in 2022/23 and they'll be looking to end the fairy tale run of D3 giantkillers Milton Keynes Breakers.

MK have already beaten top flight Bradford, Newcastle and Manchester to make it this far, but topping Hemel will require something that no NBL team has managed to find so far this season.

Hemel Storm claimed the National Cup in 2017/18

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 7 January

3pm - Team Newcastle University vs Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS

4pm - London Lions II vs Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS

6:15pm - Bradford Dragons vs Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS

7pm - Manchester Magic vs Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS

Sunday 8 January

4pm - Reading Rockets vs Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

NBL National Cup

5pm - Worthing Thunder vs Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS

5pm - Hemel Storm vs Milton Keynes Breakers - LIVE STATS


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Main image credit - Luke Simcock