BBL Championship
Sunday 7th March 2021
Cheshire Phoenix v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

Sunday sees the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks head over to Ellesmere Port to take on the Cheshire Phoenix. The ‘Nix are one of a group of teams breathing down the necks of the Sharks and already hold the head-to-head on their Yorkshire rivals should it be needed at the season end. For the Sharks, there will also be an element of revenge having been defeated by Cheshire two weeks ago at Ponds Forge by 57-67.

What to expect

The Phoenix hold the head-to-head over the Sharks having taken that 82-92 opening day win (albeit in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Eagles Community Arena) and a 57-67 success at Ponds Forge at fortnight ago. The game in the Tank was a relatively close affair until the ‘Nix pulled away in the final quarter thanks to their skipper Jalen Hayes (16.2 ppg 9.1 rpg) and the heavy-scoring Kahron Ross (17.7 ppg 5.4 apg). Also influential late in that game were the experienced Matthew Bryan-Amaning and there was an interesting juxtaposition between Cheshire centre Jimbo Lull (15.4 ppg 7.2 rpg) and his former San Francisco University team-mate, the Sharks’ Jordan Ratinho. Their 8-9 record is possibly something of a misnomer for Cheshire, who clearly have some solid resources to call on. However, since that win over the Sharks, they have dipped by 80-73 on the road at Newcastle and lost by 76-74 at home to a resurgent Surrey, suggesting that consistency is something of an issue. Phoenix are 3-5 in the league at home this season but have beaten the Sharks in the last two encounters at EPSV so they are proud to defend their home court, especially against their northern rivals.

Shark Watch

The Sharks will be looking to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after an off night in Worcester on Wednesday. A back to basics approach will be needed, the usual defensive solidity being absent especially in the first half against the Wolves. No point in dwelling, there were positives in yet another twenty point return for Jeremy Hemsley and a consistent performance from Kipper Nichols. He underlined his ‘glue guy’ status with 15 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 2 blocks in an attempt to bring his team-mates into the contest. The Sharks join London and Plymouth on 10 wins and ideally need a win over Cheshire, who are just two wins behind with a game in hand, in order to restore a bit of breathing space. Expect a reaction to follow…

Last Time Out

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Lillard 18 Ratinho 15 Nichols 8) 57 Cheshire Phoenix (Ross 19 Hayes 14 Bryan-Amaning 11) 67

Fans Corner

Just the one game for a rare change this weekend as your B. Braun Sharks head over to Cheshire to take on the ‘Nix. Your regular port of call, the BBL Player (www.bblplayer.co.uk) is the place to be to catch the 5pm tip off. Twelve games remain in March and April so once again that monthly pass looks to be great value! Thanks for your online support – you will always be our #SharkNation!

Next Game

Cheshire Phoenix v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 7th March 2021, Ellesmere Port Sports Village, 5pm Tip Off

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Adam Bates