GAME PREVIEW | D1 Rebels Men vs London Elite | Rebels Women vs B.Braun Sheffield Hatters | D3 Rebels Men VS Cambridge Cats
ESSEX REBELS D3 MEN vs CAMBRIDGE CATS | NBL DIVISION 3 | 1:00PM TIP-OFF
Fans can expect another busy Saturday at the Essex Sport Arena this Saturday as we prepare for a day full of action with another basketball tripleheader.
The unbeaten D3 Essex Rebels Men will face the Cambridge Cats in a NBL Division 3 top of the table clash. In their previous meeting earlier in the season, Essex Rebels won comfortably on the road 98-61. However, the Cats have found their form in recent weeks, going on a 3-game winning streak, and will certainly be looking for revenge. Join us for what promises to be an exciting game and show your support for our D3 men’s team as they look to improve to 8-0.
ESSEX REBELS WOMEN vs B. BRAUN SHEFFIELD HATTERS | WBBL | 4:00PM TIP-OFF
The day continues with our women’s team facing B. Braun Sheffield Hatters, who currently sit second in the WBBL table. This will be the first matchup this season between the two sides and promises to be a enthralling contest. Sheffield Hatters are coming into the game following an impressive win against FIBA EuroCup side Caledonia Gladiators, while Essex Rebels had mixed fortunes last weekend, losing at home to Leicester Riders on the Saturday 70-79, but picking up a great win away to Manchester Giants on the Sunday, winning 87-76.
The last time these two teams met came In April of last season when Hatters came on top with a narrow 68-72 win. The Rebels will be looking to keep the momentum going following Sunday’s win and improve to a 4-3 record. With five players currently averaging 10+ points per game for Sheffield, it will be a tough task for the Rebels to stop them, but the team has proven that they are up for the challenge.
WHAT COACH COOKSON HAS TO SAY:
“We are excited to get back in front of our home crowd and put in a good performance against a tough Sheffield side coming off the back of an impressive win against Caledonia. We were disappointed with the way we played last week against Leicester and have addressed some of our deficiencies in a solid week of practice. We showed great resilience to bounce back and get the win against Manchester on the road on the Sunday, and will be carrying that momentum into this weekend. Sheffield demands our ‘A’ game, and we will lean on the support of our fan base. Up the Rebs!”
WHO ARE B. BRAUN SHEFFIELD HATTERS?
B. Braun Sheffield Hatters are one of the most successful women’s basketball teams in the country having won over 65 national titles since forming in 1961. After becoming a dominant force in NBL Division 1 for many years, Hatters would take this dominance to the Women’s British Basketball League, where they won their first WBBL Playoff final in 2014-15 and have consistently finished in the top 5.
Finishing 4th in the league last year, Sheffield Hatters have undertaken a complete restructure retaining only 4 players from last year’s roster – Gayle, Fairley, Campbell and Carabana. The Hatters have made a number of new additions, including: Eichmeyer, Washington, Drennan and Ramos, who have all settled nicely with their new team each averaging double (10+) points per game making Sheffield a very difficult opponent for any team in the league.
It has been a successful first half of the season for B. Braun Sheffield Hatters (5-1) who have only lost one game so far and are currently occupying the number 2 spot in the league standings. Having just defeated Caledonia Gladiators with a convincing 87-67 victory, there is no doubt that the Hatters will come to the Essex Sport Arena full of confidence that they can continue their winning streak.
LAST TIME OUT
The Essex Sport Arena witnessed a spirited battle last time out against Sheffield Hatters when they played in the equivalent fixture on Saturday 17th December 2022. Sheffield Hatters clinched a 78-70 win against Essex Rebels – see match report here.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
B. Braun Sheffield Hatters have a deep roster of talent with many weapons that could hurt the Rebels when they visit on Saturday, but the two players to keep an eye on for are GB International, Georgia Gayle, and US import Maddison Washington.
Georgia is no stranger to the big stage and has been a major force for the visitors for many seasons now. The sharpshooter has improved her scoring from last year and is the main offensive threat for Sheffield averaging an impressive 17 points per game to go with 4 assists.
Another player to keep an eye on is Maddison Washington who is averaging a near double-double with 13.5 ppg and 8.2 rebounds. Playing as centre, Maddison is a force under the basket and will be someone Rebels will need to watch out for.
ESSEX REBELS D1 MEN VS LONDON ELITE | NBL DIVISION 1 | 6:30PM TIP-OFF
The final game of the day will see the Essex Rebels D1 Men take on London Elite at the Essex Sport Arena for the first time. Sitting at the top of the table with an 8-1 record, the Rebels return to the Essex Sport Arena after another solid home win against Loughborough Riders, where an impressive 32-point performance from Victor Olarenin helped Rebels to victory. The team will now be looking to extend their 7-game winning streak and retain their top spot in the league going into the Christmas break.
On the other side, the London Elite will want to bounce back after a tough loss last weekend to Nottingham Hoods. Currently holding the 11th spot in the league with a 2-7 record, Elite are still finding their rhythm this season but should not be underestimated given how well they have competed in every game thus far.
Two former Rebels, Jordan Gray and Ray Akpofoure, will also be making their return to the Essex Sport Arena this Saturday. Jordan Gray played a major part in helping the team with their successive promotions into Division 2 and then Division 1, whilst Ray Akpofoure was part of the Rebels team during the 2021-22 campaign.
WHAT COACH NORFOLK HAS TO SAY:
“It’s always fun to be playing at the Essex Sport Arena in front of our fans. The Christmas Day special will be a great atmosphere. London Elite have some experienced D1 players on their roster. We have to make sure we lock in on the defensive end and commit to the scout. Offensively we have to continue to work for each other and playing our free flowing basketball.”
WHO ARE LONDON ELITE?
Established in 2019, the London Elite is a new basketball club based in North-West London. In addition to the men’s team, the club has established a strong youth development programme having national league teams all the way to under 12s most recently making the national finals.
LAST TIME OUT
This will be the first ever matchup between the two sides with London Elite joining NBL division 1 this season having been promoted from NBL Division 2 South.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Without a doubt one of the main players to watch is Jordan Gray who is coming back to a familiar territory and has a habit of performing well at his former home court. Another player to keep an eye on is the team’s leading scorer, Khalil Afrasyab, who is averaging 15.2 points per game.
Don’t miss out on the final weekend of action before the holidays. We look forward to welcoming you on Saturday for what is shaping up to be an exciting day of basketball!
Tickets are still available on Eventbrite. Don’t miss out and secure your tickets now
Up the Rebs!