Friday 5th October 2018 DBL Sharks Sheffield v London Lions (at Ponds Forge)
Sunday 7th October 2018 Cheshire Phoenix v DBL Sharks Sheffield
The DBL Sharks Sheffield face another double weekend of BBL action looking to gain some consistency after a split series last time out. Friday sees an historical one-off return to the former home venue of Ponds Forge International Sports Centre when London Lions are the visitors. Sunday’s encounter is a trip to the North West to take on last year’s BBL Cup winners, Cheshire Phoenix.
What to expect
London Lions (Home – Friday)
The Lions sit in fourth place with a 2-1 record at this early stage of the season. Their solitary defeat was a surprise one to Plymouth by 95-88 given that they had convincing victories over Glasgow (100-66) and Worcester (82-65). Coach Vince Macaulay has brought back the likes of Justin Robinson, Brandon Peel, Paul Guede, Jerelle Okoro and Andre Lockhart as a core and added to that with new acquisitions Ladarius Tabb, Kervin Bristol and the returning Jordan Spencer. Tabb dropped 30 points on Worcester as well as pulling in 9 boards to go with a 20 point, 10 rebound double double against Glasgow on opening night. Peel was equally irresistible that night with 23 points and 16 boards, displaying his stellar form from the end of the previous season. The Lions should be up there come the end of the season; their roster is too good not to be. A tough challenge awaits!
Cheshire Phoenix (Away – Sunday)
The ‘Nix have the same record as the Lions for third place. They have built their reputation on two solid home wins; 91-83 over Worcester and 94-88 over Plymouth. Their only defeat came on opening night against Newcastle by 70-65. The Plymouth win saw a good spread of scoring – 18 from Jimario Rivers leading the way. Dii-Jon Allen-Jordan top scored in the Worcester win with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, closely followed by Daniel Norl with 21. Facing his former side will be ex-Shark Sol Rolls-Tyson. Clearly a force to be reckoned with in their own gym, Cheshire are a case in point to the adage that this year’s BBL will be one of the toughest in living memory.
Consistency is key for the Sharks. Friday’s win over Surrey Scorchers was full of energy, heart and passion – all things Atiba Lyons had demanded from his team following the opening day defeat to Manchester. That made the road loss at Bristol on Saturday all the more disappointing. Rene Castro-Caneddy showed what a volume scorer he can be with 24 in the Surrey win, closely run by Chris Alexander who scored one fewer. The Sharks are also conceding an average of 91 points a game. Again, Lyons and his team will be all too aware of this and the message going out this week has been that he is still focused on the job in hand.
Last Time Out
Sharks (Wroblicky 15, Williams 14, Gachette 14) 80 London Lions (Peel 18, Dixon 16, Robinson 16) 81
Sharks (Alexander 31, Williams 17, Tuck 11) 88 Cheshire Phoenix (May-Thompson 21, Riley 14, Bailey 13) 81
Don’t forget we are going retro on Friday with a one-off return to our old stamping ground, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre. The venue was our regular home until 2006 although we have played the occasional game there since. We’ve got another London-themed playlist for you and maybe it would be good to dig out those old Sharks jerseys for a trip down memory lane? We tip at the regular time of 7.30pm so get down and show the Lions that we have some bite!
Image: Andy Chubb