Friday 26th March 2021
Plymouth Raiders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks take their latest TV bow this coming Friday as they make the long journey down to Devon to take on the Plymouth Raiders. It will be a second appearance in consecutive weekends on Sky for the defeated BBL Trophy finalists, compared to the Sharks who benefitted from some much-needed rest and recuperation from their recent intense schedule. The sides go into the game level on points, but with the home side having suffered two fewer defeats. Interestingly though, six of the last seven games between the two sides have been won by the away team and the Sharks have won on their last three visits to Devon.
What to expect
The Raiders, led by veteran playcaller Paul James, have been in great form recently but came off second best in the BBL Trophy final last weekend. They were down by as many as fourteen at half time against opponents London Lions but fought back tremendously to the point where the game could have gone either way. Sadly, they ran out of steam at the death as London squeaked a narrow 88-82 success. Plymouth have recruited shrewdly and have a team that is the envy of many. Their current man of the moment is point guard Rickey McGill. He was their inspiration in the Trophy final with 31 points to add to several recent big totals. They also boast Great Britain international forward Ashley Hamilton, who is returning from injury and wasn’t quite able to exert his usual influence on the final despite being one of the regular league stand outs. Size is a key to Plymouth’s roster and they boast the towering Prince Ibeh, one of the leading block-makers in the BBL as well as Brit Will Neighbour, who posted a 13 point, 11 rebound statline in the final and is known for a useful three point shot despite his size. The Raiders currently hold fifth place in the BBL with an 11-8 record and will be looking to cement their playoff credentials at their Plymouth Pavilions fortress.
This Friday will be the Sharks fourth appearance of the year in front of the Sky TV cameras and they are currently 1-2 in these broadcast games. Their last outing on the national stage was a 77-89 win over Newcastle back in mid-February so hopefully that bodes well for this forthcoming lengthy road trip. The Sharks are one place in the standings behind the Raiders, having lost two more games, but the feeling is that there will be many more twists and turns before this BBL regular season is over. Just four points separate the sides in positions two through to seven with nine games left to play. As ever, it’s all about that momentum – the sides that time that run just right usually hit the playoffs running. The Sharks will hit the road for six of those remaining nine matches in what could be a defining factor for where they eventually finish up. However, with a week’s break just behind them, they should be raring to go once again.
Last Time Out
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Hemsley 17 Ratinho 13 Nichols 8) 63 Plymouth Raiders (Neighbour 19 Hamilton 18 Porter-Bunton 10) 69
Back in front of the national TV cameras, Sky Sports Mix at 7pm is the place you need to be to see the BBL Trophy finalists up against your B. Braun Sheffield Sharks this coming Friday 26th March. The game tips off at 7.30pm as our Captain Mike Tuck switches from star interviewer to star on the court. Will our Canadian fans favourite lead his charges to another big road win? There’s only one way to find out…tune in! Mike Tuck, Sky Sports baby!
Plymouth Raiders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Friday 26th March 2021, Plymouth Pavilions, 7.30pm Tip Off