What a thriller of a game to end the season for the Charnwood Riders in Manchester! On Wednesday night the Charnwood Riders won the EABL title against Myerscough College, 83-74. Headlined by phenomenal team play and a monstrous game from MVP Victor Ndoukou with 30 points and 11 rebounds. 

Difference makers Kanu Gudza (14 points and 8 assists) and Ben Woog (15 points 9 rebounds) came up huge in a gritty contested match determined by each team’s ability to keep composure under pressure and execute their schemes on both ends. 

Both teams came into Manchester accompanied with a packed crowd loaded with noisemakers and energy. The game was a loud and intense battle from start to finish. 

Out the gate, both teams came out quick. Myerscough struck the first blow but it was quickly answered with free throws from Victor Ndoukou. Both teams’ defensive gameplans were clear from the start, pressuring the ball and protecting the paint. 

It was an even matchup, if one team scored the other would come down the other end and answer with a basket of their own. Behind a stop and a made three, Myerscough managed to take a 4 point lead with 3:33 left to play in the first, but a 9 point swing capped off with a buzzer-beater touchdown layup to Victor Ndoukou put the Riders up 5 as they entered the second leading 18-13. 

Myerscough immediately hit a three to open the second and made it clear they were not going to let Charnwood run away with an early lead. Just like that, the game was back to a 2-3 point swing that could go either team’s way. 

Ben Woog was massive on the offensive boards which led him to 7 second quarter points. Despite their best efforts, Myerscough were held just behind Charnwood each step of the quarter, but they did narrow the gap to 1 point going into the half. With 20 minutes left to play it was anyone’s title to win. Riders lead 38-37 at the end of the half. 

The third quarter commenced and once again both teams were unwilling to give any leeway to the other. Both teams exchanged difficult shots and gritty defensive possessions. The Riders capitalized off second-chance points and were determined to out-hustle their opposition. 

After another intense quarter of back and forth, the Riders found themselves up 4 with a minute to go in the third. The Riders proceeded to score 8 points in the last minute of the third. A quick three by Dan Hadley followed by a steal and layup for Lane Campbell which itself was followed up by a Ndoukou block and another 3 from Dan Hadley put the Riders up 10, 63-53, ten minutes away from a championship. 

And here it was, the make or break point. 10 minutes left and everything on the line. Myerscough was not ready to give in quietly. They chipped back at the Rider’s lead to close the gap to only 2 points with 5:36 to play, but one run was answered with another and the Riders rallied back and held Myerscough to 6 points in the final 5 minutes of play compared to their 13 to take the game and the trophy. 

To roaring applause, the Rider’s celebrated and MVP Victor Ndoukou received his honours to his name being chanted by the crowd as the Rider’s efforts all season paid off. It was a phenomenal effort from both teams and one of the most intense games I’ve seen with my own eyes. 

A perfect ending to the season as the Riders now get to celebrate as Champions. Defined all season by their work ethic and unity as a team. They dominated on the glass and second-chance points and through their combined efforts reigned supreme. Congratulations Charnwood!

Match report written by Rob Field.

Preview: Riders at Eagles

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders are two wins away from retaining their BBL Championship title, sitting top of the table with a 19-2 record.  A blowout win against the Scorchers in their previous game brought them one step closer to the silverware. 

Patrick Whelan led them in the game with 23 points, the GB sharpshooter scored an emphatic 47 points in a back to back over the weekend. These performances have been consistent of Whelan all season long, as he leads the Riders in scoring with 16.1 points per game on 48.7% three-point shooting. 

Whelan’s efforts has helped Leicester to the best offensive record in the BBL, with the team scoring 90.2 points per game. They have dominated on both ends, also possessing the best defensive record in the league, giving up just 70.5 points a contest. 

A win against their long-standing rivals in this one could be enough to secure the league title, should the London Lions lose one of their upcoming fixtures against Newcastle or Bristol. It will certainly bring the league to within touching distance however the results fall. 

Season So Far – Eagles

This season will not go down as one of the more successful years for the esteemed Eagles franchise. They sit third bottom of the league table with an 8-11 record, and have gone trophyless through the season so far. 

Defence has been the area of concern for Newcastle. They give up 90.6 per game, leaving them near the bottom of the BBL’s defensive rankings. Should they resolve their issues on that end, they will feel confident of making a playoff run, as they rank third in the offence charts, scoring 87 per game. 

