The Rocks will be looking for a place in the last four of the BBL Cup when they face One Health Sharks Sheffield tonight.
The winner of the match-up at the EIS faces a two leg semi-final against either London Lions or Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders with a place at the final in the National Indoor Arena on Sunday 13th January 2013 at stake.
While Sharks lead the all-time series between the clubs 45-21, Rocks won all three meetings last season and have taken victory in six of the last 11 games between the two franchises.
Sharks’ forward Andrew Bridge – who won the competition with Newcastle Eagles last year – is looking forward to putting his side’s poor start to the BBL Championship campaign behind them as they look for Cup glory: “It’s a break from the BBL, and hopefully we can get the win and put ourselves in the semi-finals.
“I played against the Rocks when I was with Newcastle, and I know how Sterling [Davis] likes his team to play. He’s a tough player and his side play the same way with not an inch given.
“I always enjoyed the games against them, and EJ [Harrison] has been a class performer in this country for years, first in Division One and then moving up to the BBL.
“Sterling always plays well, and I think he’s overlooked as a player now that he coaches as well, but in his Brighton and [London] Towers days he was one of the top players in the country. The amount of work he has to do as a player-coach will change the way he plays, and he’s become more of a role player over the last few years. Certainly in the last couple of years he’s got the balance right and has improved. One of the advantages Fab [Flournoy – Newcastle player/coach] had is that he was role player anyway, so there wasn’t much change. He could also put himself at the point [guard] if things weren’t going as he wanted. Sterling doesn’t have that option, but he’s done a really good job.”
Sterling Davis is aware of the threat that Atiba Lyons and his team post to our chances of Cup success: “The Sharks are a team looking to put together a string of wins themselves. Like us they have not had the ideal start to the season and will be looking to rectify things.
“Gage Daye has really been putting up some good numbers for them from the guard position. He seems to be a natural scorer so we will have to be versed on him.”
Davis is excited about the chance of progressing in the Cup against the side who have the best record in the competition: “It is as important as every other opportunity to win silverware this season. We want to be in the race for everything we can this season and this is our first chance.”
Andrew Wedemire also expects a tough game at the EIS: “From being here last year we know that Sheffield is a very good team. They have really solid bigs in [Mike] Tuck and [Olu] Babaola.
Wedemire admits that Rocks haven’t made the start he would have liked: “The season has been a slow start for us as of this point. Especially with playing very few games together so far as a group. It’s tough to get into a solid rhythm when you have one or no games in a week. So we are looking to put everything together and get on the right track.
We’ll have full coverage of the game from 7:30PM – hope you can join us then!