NBL1 & National Cup recap: 6/7 January - live streams, stats and more

The first weekend of NBL action for 2024 is now in the books, and it didn't disappoint across league and Cup play.

Four leagues contests took place on Saturday, including the bottom of the table clash between Thames Valley and Barking Abbey, before the NBL National Cup finalists were confirmed yesterday evening.

In a pair of exciting ties, Reading edged past current D1M leaders Essex, whilst D2M side Milton Keynes Breakers ousted last year's finalists Derby Trailblazers.

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

National Cup

The NBL National Cup finalists have been confirmed, with Reading Rockets and Milton Keynes Breakers set to contest this season's showpiece in Manchester.

Reading were able to find a way past fellow D1M outfit Essex Rebels, doing so 93-88 in an action-packed encounter.

Both teams took the opportunity to hold the lead throughout a back-and-forth second half, though a 25-19 final frame and 32 points from Jermiah Jenkins (8/10 3pt) would eventually get the Rockets into their first final since 2019/20.

"It's great to be in the final," said Rockets head coach Samit Nurazade.

"It was a good win, considering the circumstance, missing Lewis our captain. But never the less, everyone came through. We started slowly, but we got ourselves into the game and carried on from there.

"Full credit to Essex, they're a great team, well coached, fought really really hard and made it incredibly difficult for us, even into the last seconds. But I'm delighted for the Rockets' family and delighted that we're into the final."

In a similarly tense clash, D2 side Milton Keynes edged last season's finalists Derby Trailblazers 83-80, surviving not one but two last-gasp three point attempts to tie up the score and force OT.

Sam Masten's potential game-tying shot failed to find the mark, and after scrambling to recover the rebound, Corey Johnson's effort would meet a similar fate.

MK shared the load on offence as Jordan Spencer (19pts, 6ast, 5reb), Nathan Robinson (18pts) and Blayne Freckleton (16pts, 6reb) all impressed, cancelling out Masten's 22 point, seven assist effort in reply.

Breakers coach Billy Beddow said: "It was a brilliant game against a tough and well coached Derby side.

"We knew it was a battle but after the defeat in the semi-final of the National Cup last year, this was one of our goals for the season.

"It’s a historic win for the club, one that required a lot from the players and also the club and coaching staff in preparation. We are really excited to head to Manchester for the final and we hope all of #BreakerNation come along to support us!"

Thames Valley Cavaliers (3-9) 89-74 Barking Abbey (0-11)

Thames Valley moved out of D1M's bottom two with a comfortable win over fellow strugglers Barking Abbey, with an 89-74 final score.

TVC were able to keep BA winless thanks to 24 points from Mergim Sokoli and a 30-17 second quarter that erased an early Barking lead, handing the Cavs an advantage they'd never relinquish.

AJ Roberts chipped in another 22 points for the hosts, alongside Bode Adeluola who added 13 more.

Former Thames Valley guard Juan Manning led the way for BA, dropping a team-high 18 points that included a pair of triples, as Melchi Egbeyemi (17pts) and Moziah King-Danchie (13pts) both contributed off the bench.

Victory for coach Banks' side and a loss for London Elite sees TVC move out of the bottom two and away from the potential relegation places. Barking, however, remain bottom of the standings and are now six points away from safety.


Elsewhere this weekend

Newcastle University (7-2) started the weekend in commanding fashion, knocking off Nottingham Hoods (6-6) 126-94.

The hosts continued their push towards title contention with 25 points and seven boards from Logan Rooney, with Josh Moore adding another 21 points off the Newcastle bench.

Joshua Guddemi (22pts, 9reb) was the pick of the bunch for Nottingham.

London Elite (2-9) couldn't make home advantage count as they went down 92-81 against Loughborough Riders (7-4).

The Riders built a 55-36 half time lead that would see them through to a seventh win of the campaign, further increasing Elite's relegation fears in the process.

The day closed with a much-needed win for Worthing Thunder (4-6) as they saw off City of Birmingham Rockets (4-6) 88-76.

Player/Coach Zaire Taylor (14pts, 10reb) provided a classic double-double performance, as did Daniel Johnson-Thompson (12pts, 10reb), with Hafeez Abdul top scoring on 19 points.

Samuel Toluwase had 19 points and six rebounds in defeat for CoB, who have now lost five in a row.

This weekend's results:

Saturday 6 January - D1M

2pm - Newcastle University 126-94 Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS

6:30pm - London Elite 81-92 Loughborough Riders

7pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers 89-74 Barking Abbey - LIVE STATS

7:30pm - Worthing Thunder 88-76 City of Birmingham Rockets - LIVE STATS

Sunday 7 January - NBL National Cup

4pm - Reading Rockets 93-88 Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

5:30pm - Derby Trailblazers 80-83 Milton Keynes Breakers - LIVE STATS


Main image credit - Milton Keynes Breakers