Justin Gordan has led the Eagles after rejoining the team midseason. Gordon enjoyed a successful stint in Newcastle last year, and took a half-season away in Hungary before returning to Tyneside.  The 6’6” two-guard is the BBL’s third leading scorer, putting up 18.5 points per game. 

A win in this game will snap a three game losing streak for the Eagles, as they look to secure a playoff place. 

One To Watch – Riders

Sealing the deal with eight points in the final quarter against the Scorchers, Conner Washington showcased the value he has brought to the Riders over his 11 years in Leicester. 

The GB guard has won 12 trophies with the Riders, and was named to the BBL All Defensive team and All British First Team in the 2016/17 season. The Bedford born point guard is known as a two way threat, still able to lock up the best guards the BBL has to offer, while draining shots from deep on the other end. 

Washington had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in his previous game, and will look to put on another solid showing in this one. 

One To Watch – Eagles 

An ever present feature of the Eagles over the last decade, two-time BBL MVP Rahmon Fletcher is continuing to put up big numbers in his seventh season in Newcastle. The 33 year old point guard is leading the BBL in assists with 10.4 per game. 

Fletcher is a graduate of the Green Bay Phoenix, where he graduated averaging 15.6 points in his senior year. After two season’s in the Netherlands with B.A. Limburg, he signed with the Eagles in 2014. Despite taking a year out in 2017 to play in Slovakia, Fletcher has played every other season since 2014 in Newcastle, helping the BBL’s most decorated franchise to yet more success. 

A gritty player on both ends, Fletcher is a team-first guard, able to play elite defence and set his teammates up to great effect on offence. Fletcher hold the record for the most BBL team of the year appearances, with five, and his two MVPs are tied for the most in BBL history. 

Previous Meeting

The teams last met in December, with the Riders taking a convincing 100-72 home win. Geno Crandall led Leicester with 22 points, as the Riders had six players scoring in double digits. 

For Newcatsle, former Rider Corey Johnson put up a team high 15 points, his efforts failing to inspire a comeback for his team. 

Riders defeat Scorchers for second win of the weekend

The Riders are two wins away from a second straight league title, after convincingly beating the Surrey Scorchers on the road. Patrick Whelan led the game with

Whelan wasn’t the only Rider player to reach the 20 point mark, as Mo Walker put up a season high 20 points in as many minutes off the bench. The Uni of Minnesota big man grabbed eight rebounds to pair with his points tally in an impressive effort. 

It was raining threes for Leicester, as they knocked down 16 threes in the game in a red hot scoring effort. Whelan made six, and Washington drained three of his own as Leicester scored over 100 points for the eighth league game this season. 

For Surrey, Stanley Davis Jr put on a show with 23 points. The Morgan State two-guard had nine rebounds and eight assists in a near triple-double effort, while taking just nine shots.  

Despite Davis Jr’s play, it was a convincing win from start to finish, as Leicester won every quarter on the way to a blowout. After falling in a 6-0 hole with a quick Scorchers start, Marc Loving and Patrick Whelan kicked off the Riders’ response with eight points between them in two minutes. 

The pairing’s play clicked Leicester’s BBL-best offence into gear, as they commenced a 15-2 run to take an early advantage. 

Whelan went off in the first, hitting all four of his threes in the opening period of the game. The William Jewell graduate scored 14 of the Riders’ 28 first-quarter points, as Leicester got off to a hot start, entering the second up 10. 

Following up six points in as many minutes in the first, Walker continued his work down low in the second, starting the quarter with two made free-throws. As the Leicester lead grew, the Scorchers made a run back into the game, led by four points from 10-year Scorcher legend Tayo Ogendengbe, cutting a 20 point Riders lead to 13. 

In response, the Riders took back the game’s momentum via a five-point burst from Whelan. Bucknall graduate Kimal Mackenzie ended the period for Leicester how it started, with a pair of free throws to make it 54-39 in the Riders’ favour. 

Geno Crandall started the second half from deep, getting the Riders underway with a quick three. He made two in the quarter as the reigning MVP locked in offensively, scoring nine points in the third. 

