KitKing Trophy Final 2024: Derby and Bradford go head to head - live stream, preview, live stats

History will be made when the Derby Trailblazers and Bradford Dragons clash in the KitKing Trophy final at Loughborough University on Saturday. 

Derby are the first team in the competition’s four-year existence to reach the final for a second time, with the opportunity to lift the Trophy once again following their success in 2022. 

Then, the Trailblazers beat Newcastle University 86-71 in what was the L Lynch Trophy, with Malcolm Smith collecting MVP honours with a monster 30 points and 18 rebounds. 

"We're excited to be playing in our second KitKing Trophy final; it's been a really good competition over the last three or four years since COVID," said Trailblazers coach Matt Shaw. 

"This is a great chance for us to win some silverware. We've had a good season in the KitKing [Trophy], and we did really well in the group stages. 

"So, hopefully, with it being so close to Derby and a really good crowd coming to support us, we can put some silverware in the cabinet for the fans and for the club volunteers who work so tirelessly in the background."   

They take on a Bradford Dragons side that will play its first major final since the 2009/10 season when they lost 95-89 in the National Shield to London United – Richmond College. 

However, Bradford will have their own history-maker within their ranks on Saturday, as Ronald Blain will be the first player to play a third KitKing Trophy final. 

Blain was part of the Newcastle team that lost to Derby in 2022. Last year, the American also fell short with the Worthing Thunder, as they were defeated 99-92 by Hemel Storm. 

Dragons fans will hope that the third time will be the charm. 

"Everyone in and around the club is really excited and looking forward to Saturday," said Dragons coach Chris Mellor, who started the club in 2001 with six junior players. 

"It's a final, but our approach this week will be to stay calm and focused. We have a veteran group, which will help some of our younger guys from getting over-excited."

Derby were the competition#'s winners in 2022

Last time out 

The two teams have only met once this season, with Derby drawing first blood with a 96-80 success in West Yorkshire on 9 December. 

Corey Johnson drained five three-pointers for 22 points, cancelling out a game-high 23 from Dragons' Jordan Whelan. 

Malcolm Smith added 18 points for the Trailblazers, who shot 53% from the floor. 

"Derby has an experienced, strong team that sits at the top of the league right now, so we know what level of performance is required," said Mellor. 

Derby's road win over Bradford was their second of what would eventually be 12 straight wins.  

That has led them to the brink of the NBL Division 1 league title, with a vital head-to-head advantage over their closest challengers, Essex and Hemel.   

That streak dramatically ended last Saturday as a Veron Eze buzzer-beater gave his Hemel Storm a 102-101 win, only Derby's third loss in 20 games.   

Despite that, Derby welcomed back their leading scorer, Sam Masten, who was absent the week before against Barking Abbey in the NBL Live game


Bradford Ronald Blain has played in two previous finals. Picture: @tagevision

Bradford sit in seventh spot in the Division 1 table with a 10-10 record.  

However, after a 0-3 start, they have recovered well and are entering Saturday's showpiece in good form, having won three of their last four games. 

The latest win came against Worthing Thunder, with Zion Tordoff leading the way with a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double in an 86-81 victory. 

The Dragons, who boast one of the deepest rosters in the league, will look towards talisman Justin Williams, who averages 19 points and 4.5 assists a game, alongside Bradford-born-and-bred Tordoff, who is impressing with 14.1 points and 10.4 rebounds to steer them towards a first ever trophy. 

"Bradford are a really good team, perhaps one of the deepest rosters when everyone is healthy," added Shaw. 

"It will be great to face off against [Chris] Mellor. I'm really excited to be facing off with him. I'm happy for him that he's got to a final, and it should be a really great occasion." 



Words by John Hobbs