The Leicester Riders were already in the next round where they will meet the Guildford Heat, having dispatched the Birmingham Panthers some days earlier.
There were three games to be played; the question was which one should I go to.
The first one was easy, the Paws London Capitals were playing on the road at Plymouth , one of the toughest roadtrips in the BBL, not just for the visiting teams but for the fans as well. This should be an easy win for the home team…WRONG.
Steve Bucknall and his team defeated the Raiders 83 – 74 to advance to the next round where they will meet the Milton Keynes Lions.
I had spoken to my mate Sumo and he was going to see the Rocks play against the Worcester Wolves at Braehead. I wanted to go to this one as I have not yet seen the Rocks play at this venue, but I didn’t think this was going to be a great game.
The Wolves, in my opinion are struggling and I do like the look of the Rocks. This is going to be a blow-out…RIGHT. The Rocks won this one 84 – 55 to go to the next step where they will play against the Sheffield Sharks.
So that left just 1 game, the Cheshire Jets against their closest rivals Everton Tigers. I had seen both of these teams play already this season and I knew it was going to be a cracker.
I saw the Tigers get trounced by the Eagles in Newcastle a couple of weeks ago but in their next game they took apart the Guildford Heat. I saw the Jets go down to the Sharks at home in one of the worst games I’d seen in a while but then I saw then run the Eagles right to the wire in TJ’s emotional return to the MetroRadio Arena… a truly memorable night.
So here we are at the home of the Cheshire Jets for their biggest game of the season so far. A full house is on hand for this encounter and there is great anticipation as the teams take to the floor. I remember being in the bar at the Northgate on the night that the Jets finally announced that they would be competing in this seasons’ BBL.
It was a very moving occasion. It might have been a big announcement but for me their biggest announcement was that they had signed TJ Walker to be their player/coach. TJ had been at Newcastle for 7 years and I think had felt that he had done everything he had wanted to do there.
It would have been interesting to see if he would have returned to the UK to link up with the Eagles again.
From the day he arrived in the UK, TJ Wallker has been one of my favourite players and he remains one of my favourite players to this day. He is simply inspirational, and leads from the front.
Quite a few of my other favourite players were on show in this game as well, Chris Haslam who I got to know back in the day when the Birmingham Bullets were the biggest thing around and they played at the NIA and the NEC.
I was the commentator back in those days and I saw Chris at the top of his game. He has lost none of his moves. Other players I like here include Shawn Myers and James Hamilton of the Jets and Calvin Davis and John Simpson formerly of the Jets but now strutting their stuff with the Tigers.
So on to the game and what a game it was, the Jets were off to a flyer and this could have been over in the first 10 minutes but Coach Mooney called a time out and settled his guys down. On their return to the court they began to play led by Chris Haslam and Calvin Davis. It was a joy to see.
At the end of the half the Tigers led by 45 points to 50. The second quarter was end to end and Jason Obazuaye proved to be unstoppable once he had the ball in his hand.
TJ Walker was as usual running things and would end the game with 18 points 8 assists 5 rebounds and 4 steals…WOW.
The game was played at a fantastic pace and with a truly sporting attitude. No quarter was asked or given. The former Jets players were all give a warm welcome but once the whistle blew they were the enemy.
Even former Jets owner Mike Burton in the stands could be seen, shall we say, reacting to some of the officials decisions. This was a great night for the British game.
The third and fourth quarters went by in a blur and although the Tigers put up a fantastic fight in the end they just ran out of steam in the face of some ferrocious pressure from the Jets.
The leading scorers for the Jets were Shawn Myers and Jason Obazuaye with 23 each with Myers adding 11 rebounds. No wonder he was presented with the BBL/Molten Player of the Month trophy for October.
So victory for the Jets but congratulations must also go to Coach Mooney and his Tigers for being a part of this fantastic evening. The top scorers for the Tigers were Chris Haslam with 23, Calvin Davis with 19 and Tony Robertson with 13.
For me the MVP was TJ Walker who is leading his team from the front. He is doing it all and do not be surprised if he leads his Cheshire Jets to a trophy this season. If he doesn’t do so I really don’t think it will matter because he is doing something even more important…he is putting basketball back on the map in Cheshire, and he is doing it with a winning team.
This victory takes the Jets to the 2nd round of the BBL Cup where they will meet …wait for it… Newcastle Eagles on Sunday the 25th of November.
I cannot wait…I Love This Game.
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