The Riders won the period 26-16, extending their lead further to set up a comfortable finish. Walker added four more points to his tally in the closing stages of the quarter to make it 80-58 by the buzzer. 

Walker added another two to start the fourth, working down low to maintain the Riders’ offensive momentum. Leicester saw out the game comfortably, as GB guard Conner Washington scored eight to seal a dominant win.

Loughborough’s Evan Walshe ended the game with a three from the corner, as the Riders improve to 19-2 on the season. 

They head to Newcastle on Tuesday, hoping to better their rivals and take another step towards their sixth league title. 

Preview: Riders at Scorchers

Season So Far – Riders

After a win against Bristol the day previous to this fixture, the Riders are three wins away from retaining their BBL Championship table. They possess an 18-2 record, and the best offence and defence in the BBL. 

A huge clutch win against the Bristol Flyers put them one game closer in their previous fixture. Leicester earned an 87-82 win after Geno Crandall blocked Trejon Jacob’s three-point effort in the dying seconds, before Zach Jackson sealed the deal with a breakaway jam. 

Patrick Whelan led the Riders in the game with 23 points, as he has done all season. he’s putting up 15.7 points and five rebounds a game on 47.3% shooting, a career year for the William Jewell graduate. 

“We had a great reaction when things weren’t going our way. It lit a fire under the team and that’s going to be a key for us going into the playoffs,” said Whelan after the Flyers win. 

“We have one hand on the trophy, but we’re going to take it game by game as we have all season. We’ll go to Surrey tomorrow and try and get the dub.”

Season So Far – Scorchers

The Scorchers prop up the BBL Championship table, possessing a 2-15 record and having won one of their last 11 games. This is the second game of a back to back against the Riders for Surrey, and they will hope for a better result this time around. 

It was an 80-62 Riders win, in a game that was within single digits late until the Riders pulled away. It made the season series between the sides 2-0 in Leicester’s favour, with both games being won convincingly. 

Stanley Davis Jr has led the team through the season with 16.7 points per game, the Morgan State point guard putting up 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists to stuff the stat sheet. Davis Jr’s productions will provide little solace for Surrey, however, who rank last in offensive production with just 72.9 points per game. 

Despite their record leaving them out of playoff contention, a win against the league leaders would go a long way towards turning the Scorchers’ season around. 

One To Watch – Riders

Stepping up in the biggest moment of the Riders’ previous game, Geno Crandall’s MVP talents were on full display in the clutch. Picking up the red hot Trejon Jacob one on one with 10 seconds remaining, Crandall forced Jacob into a tough, contested three-point attempt, which Crandall blocked to seal the game.

Crandall has been one of the BBL’s premier playmakers this season, ranking top five in the league in assists, dishing 6.8 per game. He has shown his prowess on both ends, ranking top three in steals with two per game. 

The Gonzaga graduate has led the Riders to their successes all season long, continually putting winning ahead of statistical accolades. He has earned in his fair share of individual success, winning the BBL Cup final MVP to help the Riders to their first silverware of the season. 

‘The General’ will look to lead the Riders to the win in this one, to take a big step towards retaining their BBL Championship title. 

One To Watch – Scorchers

Joining the Scorchers in Febuary, Desmond Ringer has hit the ground running for his new team. He is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, ranking second on his team in both categories. 

The Mercer graduate, who led Eagles Landing to their first ever state championship in high school, is playing in his second pro season, after competing in France last year. 

Standing at 6’9”, Ringer is a versatile offensive threat, able to take defenders off the dribble and pull up from deep. He is able to run the floor, with his vision and passing ability allowing him to make plays for his team. 

He provides a headache for any defence he goes up against, with his size and strength combined with his shooting creating mismatches with most defenders. The Riders will need to guard Ringer close to prevent him from continuing his hot streak. 

Previous Meeting 

The sides last met last time the Riders went on the road, the game going Leicester way with an 82-60 win. The Riders locked in to hold Surrey to nine points in the final period after the teams entered the fourth with the game in the balance.

Darien Nelson-Henry dominated down low, scoring 21 points in 26 minutes. For Surrey, Desmond Ringer scored 14 in his team’s efforts, as the Riders took a 2-0 advantage in the season series. 

