This Sunday sees the return of Cheshire Jets to the Northgate Arena for a BBL Championship fixture against local rivals, Mersey Tigers.
Player-coach, James Hamilton now has a fully assembled team after new centre, Alif Bland, touched down from the USA during the week.
Cheshire Jets open their season away tomorrow night against Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders, and despite the pressures of bringing together a team in such a short space of time, player-coach James Hamilton is confident he can mastermind a surprise result.
Two of the surprise packages of this season’s BBL Championship meet at Worcester University on Saturday evening in the last of the four BBL Championship quarter-final first legs.
Wolves recorded their highest ever finish in the regular season as their 22-8 record was enough to take third spot, only missing out on the runners-up medal on the head-to-head tiebreaker with Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders. Meanwhile, the Jets’ post-season hopes looked dead and buried in late March, but six wins in their final seven games saw the Cheshire side finish the season with a 13-17 record to edge out One Health Sharks Sheffield for sixth place. [read more]
As the Jets get ready to face Worcester Wolves in the playoff quarter-finals tomorrow we caught up with Adam Brown to ask about the team’s preparation and, more importantly, what are those mohawks all about!?
“They started as a joke at first,” Adam says. “Then became a team bonding type of thing. We were all just chilling and Colin asked Bill if could he give him a Mohawk. Bill said “let’s do it” and Colin started acting like he was cutting him one, but I grabbed the clippers and took off half his hair. There was no turning back after that.”
“Bill’s looked decent,” Adam continued. “So I cut Colin’s next, then gave myself one. I recently gave Kai Williams one as well, but Matt went to the barber to get his.”
This story says less about Adam’s barber skills than it does about the Jets’ team chemistry and how they all get along off the court. “We all get along very well on this team – there’s lots of laughter and good times,” says Adam. “Also we all can talk too each other on the court without having attitudes, which is a huge difference from other teams I have been on.”
After a generally frustrating season the Jets are hitting form right when it counts – playoff time – and the challenges and obstacles they’ve faced as a team during the season have brought them closer together, which is now showing on the court. “This season has been nothing short of frustrating,” agreed Adam. “We have all come from winning programs and are used to winning, so losing hasn’t been normal for us. I believe we have one of the most talented teams in the league as individuals and team wise, so the struggle we have had was surprising. Having five guys to play a whole game while others have 8 to 10 players was a challenge in itself, but all excuses aside we should have done better.”
A run of four straight wins (and six out of seven) heading in to the playoffs could hardly have been better preparation to launch an assault as the dark horses of the playoffs. “ Our team chemistry is at a season high and were playing great basketball,” admits Adam. ”Our confidence in our team is very high right now and will remain like this throughout the playoffs. We are at the peak of our performance as a team and individually, so we do believe we will make a run in the playoffs.”
The first hurdle in the playoff run is a trip to Worcester to face the Wolves in the quarter-finals – a team the Jets have struggled with this season. “Our team is playing the best basketball we have played all year and even though the Wolves have beaten us three times we are confident we can play with them and will give them a run for their money,” says Adam. “Losing is never the plan when the Cheshire Jets step on the floor.”
The Jets visit Worcester tomorrow (Saturday 28th April) in the BBL Playoff quarter-final first leg, with the second leg on Sunday 29th April at the Northgate [buy tickets].
Sixth spot in the final BBL Championship table is up for grabs when the Jets host One Health Sharks Sheffield later on today.
The Sharks are currently holding sixth, two points ahead of the Jets, but a victory today would see the Jets move level on point, but would also give them the head-to-head decider. Sixth place in the table earns a date with Worcester Wolves in the playoff quarter finals, while seventh would set up a tie against Leicester Riders. [read more]
Newly crowned BBL regular season champions Newcastle Eagles finish their regular season home campaign tonight when as the Jets visit Sport Central.
It will be Jets’ first trip to Newcastle this season, although the teams could yet meet in the play-off quarter-final. Eagles have had contrasting wins in the two meetings at Northgate Arena earlier in the campaign, winning 78-74 in November and 95-82 three months later.
While the Eagles are assured of top spot, Jets – who go into the weekend with an 11-17 record – can finish anywhere between sixth and eighth, and they will need to surprise Newcastle on their own court if they are to get the higher post-season seed. [read more]
The Jets continue their push for a BBL Championship play-off place this afternoon when Glasgow Rocks are the visitors to Northgate Arena.
After Friday’s key win at Prestige Homes MK Lions the team are two points clear in eighth place with a 10-17 record while Rocks locked up fifth after beating the Sharks on Friday.
Despite the difference in league positions between the two sides, Jets have had the better of the meetings between them this season, winning 85-78 in November and edging a thriller 80-78 at Northgate Arena in February. [read more]
Ahead of tonight’s crucial BBL Championship game against the MK Lions we caught up with centre Matt Schneck to find out how he and the team are feeling going in to this one.
Although the Jets are two points ahead of the Lions, a win for the Lions would see them move above the Jets in the table based on their head-to-head record and would put them in pole position for the final playoff spot.
A win for the Jets, however, would almost guarantee them a playoff berth by opening up a four point gap on the Lions and taking the head-to-head battle with only three games to play. [read more]
The race for the final BBL Championship play-off places look likely to go down to the wire and there’s a key game in Milton Keynes tonight when the Jets visit Prestige Homes MK Lions.
A win for both sides is crucial, with Jets heading into the weekend in eighth place with a 9-17 record while Lions are hot on their heals in ninth spot with eight wins from 26 games.
The head-to-head decider could yet prove crucial, and it will be sealed by the winner of tonight’s game. Both previous meetings this season have been at the Northgate Arena, with Lions winning 86-75 in December before Jets gained revenge in February with an 85-76 victory. [read more]
As his side prepare for a crucial test against the Jets that could be decisive in the playoff race, Prestige Homes MK Lions coach Mike New has described the Jets’ starting five as one of the strongest in the BBL.
“Jets are a team with as strong a starting five as there is in the BBL” said New. “With [Matt] Schneck, [Bill] Cole and Colin O’Reilly they have size, athleticism and an array of skills.
“Adam Brown is playing at a high level and Williams has been a good fit for them. We match up well against Jets and we were missing a few players in our last match up, but this is a must win for both teams and we both know it.
“We will have to battle on the boards at both ends because they are relentless on the glass. We aren’t playing bad ourselves at the moment and the game will no doubt be a good one.”
A win for both sides is vital, with Jets heading into the weekend in eighth place with a 9-17 record while Lions are hot on their heels in ninth spot with eight wins from 26 games. The head-to-head decider could yet prove crucial, and it will be sealed by the winner of Friday’s game. Both previous meetings this season have been at Cheshire’s Northgate Arena, with Lions winning 86-75 in December before Jets gained revenge in February with an 85-76 victory.