BBL Championship
Friday 16th April 2021 – Bristol Flyers v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
Sunday 18th April 2021 – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Worcester Wolves

Playoff qualification could be settled this weekend! Midweek results mean that the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks can confirm their place in post-season in amongst another intriguing double header. A keen eye will be cast over the results of Surrey and Manchester but the most important fixtures involve the Sharks and their opponents Bristol and Worcester as the end of regular season draws ever nearer.

What to expect – Bristol Flyers

The Flyers currently occupy the eighth and final playoff place with a 10-15 record and have Surrey and Manchester just behind them breathing down their neck as well the Sharks in their sights one place in front. Defence will be key – the Sharks have never beaten Bristol when the Flyers have scored eighty points or more. Like the Sharks, Bristol have won two in their last five, the first of which was a massive take-down of leaders Leicester by 80-54. Since then, they have lost to Worcester, Plymouth and London as well as beating Glasgow by 87-79. Leading their scoring are Eric Lockett and Marcus Delpeche, both averaging 14.2 points per game and Delpeche has been a thorn in the Sharks side in recent encounters, crashing the boards for an average of 8 per game. GB playmaker Teddy Okereafor is dishing out the assists to the tune of 5.3 per game as well as shooting 40.8% from deep and forms a tough backcourt with Australian guard Josh Wilcher. Their home gym is a formidable place to go and with their sights set firmly on a place in post-season, Andreas Kapoulas’ men will provide a determined prospect to their northern visitors.

What to expect – Worcester Wolves

The Wolves occupy sixth place, one above the Sharks, by a solitary win but have played three games more. Fresh in the memory is that single point loss at Ponds Forge in mid-March, when a Lamarr Kimble jumper broke Sharks hearts in a nailbiting encounter. Worcester have also won two in their last five, their most notable recent win being over Cheshire by 83-76. Brandon Anderson leads the Wolves scorers with 16.2 per game and Brit forward Jordan Williams consistently fills the statlines, currently averaging 13 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Skipper Maarten Bouwknecht is a high scorer from beyond the arc, currently averaging 49% as well as dishing 5.3 dimes per game. Again, Worcester will be keen to secure two wins from their final two games – their potential final points total could be under threat from the chasing teams if not.

Shark Watch

A Sharks win at Bristol on Friday night and a Surrey loss at London on the same night would ensure playoff qualification. Should both the Sharks and Surrey lose on Friday, then a win at home to Worcester on Sunday would suffice. It is also worth keeping an eye on Manchester’s results, at Glasgow on Friday and at Surrey on Sunday, but either way it is a distinct possibility that the situation could be settled this weekend. No matter what the permutations, the Sharks can take matters into their own hands in a big way by putting two in the ‘W’ column. Not only is qualification paramount, final positions are too and in theory, the higher the finish, the better the seeding. Performances like the 24 point 10 rebound double-double from Antwon Lillard that earned him a Team of the Week berth would go a long way to achieving this. The Sharks are more than capable of going deep into post-season – now is definitely the time to iron out those consistency issues for a tilt at the title!

Last Time Out

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Nichols 19 Ratinho 18 Hemsley 16) 82 Bristol Flyers (Delpeche 27 Baker 15 Lockett 15) 79

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Ratinho 20 Koch 15 Lewis 12) 74 Worcester Wolves (Kimble 15 Bouwknecht 14 Burns 13) 75

Fans Corner

Important News! – Remember that Bristol Flyers have their own streaming package so if you want to access the Sharks game on Friday night, the link to go to is https://flyerstv.bristolflyers.co.uk/packages/

As ever, the Sharks home game on Sunday afternoon against Worcester Wolves will be streamed on the BBL Player (www.bblplayer.co.uk) with a 3pm tip off time.

It is the weekend that could see us get over the line in terms of a playoff place so that means excitement guaranteed. We want to go to the big dance and we want you to come with us! Sign up, tune in and Fear That Fin! Let’s Go Sharks!

Next Game

Bristol Flyers v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Friday 16th April 2021, SGS College Arena, 7.30pm Tip Off

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Adam Bates

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