BBL Championship
Friday 15th January 2021 – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Newcastle Eagles
Sunday 17th January 2021 – Glasgow Rocks v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks go live to the nation this Friday as the Sky TV cameras make their way to Ponds Forge to broadcast a mouth-watering match up with second placed Newcastle Eagles. The game forms the first part of a double-header weekend as the club head back to Glasgow on Sunday, scene of a solid pre-Christmas win that leaves the Sharks nicely poised in fourth in the BBL table.

What to expect – Newcastle Eagles

Newcastle currently sit in second place with a 5-2 record and should the Sharks win, they too will move to 5-2. The Eagles are marshalled by former league MVP Rahmon Fletcher, who is putting up 18.1 points per game and dishing out 8.6 assists to boot. This is the first season Newcastle Coach Ian Macleod has been able to recruit his own side and to date he has made a great success of it. He has Justin Gordon (18.6) and Evan Maxwell (16.7) contributing points in abundance and Maxwell is dominating the boards with 9.4 rebounds per game. Add in the likes of Cortez Edwards, who packed the statlines with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 steals in midweek and they are a formidable prospect. The Eagles lost by 109-89 to current leaders London Lions last week but bounced back to book their place in the BBL Cup Final with a 71-76 win over Leicester on Tuesday evening.

What to expect – Glasgow Rocks

On Sunday, the Sharks journey north of the border once more to encounter Glasgow Rocks. The Sharks defeated the Scots by 78-96 in the final game before the Christmas break with experienced guard Nicholas Lewis pouring in 32 points. Glasgow haven’t had the greatest time so far, sitting at the foot of the table at 1-7. However, they have just recruited Christian Keeling (averaging 17.8 points per game in his first four appearances) and Ronald Delph, who contributed a 12 point, 12 rebound double-double in last weekends 91-74 loss to London, in their import slots and any side led by player-coach and GB international Gareth Murray is always one to be reckoned with. The Rocks also have a link to the Sharks in Isa Brandon, son of former Sharks playcaller Jim, who poured in 21 points last time the two sides met and is one of the Rocks main scoring threats.

Shark Watch

No game for the Sharks last weekend, their planned encounter with Cheshire being postponed as a precautionary measure. So another week of practice has ensued to allow the side to gear up for another appearance in front of the Sky TV cameras. The Sharks were of course involved in the first game screened under the new Sky deal, going down by 82-92 to Cheshire in a ‘home’ game played at the Eagles Community Arena. That game marked Jeremy Hemsley’s first appearance in the blue and yellow against a Phoenix side that had just upgraded by adding the likes of Jimbo Lull and Mike McCall. With Hemsley now fully assimilated into the side and the exciting debut of Jordan Ratinho a fortnight ago against Plymouth, Atiba Lyons will be keen for his men to put on the sort of display that saw the big-spending Raiders taken down by 83-78 in their last competitive fixture.

Last Time Out

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Nichols 19 Lewis 17 Koch 15) 77 Newcastle Eagles (Fletcher 24 Edwards 18 Maxwell 17) 90

Glasgow Rocks (Brandon 21 Murray 16 Van Sauers 13) 78 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Lewis 32 Hemsley 23 Lillard 10) 96

Fans Corner

Your B. Braun Sharks go live to the nation this Friday when we welcome the Sky TV cameras to Ponds Forge for an exciting BBL Championship encounter. Tune in to Sky Sports Arena at 7.00pm to catch all the build-up with Nat Coombs, Kieron Achara and who knows, our very own Mike Tuck and Eagles’ Drew Lasker just might make an appearance!

On Sunday, sign in to www.bblplayer.co.uk to catch the Sharks road game away at Glasgow Rocks. 3.30pm is the tip off time for this one.

Next Game

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Newcastle Eagles, Friday 15th January 2021, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 7.30pm Tip Off

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Adam Bates