BBL Cup North Group

Friday 20th September 2019 – Leicester Riders v B.Braun Sheffield Sharks

Sunday 22nd September 2019 – B.Braun Sheffield Sharks v Manchester Giants

The wait is over. The B. Braun Sharks begin the 2019-20 season this Friday with the short road trip to Leicester Riders. Then on Sunday, they make their historic return to Ponds Forge, the Sharks home for 2019-20, when Manchester Giants are the visitors. Both games form part of the BBL Cup group stage, which fills the first ten games of the campaign.

What to expect – Leicester Riders

Returning to the Riders are influential skipper Andy Thomson as well as Brit talent Rema Lascelles, Jamell Anderson and Josh Ward-Hibbert. New in town are veteran guard Joe Scott, Americans Namon Wright and Kyron Cartwright, British forward Jesse Chuku and former Worcester Wolf Mo Walker, who put up big numbers in his previous spell in the BBL. The Riders have been the benchmark to aspire to for a number of seasons now and this one is likely to be no exception. The Morningside Arena has become their fortress and an undoubted tough game awaits.

What to expect – Manchester Giants

The Giants have also returned familiar pieces in Callum Jones, James Jones and sharp-shooting Ingus Bankevics. North West basketball vet Phil Kelly-Brandreth joins the squad and they have picked up Americans Jonathan Mulmore and Del’vin Dickerson as well as Spaniard Eduard Arques and Dutch forward Manou Cristal Malalu. Manchester bought fully into Coach Danny Byrne’s system last season and with a similar buy-in, there is no reason why they can’t be a force to be reckoned with once again.

Shark Watch

The Sharks rounded off pre-season with a terrific 66-61 win over Newcastle Eagles last Sunday. Leading the scoring was centre Bennett Koch with 21 points and 13 rebounds. The Sharks were without Bouna Ndiaye (injury) and Connor Cashaw (awaiting visa) but hauled themselves into the game with a stunning second quarter led by returnee Nick Lewis. The Sharks are likely to be short-handed again this weekend but the eagerness from the bench was clear for all to see and helped seal a decent win against a side that is always a BBL standout.

Last time out

B.Braun Sheffield Sharks (Marsden 21 Alexander 15 Martin 13) 69 Leicester Riders (Washington 21 Williams 16 Ward-Hibbert 12) 77

Manchester Giants (McCall 19 Butler 18 Clayton 16) 93 B.Braun Sheffield Sharks (Alexander 16 Brcina 14 Williams 13) 65

Fans Corner

Don’t forget, we begin our run of home games at our new venue – Ponds Forge International Sports Centre – this Sunday with a 5pm tip off. There is plenty of parking at the venue itself and the nearby Q Park and our capacity is equal to our former venue, so we are looking forward to all the SharkNation joining us for a momentous start to the season! Also, if you can’t make it to the Leicester game on Friday night, remember you can watch all the action live and free on the BBL YouTube channel. The Sharks are back!

Next home game

B. Braun Sharks v Manchester Giants, Sunday 22nd September 2019, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 5pm Tip Off.

Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/b-braun-sheffield-sharks-v-manchester-giants-cup-group-stage-tickets-69865606911

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Andy Chubb