Riders edge Flyers to open the weekend with a win

The Riders won a hard-fought battle against the Bristol Flyers, finishing 87-82 victors. Patrick Whelan led the team with 23 points, going 5-10 from the field and 11-11 from the free-throw line. 

With 11 seconds left and up three, Geno Crandall sealed the win for the Riders with a clutch block on Trejon Jacob. Leicester blocked nine shots on the game, this one the most pivotal as they improve to 18-2. 

In the absence of Flyers’ star Marcus Evans, who served a one-game suspension in this one, Trejon Jacob stepped up in the Bristol backcourt. He had 17 points and six assists in his team’s efforts, hitting two big threes in the clutch to keep it close. 

Three more wins will secure the Riders’ second-straight BBL Championship, as they sit 12 points clear atop the table. They fought back against a hot Flyers start to take a big step towards the silverware. 

It was Josh Rogers who led them out the gate, the sharpshooter put up eight points in three minutes to give Bristol an early edge. 

With the Riders in a 14-5 hole in the opening five minutes, the captain, Darien Nelson-Henry, stepped up to give his side a jolt of momentum. He scored four quick points after a Leicester timeout to bring the game to within five. 

But despite the big man’s efforts, the Flyers’ offence remained in a rhythm through the rest of the first. They shot 65% in the quarter, to take a 32-21 lead into the second. 

Leicester fell back on their league-leading defence to get back into the game. Steals on three straight possessions got the home crowd on their feet, as a Marc Loving off-balance three cut the deficit to single digits. 

The Riders continued their charge back into the game, locking down on defence to go on a 12-0 run. Patrick Whelan’s free-throws gave Leicester their first lead since early in the first, after Loving scored eight on the Riders’ run to give them a 46-43 halftime lead. 

The teams to start the second half, as the score stayed locked within a possession for the entirety of the third. Mo Walker scored four to close out the period, while the Flyers’ Mike Miller dropped eight before going down with a leg injury. 

Zach Simmons closed the third with a pair of three throws, to send the game into the final quarter with the score 64-61 to the visitors. 

The Riders took the game by the horns in the fourth, going on an 8-0 run to start the quarter and take the first two-possession lead of the second half. Running the fastbreak, Jubril Adekoya sent the crowd into a frenzy by finishing hard at the hoop through contact, making an and-one play. 

The Flyers came back, making three contested threes to take a narrow lead with two minutes left. It was time for the MVP to take the reigns, as Crandall drained a running three-pointer early in the shot clock to take an 81-79 lead. 

With 11 seconds left and the score 83-82 to Leicester, Nelson-Henry went to the line and made both, coming up clutch for his team. With the game on the line, Crandall came up with a huge block, and Jackson knocked down two more free throws to seal a hard-earned Riders win. 

“We had a great reaction when things weren’t going our way. It lit a fire under the team and that’s going to be a key for us going into the playoffs,” said Whelan post-game. 

“We have one hand on the trophy, but we’re going to take it game by game as we have all season. We’ll go to Surrey tomorrow and try and get the dub.”


What a thriller of a game in Charnwood last night! The Charnwood Riders faced off against Barking Abbey in the EABL semi finals in front of a packed crowd. The energy in the building was through the roof and it seemed inevitable that this game was going to be a good one. 

The Riders came out scorching hot. Getting stop after stop and after 2 quick triples from Louie Jordan the Riders started the game with a 12-0 run. Barking Abbey however answered with a scoring spurt of their own. Narrowing the gap behind excellent finishing around the rim. 

Both teams continued to battle and it became clear that this was going to be a game of defense. Abbey’s zone defense was smothering and forced the Riders to get more creative when it came to attacking the rim. And the Riders smooth switches and communication helped them force several turnovers and shot clock violations in the first.

At the end of the first quarter, the Riders saw themselves leading 21-16. 

The second quarter is when the intensity of this game became abundantly clear. Both teams went back and forth at each other. Both teams showed excellent heart on the glass as they’d crash and battle every time a shot was put up. 

As the second quarter came to a close the Riders still held the lead but were now not so comfortable with the position they were in, leading 37-36. 

The third quarter kept up with the pace of the first hand, chippy defense, runs and tough shots. Both teams remained neck and neck. Exchanging the lead and fighting for each possession. The Riders came up with some clutch steals but seemed to struggle at times to score against Abbey’s zone. 

