BBL Championship

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – Manchester Giants v DBL Sharks Sheffield

Friday 19th April 2019 – DBL Sharks Sheffield v London City Royals

The DBL Sharks Sheffield face another double helping of BBL Championship basketball as the race to post season continues. Wednesday sees a trip to tenth placed Manchester Giants, who potentially need to win all of their remaining three games to stay in playoff contention. The Sharks welcome the London City Royals to the EIS on Friday night with a vital head to head poised at 1-1 against the side just one place below them in the table.

What to expect – Manchester Giants

The Giants have been something of a bogey side for the Sharks this season. They took an opening day 87-92 win at the EIS and followed that up with a 72-101 success just before the turn of the new year. They currently sit in tenth place with a 13-17 record and may potentially need to win all those remaining three games if they are to have a chance of making post season. Whatever the outcome, the Giants have mostly delighted this season, often with a very short roster. Double double machine Willie Clayton has been one of the keys to their success with his 18.5 points per game and eye-watering 15.1 rebounds but a talented squad including the likes of Torry Butler, Mike McCall Jr, Callum Jones, Ingus Bankevics and Vlatko Granic will be keen to end regular season on a high. Coach Danny Byrne can be proud of his team’s efforts throughout the campaign and will be keen to secure another victory on the Sharks first visit to the George Carnell Sports Centre.

What to expect – London City Royals

BBL Trophy winners London City Royals are the visitors to the EIS on Friday night with the series poised at 1-1. The Royals took an 83-70 mid January win at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre before the Sharks ended their home league unbeaten run by 65-72 at the end of March. The Royals sit in sixth place and boast a plethora of British talent that has already guided them to one piece of silverware this season already. The talisman for the Royals so often this campaign has been Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who is weighing in with 16.9 points per game and 6.6 rebounds and brings all his experience of the European game to bear. The rest of the roster reads like a Who’s Who of British basketball with the likes of GB’s Ashley Hamilton, vet Orlan Jackman, Will Neighbour and former Shark Sam Toluwase. The Royals break with tradition through former NBA G League point guard Wes Washpun and it’s generally the case that when Washpun has a good game, the Royals usually taste victory. One of the most entertaining BBL sides to watch, the Royals encounter is another huge game on the fixture list.

Shark Watch

The Sharks took a huge win over Newcastle last Friday to put them in the box seat as the drive for playoff places continues. The North East hasn’t been a happy hunting ground in recent years but behind 26 points and 7 rebounds from Dirk Williams and a 14 point 10 rebound double double from Rob Marsden, the Sharks held out for an important victory. Yet the playoffs still aren’t certain. It looks likely that the Sharks will need at least one more win to secure their place and will be keen to finish as high up at the standings as possible as only the top seven will qualify for next year’s lucrative All Stars Championship as well. Momentum is another factor to consider – the timing of that winning run is usually key to the side that sees Playoff success. Now would be a good time to put that streak together with the O2 Arena in London not too far away on the horizon.

Last time out

DBL Sharks Sheffield (Alexander 26, Williams 21, Marsden 10) 72 Manchester Giants (Butler 22, McCall 22, Bankevics 17) 101

London City Royals (Hamilton 15, Bryan-Amaning 11, Jackman 9) 65 DBL Sharks Sheffield (McKnight 14, Alexander 14, Williams 14) 72

Fans Corner

We need you to get us over the line! Atiba and the guys are pulling out all the stops to secure this playoff place but we could do with the SharkNation out in force to see us into post season. We have a short trip over the Pennines to Manchester on Wednesday before coming back to the Tank for the final two games of regular season. We’ve got a huge game against London City Royals this Friday with a head-to-head on the line and we need you to be there. We round off the league campaign with the visit of Newcastle Eagles on Thursday 25th April, fresh from our recent win up in the North East. Three games to go, three games to make our mark before the big dance. It’s time to #FillTheTank !

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Amy Smith