Sheffield Sharks say 'no excuses, we could have done a lot better'

It may have been a month since they last took to the court but the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks haven’t been resting on their laurels. A double header event saw basketball finally return to Ponds Forge but the ever-present effects of Covid again played their part as a short-handed Sharks went down to league leaders and reigning champions, the Leicester Riders.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 10:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 10:54 am

The week began with the news that Jonathan Williams had returned to his former club in Poland. We moved quickly to recruit Devante Wallace in his place. He comes with the reputation of being a scorer. Dotting the Is and crossing the Ts takes some time these days so unfortunately Devante wasn’t able to join us in time for our double header event last Sunday.

Firstly, we staged the L Lynch Trophy Final between Derby Trailblazers and Team Newcastle University, a pinnacle event for the National Basketball League. Derby triumphed by 86-71 on the back of a mammoth 30 points and 18 rebounds from their captain Malcolm Smith, backed by a sell-out Ponds Forge crowd.

In the second game, we welcomed the BBL Championship leaders Leicester Riders. As mentioned, we were without Devante but also missing Joe Mvuezolo and Oscar Baldwin due to Covid protocols. Our eight men were right up with the Riders at the end of the opening quarter but being the in-form team at the moment and given our lack of bodies, they pulled away to a 62-100 win. Jordan Ratinho did his upmost to keep us in touch with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists but ultimately our lack of personnel told.

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Sheffield Sharks taken by Adam Bates.

Assistant Coach Marko Backovic said: “We’re obviously super disappointed. We had a big break due to various Covid reasons and the Christmas break but there’s no excuses. We definitely weren’t anywhere near close to our best so it was a disappointing night.”

“It makes it harder during a game because we’d only got an eight man rotation. But on top of that when you are preparing all week in training, we’re down in numbers and in quality. We could have and should have done a lot better tonight but it definitely does have an impact.”

Hopefully, we will be back up to full strength on Sunday when Manchester Giants visit.

It was amazing to see a packed Ponds Forge last week and the event felt incredibly safe as everyone respected Covid advice. Why not make it your New Years resolution to check us out?