A nice three from Dan Hadley put the riders within 3 points of Abbey’s lead, but a layup as the quarter ended put Barking Abbey up 5 with 10 minutes left to play. Abbey leads 54-49.

The fourth quarter was intense as could be. A quick transition dunk from Zamoku Weluche seemed to give Abbey a burst of energy as they came out looking to extend and extinguish the Riders in the fourth.

It then became a game of ‘big plays’, Victor Ndoukou answered Abbey’s run with a three pointer. Both teams exchanged blows. And with 2:45 left to play the Riders found themselves down 4, 61-57. 

Victor Ndoukou ended the Rider’s scoring drought with a heat check three to bring the game within 1 point. After a quick stop the Riders came down and Kanu Gudza hit a three pointer of his own to put the Riders up 63-61 with 2 minutes to play. 

2 free throws from Abbey tied the game up at 63 with 1:13 left to play. Abbey brings up the ball but gets stripped by Kanu Gudza who connects on his transition layup to give the Riders a 2 point lead. Abbey hits 1-2 free throws on their next possession and with 35 seconds left it was time for a big moment. 

Victor Ndoukou received the ball at the top of the key and proceeded to hit a step back and one three point BOMB. The crowd went wild and that was the dagger that put the Riders over the top. Now leading by 5 Abbey had no choice but to foul and the Riders put them away at the Charity stripe.

It was an absolute thriller in Charnwood which came down to the wire. Playoff basketball is here and it is delivering. It was a phenomenal win for Charnwood as they now advance to the EABL Finals and a fantastic effort from Barking Abbey as the Riders win 72-67.

Match report written by Rob Field

Preview: Riders v Flyers

Season So Far – Riders

With eight games remaining, the Riders are strong favourites to retain their BBL Championship title. They sit 10 points clear atop the table with a 17-2 record, with a game in hand on the Manchester Giants below. 

Leicester possesses the best statistical record on both ends, scoring 89.7 points while giving up just 69.6. Their defensive prowess was on full display in their previous fixture, as they bested the Surrey Scorchers 82-60 on the road. 

It was an 11 point game going into the fourth, but the Riders held the Scorchers to just nine points in the final quarter to secure the win. Riders captain Darien Nelson-Henry led them to the win, scoring his 1000th BBL points with 21 in the game. 

On the season, it is William Jewell sniper Patrick Whelan who is leading Leicester. His 15.3 points per game, on 48% three-point shooting, has been integral to the Riders’ league-leading success thus far. 

“We know there are not many games left. We’re in a great position and we’ve got to keep going,” said coach Rob Paternostro postgame. “One thing I love about these guys is that they are not bothered by any of the noise. They’re not worried about who we’re playing, they come out and play professionally.”

The Riders will need every ounce of that professionalism to come away with the win in this one. 

Season So Far – Flyers

The Flyers have a shot at rising up the ranks of the BBL Championship table, having played five games less than the second-placed Manchester Giants and being eight points behind. Their defensive know-how has been the key to their consistency this season, as they rank third in the BBL by giving up just 77 points per game. 

The Flyers are 8-2 when they hold their opponents to under 80 points this season. Trejon Jacob sets the defensive tone on the perimeter for Bristol, the FIU graduate ranking fourth in the BBL in steals, with two per game. 

On the offensive end, the Flyers have struggled to establish a rhythm, scoring the fewest points per game in the BBL. Marcus Evans leads them in scoring with 15.9 points per game, but he will sit out this game to serve a one-game suspension. 

Without their leading man, the emphasis on slowing down the Riders’ league-leading offence is even greater for the Flyers, should they want to start their potential rise up the table. 

One To Watch – Riders

Returning from injury in the Riders’ previous game, Mo Walker left his mark on the Scorchers down low on limited minutes. The Minnesota graduate scored eight points in the first half, muscling his defender in the paint. 

Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on his center’s efforts: “Mo’s first half set us up and put us in a great position. He was unstoppable for a time, and it really helped us get the lead.”

“We like a lot of his matchups every game, and we knew he could get good position down low, and he’s so skilled down there.”

The Canadian/British big man has been a vital component to Leicester’s success this season. He leads the BBL in winning percentage and also tops the league charts in index rating per 100 possessions. 

