Worcester & Newcastle: The final weekend of regular season previewed

The DBL Sharks Sheffield head into the final weekend of regular season with another BBC Sport TV appearance to come and a myriad of permutations to see where they will eventually finish and who their Playoff Quarter Final opponents will be. The BBC Sport game is the trip to Worcester on Friday evening, looking to break the Wolves eleven game streak. Then, regular season wraps up on Sunday afternoon at the EIS with Newcastle Eagles being the visitors.

The BBL table is so tight that there are many permutations regarding finishing positions. Sunday’s visitors Newcastle are in pole position when it comes to seeds two through to five. They have a 21-10 record and a solitary win over the weekend will see them secure second place. The Sharks, Glasgow and Worcester all sit below with 19-12 records. Glasgow has the head-to-head over both the Sharks and the Wolves and so appear to be in command for third place. The Sharks have the head-to-head over Worcester and must finish with one more win than Glasgow to have a chance of third. For Worcester to finish third, they must total more wins than whichever of the Sharks or the Rocks has more. Finally, Worcester have to play the Sharks at home followed by Leicester away whereas Glasgow travel to Leeds on Friday and play host to London on Sunday. The only clear thing is that the position remains unclear!

The Friday televised game versus Worcester could therefore potentially be a warm up to a Playoff Quarter Final clash. The Wolves last lost to the Sharks back on February 3rd by 79-77 before embarking on their present 11 game streak. Good Friday saw them take down London Lions by 94-90 on home territory. Marek Klassen had the hot hand, shooting 63% from distance on his way to 26 personal, with his trademark five assists to boot. There were also solid efforts from Zeigler (20), Huffor (18) and Kennedy (10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) as Worcester Coach Paul James continues to find the winning formula. The Wolves appear to be the form team going into the final stretch and will hope to continue their imperious form in their home fortress in front of the TV cameras.

It has been a frustrating season for Newcastle Player-Coach Fab Flournoy, having to watch Leicester claim the league title with the comfort of games to spare. Beware the wounded tiger however as Flournoy is at his most lethal when he has the scent of revenge in the air. The Sharks – Eagles series is level at 1-1 following the Sharks 95-84 home win over the North-Easterners in mid-March. Newcastle also come into the game having lost dramatically in overtime against Surrey (112-111) and having also dipped to Leicester by 87-81 in midweek. Reigning MVP Rahmon Fletcher (18 points 8 assists) and Scott Martin (18 points 13 rebounds) did the lions-share of the work against the Riders, who fielded a full-strength side against their nearest rivals. They re-match at Sport Central on Friday before journeying south to the EIS for Sunday’s 2pm tip off.

The Sharks did a good job over the Easter weekend by defeating Playoff-chasing Bristol by the solid margin of 90-71. It was pleasing to see Jordan Davis back on court in time for post-season and it was another stellar performance by the ‘R Attack’ of Rembert and Riley. Rashawn was solid for his 15 points and 6 rebounds and Malcolm made the BBL All Star Five for an outstanding 35 points including nine scores from downtown. It is now key for the Sharks to round off regular season in the right manner. A win in Worcester would see them level their record in TV games at 2-2 and Sunday gives an opportunity to win a head-to-head over the Eagles for the first time in a long time. Above all, comfort and confidence in the style of play need to be to the fore with barely a week to go until the post-season dance begins.

Chances to see your 2016-2017 DBL Sharks Sheffield are running out! If you aren’t travelling to the University Of Worcester Arena for Friday’s game against the Wolves, head over to http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/basketball/37914670 to catch the live stream from BBC Sport at 7.30pm. Regular season wraps up at the EIS on Sunday when Fab Flournoy MBE’s Newcastle Eagles team come to town for a 2pm tip off. Online sales close at 11.30am on Friday21st April for this one or you can purchase your tickets on the door on the day. We have great memories of last season, now it’s time to get behind the guys as we look for a repeat. September seems a long way away so get down to the EIS and let Atiba, Mike and the guys know you are behind them all the way!