Sunday 17th March 2019
Cheshire Phoenix v DBL Sharks Sheffield
This Sunday sees a sixth versus fifth place match up as the Sharks head to the north west to face a Phoenix outfit with just one victory less than themselves. The Sharks already hold the head to head over Cheshire with a 61-78 road win in October and an 84-66 home success at the beginning of November. The danger of the ‘Nix is highlighted by their 64-93 win in the BBL Cup over Atiba Lyons men and the fact that Ben Thomas’ side defeated newly-crowned BBL Trophy champions London City Royals by 88-82 in their last competitive outing.
What to expect
Rather like the Sharks, Cheshire have been consistently inconsistent throughout this BBL campaign. They appear to have the indian sign over the Royals, whom they also defeated by 98-86 back in October but have slipped twice at the hands of local rivals Manchester and been edged out in two close games with Newcastle this campaign. A measure of how competitive the battle for playoff places will be in this business end of the season is shown by the abundant talent on the Phoenix roster. The ‘Nix can boast the pure shooting ability of Momcilo Latinovic (15.9 ppg), the physical presence of CJ Gettys (15.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and the all-round athleticism of Dii’Jon Allen-Jordan (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.1 apg). Like the Sharks last week, Cheshire also come into the game following week’s breather, keen to display the form that saw them take down London City previously when a shortened line-up led by Allen-Jordan (26), Daniel Norl (21) and Louis Sayers (12) gained a vital win. Whether they return to a full roster on Sunday remains to be seen, but even on reduced numbers, they are a dangerous prospect.
It was tighter than hoped but it was pleasing to see the Sharks come away from Worcester following a lengthy lay-off with a 68-71 win. Mackey McKnight displayed all his known qualities in his re-introduction to the team despite a nine month respite from the game and there were promising signs from Slovenian forward Drago Brcina, again still integrating with his new team-mates. Understandably, the Sharks ran out of steam a little after a high tempo start in the West Midlands but with another week of practice, things showed signs of moving in the right direction. Key as ever were the scoring performances of Chris Alexander (21) and Dirk Williams (19) and the contribution of Rob Marsden should not be under-estimated. The Doncaster-born forward continued to lead from the front and will form a formidable unit with Brcina and Mike Tuck, upon his return from injury, towards the end of the season.
Last time out
DBL Sharks Sheffield (Alexander 22, Marsden 18, Williams 16) 84 Cheshire Phoenix (Allen-Jordan 16, Session 14, Rivers 11) 66
It felt good to be back last week and we’d love to continue the momentum this week too. If you fancy the trip over to the Cheshire Oaks Arena, we’d love to see you there or if not, give us a shout over social media and check out the game on livebasketball.tv. Our all-important return to home action is now a little over a fortnight away when Bristol Flyers are the visitors (March 29th). The guys really appreciate your support so hit us up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with some Sharknation words of encouragement!
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