Walker brings a wealth of experience to the Riders roster, having played in Italy, France and the NBA summer league with the Orlando Magic after graduating college. At the Uni of Minnesota, Walker led the team in rebounding and blocks, and came second in the scoring charts in his senior year. 

“Big Mo’s” return to light a spark in the Riders in the closing stages of the season, as his contributions to winning are contagious throughout the team. 

One To Watch – Flyers

With his defensive efforts ranking among the best in the BBL, Trejon Jacob has announced himself as an elite talent on both ends in his first professional season. The Louisianna born guard is scoring 15.6 points per game on 39% three-point shooting, and leading the Flyers with 8.3 rebounds a game. 

Jacob enjoyed a successful college career. He scored 451 points as a sophomore at FIU, the second-most in college history. He finished his senior year with 11.6 points per game before graduating and signing with the Flyers. 

Jacob has gone off for 20 on three occasions this season, and in his previous game put up a 17 point, 11 rebound double-double against the Sheffield Sharks. The 6’5” sharpshooter has a quick trigger from deep, and can explode for high volume three-point shooting, as demonstrated by the seven threes he made against the Cheshire Phoenix in Febuary. 

Last time against the Riders, Jacob had 17 points and six rebounds and will be hoping for another big performance in the absence of his backcourt running mate, Evans. 

Previous Meeting

The last time these teams met, the game went down to the final buzzer, with the Riders taking a narrow 78-75 victory. Zach Jackson led Leicester with 28 points and hit a go-ahead step-back three with less than a minute remaining to win the game for the Riders. 

Evans led the fight for Bristol, scoring 18 points. The backcourt pairing of he and Jacob scored 35 points, but Evans’ three at the buzzer was too long as the Riders took home a hard-fought victory. 


On Sunday the Loughborough Riders took on the CoLa Southwark Pride in London. The teams went back and forth exchanging leads in a gritty defensive minded battle. The Riders managed to pull ahead and run away with a win, tallying a final score of 63-47. 

CoLA began the game with a quick 6-0 run over the first 4 minutes, but was immediately answered by a 7-0 run from the Riders. The Riders used their ability to grab offensive rebounds to capitalize on second chance points.

Both teams exchanged defensive stops, layups and extra points at the free-throw line. They remained neck and neck and it was an even showing in the first quarter as they entered the second tied at 12-12. 

The second quarter was kicked off by Louise Rouse with 5 quick points. The Riders continued to keep up the defensive intensity, but CoLA weren’t going to go away quietly either. Though the Riders extended their lead to 6 in the second quarter, CoLA closed the gap to one with a score of 24-23 going into the half. 

Going into the second the Riders looked more composed, calm and ready to execute their gameplan. The third quarter was led by Katie Januszewska who poured in 12 points in just the third. The Riders were electric on offense as they scored 21 points in the third. 

They also held their own on the defensive end. Protecting the paint and stopping CoLA to only 14 third quarter points. Their combined efforts on both ends of the floor helped them to build their first sizable lead of the game as they led 45-37 going into the fourth. 

In the fourth the Riders did what they do best, remain calm and execute their gameplan. The Riders again smothered the Pride on defense, holding them to 10 points as they put up 18 of their own. The Riders were dominant on the glass and their hustle stats excelled them to win 63-47.

Louise Rouse, Katie Januszewska and Alia El Shabrawy all poured in 17 points in an excellent display of Riders basketball. They kept their composure and executed on both ends of the court. An excellent win for the team. Well done girls!

Match report written by Rob Field


Saturday saw the Loughborough Riders travel to Worthing to take on the Thunder. Both teams fought hard but it was the Thunder who pulled ahead in front of their home crowd and won 91-75. 

It was a rough first quarter for Loughborough as the Thunder came out on fire hitting shot after shot as the Riders struggled to find a groove offensively. The Thunder’s defense was clicking and the rim seemed like it had been widened as they stormed ahead to take a 27-9 lead after one quarter of play.

In the second, the Riders came out much hotter than in the first. They poured in 20 second quarter points, but though they were executing on offense the Thunder kept their foot on the gas pouring in 22 second quarter points of their own.

Going into the half the Riders trailed 49-29. 

The second half was a battle, both teams came out hot. Milo Gordon hit 2 quick three’s and led his team on a run that saw them bring the game back to an 11 point deficit. The Thunder though answered back with a run of their own.

