Sarah Backovic’s Basketball Column: Sharks looking to ‘home’ in on win against big rivals

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The Sharks saw their eight-game unbeaten run with defeat at home by arch rivals Leicester Riders.

After famously beating them in the trophy final of 2013, the Sharks have struggled to overcome Leicester’s recruitment style, with height and super athleticism being order of the day.

The Sharks’ next home game is going to be against their historical rivals Manchester Giants.

Back in the yesteryear of glorious competition, the two sides famously met in front of the largest crowd in BBL history at the MEN Arena - when a mere 11,000 were in attendance.

Although the EIS is an impressive venue, it has a much more conservative capacity. But the BBL has created a season of rivalry at every stage of the table; including top, middle and bottom all competing for positioning in the play offs.

The Sharks do not need to compete with the Giants for a the final resting point in the league. But Manchester need a win to secure that final place, so they will come with a fight.

That said, the Sharks also would prefer to finish in fifth place... which would be a remarkable feat considering their position some five weeks ago, when they found themselves languishing in ninth place.

The match ups between these two sides have been reasonably even; all the games have been close but the Sharks have, up until now, had the edge on games played.

Pivotal to some of the most impressive recent victories, Sharks’ power forward John Barber has been looking forward to taking the head to head.

“I am excited to get this game played against the Giants, especially at home for the first time this season,” he said.

“Some teams really step up on their home court and I believe we suffered by that advantage over at theirs.

“I think it will be much harder at our house and we don’t want it to be close.”

Sharks point guard, and team general, BJ Holmes backed up his team mate and affirmed the mood in the camp in the Sharks locker room: “We took some bad losses at home this season,” he said.

“And we don’t want the last home game of the championship to be anything less than emphatic.

“We will be ready!”

The last official league home game of the season - Sharks against Manchester Giants - tips off at 7.30pm. Tickets: Contact the Sharks on 0114 2573180.