The Third Weekend Previewed…Plymouth visit The Tank

Weekend number three of the new BBL season approaches for the DBL Sharks Sheffield with a relatively unknown quantity on the horizon. Plymouth Raiders are the third visitors to the EIS in a six week stretch with a new Coach and a much-changed roster. The Sharks will be looking to build on consecutive wins and continue the progress to being the ‘real deal.’

While there were plenty of changes over the summer down in Devon, it was actually a return for Coach Gavin Love after a break of a few years. He has assembled a roster from scratch but it is not a roster without BBL experience. Firstly, pulling the strings from the point is Neil Watson. The former Leicester Rider and Glasgow Rock poured in an eye-watering 38 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists against Leeds in Plymouth’s 98-78 win and has all the talent that you would expect of a former league champion. Louis Sayers, man-mountain Zak Wells, Eddie Matthew and Dylan Costelloe also provide a collective of BBL experience to the men in green. 6’ 8” Greg Mays, who weighed in with 22 points and 10 rebounds against Leeds has been surprisingly cut from the team and the Raiders have now announced the signing of former Cheshire Phoenix star Kinu Rochford, joining fellow import 27 year old Brandon Penn, who had a healthy 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists against the Yorkshiremen. The experienced Nick Tomsick backs up the guard positions and the local recruiting of Stephen Gordon, Denzel Ubiaro and Matthew Broderick fills up the squad. One player currently out through injury is Joonas Jarvelainen and it remains unclear as to whether he will be fit to face the Sharks. Plymouth sit at 1-1 having lost by 87-75 to Bristol on the opening weekend but with the experienced Love at the helm, who clearly has Raiders basketball at heart, they could yet become a force to be reckoned with.

It was a second win on the trot for the Sharks as they took the first game of the Yorkshire derby series by 98-71 over Leeds Force. The Sharks showed all their offensive talents as Williams, Gachette and Tuck all crashed in dunks with McKnight and Alexander finding success from beyond the arc, sometimes a good distance beyond the arc! Gachette showed his experience on his way to 21 points with 7 assists and it would be remiss to not mention the 14 point, 18 rebound double double put up by Tony Wroblicky that earned him an All Star Five position. Coach Lyons freely admits that his side is a work in progress. Leeds crept back into the game at the end of the first and second quarters after the Sharks had built up double figure leads and this will have been a focus in the week leading up to the Plymouth contest.

Pickiness aside, the Sharks have achieved the last two wins with a shortened roster, having had injuries to Marko Backovic, Eddy Brownell and now Ryan Wilson but have still managed to win with panache. The opportunity to turn the ‘Tank’ into a fortress awaits with the visits of Plymouth, Bristol, London followed by a home BBL Cup tie in the coming weeks. There is a good deal of potential in this incarnation of the Sharks and with the right application, their loyal fans could be in for a treat.

Will the streak continue? There is only one way to find out. Join the loyal band of followers in the Sharknation and take your seat for another night of top basketball action. To claim your ticket go to:

http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?pid=8466649&agency=TDC_UK&campid=TDC_NEW_WWW_2013

Will there be choppy waters for Plymouth? It’s time to #FearTheFin !

Image: Andy Chubb