Both teams poured in 25 points in the third quarter, once again the Riders found themselves behind by 20 points as they approached the fourth quarter. Thunder lead 74-54.

The fourth quarter commenced and again both teams went back and forth, hitting basket after basket. Unfortunately, the Thunder’s lead was too big for the Riders despite the Riders outscoring the Thunder in the fourth quarter.

It was a tough fought match, but the Riders slow start to this game dug them into a hole they couldn’t climb out of. They proved that they were on par with the Thunder as they outscored them from the end of the first till the end of the game. 

However, the Thunder’s 5 players with double digit figures and well played team efforts propelled them ahead to win this game. The Rider’s showed their heart and never gave up. Good game boys, onto the next one.

Match report written by Rob Field


The Leicester Riders took on the Durham Palatinates in a tight, back and forth contest which saw the Riders losing 85-70 after they were unable to answer the second half run of the Palatinates. 

The Riders were off to a quick start in the first, behind good efficiency and a balanced scoring effort they managed to gain a quick lead whilst holding the Palatinates at bay with their stellar team defense. 

The Riders shared the ball well as they attacked the rim. Their team coordination gave them an edge and their first quarter efforts put them up 21-14 as they entered the second quarter. 

The Palatinates opened the second with a run of their own. They came back to tie the game up 29-29 with 4 minutes left to play in the second. In those last 4 minutes, Alison Lewis put up 6 points and a three point dagger by Brooklynn Mcalear-Fanus to close the half put the riders up 34-39. 

The third quarter commenced and both teams were looking to make their move to take and maintain a lead. The Palatinates came out quick and tied the game up, both teams took turns going back and forth with the lead. 

If the Palatinates hit a three, the Riders would come down and match it with one of their own. However, the Palatinates pulled ahead in the last 2 minutes of the third to put them up 61-56 behind a flurry of three point shots. 

Going into the fourth a quick Makana Stone layup and Alison Lewis 3 pointer tied the game up with 8 minutes to play in the fourth. Both teams again took turns fighting for the lead and tied the game 3 more times in the fourth. 

Both teams went scoreless from the 5 minutes mark till the 3:30 mark when the Palatinates began a scoring onslaught to take a commanding lead and finish the game strong. They were led by Goretti Hurtado Barbeito who had 25 points and Katie Bennet who had 18 points and 12 assists. 

The final buzzer sounded with a score of 85-70, but don’t let the final score fool you. This game was tied until the final 3 minutes when one team’s shots fell and the others didn’t. The Riders put up a great fight. Alison Lewis had 15 points off the bench and another double double from Oceana Hamilton headlined the Rider’s efforts. 

It was a tough loss, but a good fight. Go get ’em next time Riders!

Match Report written by Rob Field

Riders win on the road in Surrey

The Riders improved their BBL best record to 17-2, beating the Surrey Scorchers 82-60 on the road. 

Darien Nelson-Henry led the team with 21 points and five rebounds, not missing a shot as he went 8-8 from the field. Nelson-Henry’s shooting was consistent throughout the team, as Leicester enjoyed a characteristically efficient shooting night, going 56% from the field. 

Entering the final quarter with a slight advantage, the Riders flexed their league-leading defence to seal the win. They held Surrey to just nine points in the final period, as the Scorchers went 3-11 from the floor and turned it over six times. 

The game marked the return of Mo Walker from injury, who put in a solid effort in limited minutes. The Minnesota graduate scored eight points in the first half, muscling his defender in the paint. 

Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on his center’s efforts: “Mo’s first half set us up and put us in a great position. He was unstoppable for a time, and it really helped us get the lead. 

We liked his matchups today, especially against the second unit. We like a lot of his matchups every game, and we knew he could get good position down low, and he’s so skilled down there.” 

After a tough Riders shooting stint to start the game, Marc Loving took the lid off the basket. He threw down a monster alley-oop slam to send the Leicester bench into a frenzy, before converting an and-one play to keep the early score close. 

Building off his teammate’s play, Walker made his first buckets after returning from injury. The Canadian/British big man scored six in three minutes to give the Riders a 21-17 lead to end the period. 

