After a protracted spell away, the DBL Sharks Sheffield finally return to home action with the visit of third-placed Glasgow Rocks. Sterling Davis’ side journey south on the back of a pair of defeats and will be keen to keep in touch with the top two. The action doesn’t end there as the Sharks head on over to Cheshire on Sunday to take a resurgent Phoenix, fresh from a win in front of the BBC cameras last weekend.
Glasgow currently sit in third place with a 16-7 record, six points behind Newcastle and ten behind leaders Leicester. They had an unproductive weekend last time out with defeats to Newcastle (92-85) and Surrey (89-75). The Surrey defeat saw them without the services of Anthony Elechi and influential Point guard Neil Watson and clearly Rocks playcaller Sterling Davis will be keen to field these two in the encounter with the Sharks. Last weekend aside, it has been a tremendous season for the Scots so far. Watson has been a shrewd acquisition with 16.77 points per game, 4.73 assists per game and 1.18 steals per game in Championship play thus far. Also in imperious form is BBL player of the month Kieron Achara. The veteran Scot is the glue in a very versatile roster and is still putting up 14.3 points per game and a healthy 7.5 boards per game in the league. Ditto his GB colleague Gareth Murray, who is weighing in with 13.5 points per game and 4.7 rebounds. The Rocks have a few ‘under the radar’ guys that all contribute to the team effort such as Hayden Lescault, John Bunyan, Anthony Elechi and Lewis Thomas and it is this team ethic that has propelled Glasgow to their current lofty position. The Rocks hold a 1-0 lead in the series over the Sharks thanks to an early season 78-61 victory at the Emirates Arena and tackle the Sharks twice at the EIS in quick succession; the second game of which is being televised by the BBC on March 31st.
A reinvigorated Cheshire Phoenix are Sunday’s opponents for the Sharks. The ‘Nix are buoyed by an 87-74 win over Leeds in front of the BBC cameras on Friday and ran leaders Leicester close in an 82-75 loss on Saturday. Robbie Peers is now installed as Head Coach (although he didn’t Coach Friday’s game) and influential Guard Mike DiNunno is back. Earl Brown Jr (18.2 ppg 7.8 rpg) has been killing it for the ‘Nix all season long in a campaign where they have seen many changes of personnel. Captain and former Leicester Rider Jamell Anderson is another constant for Cheshire and with the likes of Frank Eaves (17.1 ppg in the Championship) and Anderson’s former Leicester team-mate Raheem May-Thompson, they have enough firepower to get the job done on the offensive end. Inconsistency has been their downfall and they will now be looking to time their run correctly to improve from a current 5-17 record to something that may just scrape into the Playoffs. The TV audience on Friday saw that they more than have the ability to do this and Coach Lyons, in his capacity as TV summariser, will be fully aware of this too.
It was a split weekend for the Sharks on their South West road trip last time out. They went toe to toe with Bristol on Saturday before Aaron Cosby and Hameed Ali broke the shackles in the final quarter to see the Flyers to an 82-69 success. The result was much more favourable in Plymouth on Sunday. The Sharks matched the Raiders offensive freedom in the early stages before pulling out a very solid third quarter to gain an advantage. The win was then well marshalled to the final buzzer with a hard-earned 87-81 triumph. New signing Max Guercy showed that he will be a valuable acquisition to the season end; showing the stomach for the fight especially in Plymouth where he corralled 6 boards and 5 assists in a good team display. The first of two visits for Glasgow to the EIS will be another testing night for Atiba Lyons’ men but clearly the Sharks are a vastly different animal to the side that lost north of the border early in the campaign. Taking on the top teams will be a measure of how the South Yorkshire side sit as the scramble for positions begins.
Tem games remain in the BBL Championship regular season and your DBL Sharks Sheffield will be at home for five of them! We are getting into the business end of the season so it is time for everyone to up their game. We go this Friday 10th March at 7.30pm live from the EIS as Glasgow Rocks are our visitors. Hit the home page link to secure your seats as there will be a lot of interest in this one! It is game three of a seven match month. We have our own version of March Madness and clearly you’d be mad to miss out. Let’s do this SharkNation!
Image: Sharks Team Photographers