There will be no second chances for the thirteen top flight British Basketball League clubs trying to make a splash in the BBL Trophy this season along with the three non-BBL teams all handed the opportunity to complete potential giant-killings.
City Of Edinburgh, London Leopards and Reading Rockets will enter this year’s rejuvenated competition which not only moves away from being played at the start of the season, but also reverts back to a knockout format.
Newcastle Eagles won the BBL Trophy last season as part of their clean sweep and while they haven’t managed to scoop a home draw, they won’t have far to travel when they go up against north-east neighbours Durham Wildcats at Newton Aycliffe.
The other team who made last season’s final were UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders and they will be desperate to go one better this year. Their bid will also start with an away game against Worcester Wolves, a team they know well from previous BBL Trophy meetings.
East London Royals will no doubt be thrilled to play their first ever game in the BBL Trophy on home soil when they face Mersey Tigers who of course won the competition in the capital at the O2 Arena only a couple of years ago.
Fellow BBL newbies Manchester Giants meanwhile have a mouth-watering home tie against One Health Sharks Sheffield while MK Lions will welcome travelling Cheshire Jets.
Perhaps the biggest excitement will be found at the trio of non top-flight teams who can all look forward to home ties.
London Leopards arguably have the toughest assignment should Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders be anything like as powerful as last season although at least Leopards already know from previous experience what it takes to face a team coached by Rob Paternostro.
Last but not least, there are two relative ‘derby’ games of sorts to be played out as EBL club Reading Rockets host Guildford Heat while sparks could fly in Scotland when City of Edinburgh entertain Glasgow Rocks.
BBL Trophy First Round Draw
City of Edinburgh v Glasgow Rocks
Durham Wildcats v Newcastle Eagles
East London Royals v Mersey Tigers
London Leopards v Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders
Manchester Giants v One Health Sharks Sheffield
MK Lions v Cheshire Jets
Reading Rockets v Guildford Heat
Worcester Wolves v UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders
All first round BBL Trophy games will be played between 28th December and 6th January with the winners advancing to the one-legged quarter-final stage.
The semi-finals will be played over two legs ahead of the all-important showpiece 2013 BBL Trophy Final during March.
The full BBL Championship Fixture List will be issued tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11am.