Top of table defeat

With Head Coach Samit Nuruzade sick all week but at the game and big man Fin Porter injured, a depleted Rockets were right in this game against joint league leaders Essex until just over 4 minutes remained on the clock but 4 trebles by the hosts saw them to a win. The teams had played each other 4 times already this season in cup and league challenges with them tied 2 a piece before this encounter. 

Mitch Clarke of Reading Rockets. Essex Rebels VS Reading Rockets in NBL Action

Centre Chris Alexander began his impressive defensive plays with a block before an Elijah Maynard jump shot followed up with a Mitch Clarke drive, score and free throw eased Rockets ahead in the opening exchanges. A pair of scores from a drive and finger roll from Reis Pinnock was only bettered by some excellent team work giving Pinnock some 6 consecutive points as Rockets lead 11-6. Essex fought back quickly with 5 unanswered pints to tie the game for the first of 6 times through out the game. A brace of trebles from Lewis Champion and Maynard opened the gap but Rebels replied with a pair of their own, the latter on the buzzer as the score was 19 each at the break.

The second period began with the swapping of the temporary lead before a 5-0 run by Essex saw them to the interval ahead by 35-29. However Maynard stroked a treble immediately the third quarter began but again Essex went on a 7-0 run and maintained that type of advantage throughout the quarter despite both defences having been on top during the opening half. With yet another buzzer beating treble Essex edged further ahead 60-52 as the final period beckoned.

Mitch Clarke of Reading Rockets. Essex Rebels VS Reading Rockets in NBL Action

Essex took their lead to double digits with their first forage into Rockets half before  another Maynard treble reduced the deficit. Rockets found it difficult scoring and Essex looked comfortable at 68-59 as the final 5 minutes showed on the clock but the resourceful Berkshire team went on a 6-0 run before the shooting power and accuracy of the hosts saw them hit a 11-0 run to ease towards the final buzzer at 76-61. Though Isaac Round scored to stop the rot and Zack Powell stroked a treble, a final blitz of three trebles gave Essex the win that sees them stay joint league leaders in a very competitive league as Bradford win at third placed and title defenders Hemel Storm giving Rockets still hope of a top four league position and a home tie in the Play-off Championship that starts in 6 weeks’ time 

With Rockets having now completed all their away league games they have seven consecutive home games to make that fourth place secure.