Sharks seek ninth win in a row against Raiders

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Of all the teams Sheffield Sharks will be looking forward to facing during a tough February fixture list, Saturday’s opponents, Plymouth Raiders, must be fairly high up the list.

Sharks have won the last eight matches between the clubs including three this season alone.

However, all of those games were in the friendly confines of the EIS with this weekend’s match being in the far more hostile atmosphere of the Plymouth Pavilions.

The Devon club last defeated the One Health sponsored-Sharks in January 2009 when they won a thriller 87-86 in Sheffield.

Sharks three wins this season have been relatively comfortable. A 116-73 blow-out in early October was followed by a 96-84 BBL Cup defeat in November before the Sharks continued their fine form against the Raiders with a 96-82 home win a month ago.

Despite that record against the Raiders, Sharks’ player-coach Atiba Lyons is refusing to take anything for granted.

“We have played Plymouth three times already this season. However we have played all three of those games at home,” said Lyons. “I know playing on their home court is a whole different proposition.

“Also they have added Jerome Gumbs and he has more of a chance to settle in with the team since our last encounter. Pair that with all the talent they already have on their roster and it makes it a tough game.”

Both sides go into the game with 10 BBL Championship victories to their name, but Sharks occupy fifth place having suffered only five losses, while Raiders are sixth with eight defeats. Sharks also have three games in hand on their BBL Championship rivals.

The Raiders, like Sheffield, split their games last weekend, losing 89-79 at Guildford Heat before bouncing back to hammer Leicester Riders 84-63 the following day at home.