Durham Wildcats make their BBL Cup debut on Saturday evening as they host high-flying UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.
The BBL newcomers were without a game last week, but although coach Dave Elderkin admits to knowing little about the Raiders, he believes his team is ready for a difficult game: “I haven’t had a chance to see the Raiders play so we’ll concentrate on the Wildcats performance. We won’t have had a fortnight off game wise as we play Worcester at home in the Northern BUCS Premiership on Wednesday, we’ve worked two sessions this weekend preparing for this one – they beat us to the championship in Sheffield last season.”
Wildcats’ last outing saw them go down narrowly against Glasgow Rocks, but Elderkin was pleased with his side’s performance: “We lost out to the Rocks by five again but I felt we had improved offensively, hitting a season-high 84 points.
“We don’t have an equal opportunity offence philosophy, but I’d rather have five or six guys hitting double digits than one or two scoring over 30, so I was pleased with the balanced scoring.
“I wasn’t so happy with the defence, in fact our defence stopped performing as it should when we held a nine point lead; credit to EJ [Harrison] and Mychal Green for some pretty impressive outside shooting in the final period.
“I don’t feel we had any stand out performance but I felt our Americans got a little more into the game, and of our English guys I was pleased with Liam O’Mahoney’s (pictured) contribution and Chris Pearce gave a hint of things to come.
“I thought Rocks had improved as a team and defensively played well in the final quarter. I think that spell won them the game but also gave me areas to work on at the offensive end.”
Raiders coach Gavin Love expects a difficult game after a long trip north: “I have seen the Wildcats, they are a tough team who look like they really play for each other.
“All competitions are extremely important to us. So we need a good performance against Durham in order to progress.”
Raiders won a tight game against Guildford Heat last week to qualify for the BBL Trophy semi-final, leaving Love a happy man: “It’s great to reach the semi finals of the Trophy we are looking forward to the draw.
“We played tough defence, we showed a lot of heart but we simply didn’t shoot the ball well. Mike Martin had a good game for the Heat.”