Friday 12th March 2021 – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Worcester Wolves
Sunday 14th March 2021 – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Bristol Flyers
Eleven games remain of regular season and the race for Playoff places is getting too close to call. This weekend the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks play host to the two sides immediately below them in the BBL table. Worcester Wolves visit Ponds Forge on Friday with last week’s 88-72 win over the Sharks still fresh in their memory and that is followed by the visit of Bristol Flyers to the Tank on Sunday, the side in eighth place but with four games in hand on Atiba Lyons’ men.
What to expect – Worcester Wolves
The Wolves have gone under the radar thus far but as Matt Newby’s team proved last weekend, ignore them at your peril. It is three wins on the bounce now for Worcester and all three looked particularly impressive when you consider they came against Leicester, the Sharks and a resurgent Surrey outfit. As they demonstrated in last Wednesday’s 88-72 victory against the Sharks, they are stacked out with talent. Jordan Williams (14.6 ppg 9.9 rpg 4.5 apg) is now well and truly fulfilling the promise he had as a young player and is being ably assisted in washing the boards with Mike Parks Jr (8.2 rpg). The Wolves are also cleaning up in the guard positions with the livewire Brandon Anderson (16.5 ppg shooting 45.7% from 3 point territory) and influential Captain Maarten Bouwknecht (12.9 ppg 5.1 apg shooting 46.2% from 3 point territory) forming as good a duo as any in the league. The recent addition of Elijah Burns completes Coach Newby’s jigsaw and with their current run of form, they look capable of beating anyone on their night.
What to expect – Bristol Flyers
The Flyers currently sit in eighth in the BBL table and with recent Covid postponements are a little behind in the schedule, having four games in hand on the Sharks. The Sharks were comfortable victors back in December by 87-62 but Coach Andreas Kapoulas’ charges have reset since then. Importantly back on the roster is Aussie point guard Josh Wilcher. He is currently putting up 11.9 ppg with 3.8 assists but from past experience in the BBL and in Australia, he is known to be an assist-friendly playmaker with an excellent three point shot. He pairs well with GB’s Teddy Okereafor, who is handing out 5.3 assists per game and who missed the last encounter with the Sharks. They also have Okereafor’s GB team-mate Ben Mockford in the wings and highly productive forward Marcus Delpeche, who averages 16.2 ppg with 8.7 rebounds. Their season has been a little stop-start but don’t bank against them making a late run up the table in these last two months of regular season.
A gruelling schedule caught up with the Sharks last week as they suffered losses away at Worcester and Cheshire. Sunday’s defeat at Cheshire was in the balance right to the death and it was unfortunate that the Sharks encountered two in-form teams when they themselves were feeling somewhat fatigued. However, the complexities of this unusual Covid-hit season mean that most sides have tough schedules right up to the end of regular season and so there will be further opportunities to claim more wins along the way. Pleasing recent aspects for the Sharks have been solid displays from Bennett Koch to compliment the scoring ability of Jeremy Hemsley and Antwon Lillard and with the work of ‘glue guy’ Kipper Nichols, it shouldn’t be too long before the natural balance is restored.
Last Time Out
Worcester Wolves (Anderson 22 Bouwknecht 16 Kimble / Parks Jr 14) 88 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Hemsley 19 Nichols 15 Ratinho / Koch 10) 72
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Lillard 19 Hemsley 18 Nichols 17) 87 Bristol Flyers (Delpeche 18 Thomas-Edwards 14 Copeland 10) 62
Everyone at the Sharks hopes that all our fans are keeping safe and keeping up the tremendous effort that will see us hopefully leave lockdown in the next few months. Until such time, we’ve got another thrilling home double-header to keep you entertained this weekend. As ever, the BBL Player is the place to be (www.bblplayer.co.uk) for our 6pm tip on Friday versus Worcester and 3pm on Sunday for our game against Bristol. Join us for some more top quality BBL action as our playoff drive kicks fully into force. It’s time to #FearTheFin!
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Worcester Wolves, Friday 12th March 2021, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 6pm Tip Off