Trophy final-bound Sheffield Sharks focus on League first

Sheffield Sharks Captain, Mike Tuck''Picture by Andy Chubb
Sheffield Sharks Captain, Mike Tuck''Picture by Andy Chubb
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Sheffield Sharks captain Mike Tuck feels Atiba Lyons’ side have turned a corner following a gruelling week in which they reached the British Basketball League Trophy final.

Sharks, on the back of a testing schedule of late which saw them play five games in 10 days, made their first silverware final since 2016 with a 161-152 aggregate success over Worcester Wolves – and will face either London Lions or Leicester Riders at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena next month.

But Tuck insists the Sharks’ efforts will be focused solely on their next three league games, all of which are on the road, before they even think about that final.

“We’ve got three away games, we’re not looking ahead of ourselves at all,” said Tuck.

“We’re taking it a game at a time. We want to win these next three games so that we can build some momentum going into that final.

“I think we have turned a bit of a corner. Three wins against these next three teams – Leeds, Cheshire and Leicester – would give us some confidence and momentum going into that final.”

Tuck wasn’t completely satisfied with the Sharks’ record during their hectic period – which included a loss at a Plymouth Raiders side which was previously without a BBL Championship win since November.

However Tuck, in his sixth year as Sharks captain, insisted the week finished in the best possible way with the biggest win of Sheffield’s season so far.

“It wasn’t the greatest week for us in terms of losing at Plymouth and losing to Leicester – but we did make a final out of that.

“It was a tough week for us with five games in nine or 10 days.

“I’m proud of our guys, they stuck through to the end and obviously the last game was the one that got us through to one of the most important games of the season, so I’m just happy that we get to that final.”

Tuck felt deflated after an agonising defeat to Leicester last Friday – but praised the Sharks’ ability to pick themselves up and dig out a big win just two days later.

“We lost the game but we did show a lot of heart, we did show that we could beat that team, but we just made a few mistakes down the stretch, guys were fatigued after two overtimes. It was the worst possible outcome on Friday because not only did we exhaust ourselves but we lost the game, thankfully we recovered quickly and the guys showed up on Sunday.”