The NBL Division One invitational competition, which is run and administered by NBL1 clubs and sanctioned by Basketball England, is heating up with four teams still standing.
Team Newcastle University host Reading Rockets on Saturday, while defending NBL champions, league leaders and L Lynch holders Team Solent Kestrels visit Derby Trailblazers.
The second semi is a repeat of last weekend’s National Cup fixture between the two teams - which Solent won 80-56 - and Derby head coach Matt Shaw knows his team will have to up their game to avoid a similar outcome.
“You have to play well to give yourself a chance of beating Solent and we just didn’t play well,” he said. “We had a spell in the first and second quarter which overlapped the quarter break where we were just terrible and, conversely, they were excellent, hitting a lot of shots.
“It felt like there was a bubble put over our basket and we couldn’t get any sort of offence flowing and the game was over from that point.”
The other semi features two teams in mixed league form. Newcastle go into the clash with Reading with a 6-5 record, going 3-2 across their last five games. Sat in sixth place in Division One, they do however boast one of D1M's top scorers in guard Ronald Blain. The American currently averages a league second-best 28.9PPG this season.
The Rockets’ season hasn’t got off the ground yet either, with three wins from eight D1 outings. The Berkshire side are 3-1 in their last four league games though and appear to have turned a corner in recent weeks.
Team Newcastle University captain David Moya said: "We play a very talented Reading team who we know like to play fast, but so do we. We will make the effort to play to our strengths and take care of business. We know we are one win away from a shot at the Trophy.”
With both teams struggling to keep up with D1M's top teams, this weekend's semi-final presents a real opportunity at some potential silverware.
The final will take place at Thunder’s Worthing Leisure Centre court, Sunday, 2 January (4pm)
Tickets can be bought using the button below.
With an expansive fleet of modern plant and equipment, Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage provides operated, self-drive and contract hire plant to a variety of sectors within the construction arena. Contracts within the civil engineering, rail engineering, public utilities, ground works, highways maintenance, demolition and winter maintenance sectors all offer Lynch the opportunity to build a wide portfolio of skills within a variety of areas.
Main image credit - Luke Simcock
24 Jan 2022
See full gallery