Loving came out into the second quarter in attack mode, getting to the line twice in three minutes including another and-one play. Spurred on by the Ohio State graduate’s play, the Riders took their first double-digit lead of the night, courtesy of Patrick Whelan’s three. 

On the next play, Loving came up with the play of the game. Following up Whelan’s missed layup, Loving rose high over Sol Rolls-Tyson, and threw the ball down two-handed on the 6’8” forward’s head, silencing the home crowd. 

The Riders rode a wave of momentum from the play, and entered the locker rooms up 45-30. 

After a 6-0 Scorchers start to the second half, the Riders attacked the hoop to put their opponents in early foul trouble and reestablish their lead at the free-throw line. Crandall ran the offence with his elite playmaking, showing off his flashy passing by throwing an assist over his head to Zach Jackson on the perimeter. 

But the Scorchers responded, getting to the line themselves to great effect to take eight free-throws in three minutes, cutting the difference to single digits. Kimbal Mackenzie ended the period with a layup for the Riders, ending the third with the score 62-51 in Leicester’s favour. 

Mackenzie carried his form into the final period, scoring five points in two and a half minutes. But Surrey continued to get to the line, and Stanley Davis Jr’s foul shouts cut the Riders’ lead to nine. 

In response, with five minutes left in the game, Whelan scored five quick points to give Leicester a firmer grip on the game. After Whelan’s burst of offence, the Riders went on a 10-0 run, all but sealing the win. 

The win brings the Riders a step closer to retaining their league title, with just eight games left to play.

“We know there are not many games left. We’re in a great position and we’ve got to keep going. One thing I love about these guys is that they are not bothered by any of the noise,” said coach Rob postgame 

“They’re not worried about who we’re playing, they come out and play professionally. Coming off last week’s game, which was a heartbreaker, and come out here and dominate as we did was excellent.”

Preview: Riders at Scorchers

Season So Far – Riders

A 16-2 record is enough to put the Riders 10 points clear atop the BBL Championship table. They have dominated the BBL on both ends, possessing the league’s best offensive and defensive record by scoring 90.2 points and giving up just 70.1. 

The Riders start to their season was the best in franchise history, placing themselves as hot favourites to retain their league title. Patrick Whelan is leading the way with 15.3 points per game, the Warrington born shooting guard earning his first GB call up after a career-best season thus far. 

In their previous game, the Riders fell for the second time this year, taking a loss on the road to the Manchester Giants. It was a closely fought game that came down to the final possession, with neither side able to establish a double-digit lead throughout. Whelan drove to the rim on the final play, but did not find a whistle through heavy contact as the Riders fell 83-85. 

They will look to bounce back in this one, as they head to Surrey to face a Scorchers team with newfound confidence. 

Season So Far – Scorchers

The Scorchers won their second league game of the year in their most recent fixture, beating the Glasgow Rocks 95-86. The victory broke a nine-game losing streak, as they look to build off the momentum to turn their season around. 

Desmond Ringer led the Scorchers with 20 points, the new acquisition is averaging 19.5 points in his last two games, hitting the ground running in his new home. 

Despite the recent win, the Scorchers prop up the league table with a 2-16 record. Their struggles have stemmed from their offence, as Surrey is producing just 73.8 points per game on a league-worst 40.6% from the field. 

But a win against the league leaders in this one, securing back to back wins, would go a long way to instilling the confidence for the Scorchers’ resurgence. 

One To Watch – Riders

Despite the loss in the Riders’ previous game, Patrick Whelan put on a show for Leicester. He recorded his first career double-double, putting up 25 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field. 

After the game, Whelan wasn’t content with his individual stats. 

“You play to win, so it doesn’t really mean anything. Obviously, it’s nice to play well, and I feel like I’m in a good rhythm, but not getting the win is disappointing for all of us.”

Whelan has been in a rhythm all season long, with the second-best high-volume three-point percentage in the BBL with 48.5%. He is a top 20 scorer in the league, scoring 15.3 points per game, leading the Riders to the top of the BBL Championship table. 

His focus has been on the upcoming fixture since the previous loss. “We take losses personally, that’s why we only have two of them. We’ll come out hard, we’ll come out strong and we’ll be ready for the next one.”

One to watch- Scorchers

Ranking ninth in the BBL scoring charts, Stanley Davis Jr. has been on a tear for the Scorchers this season. His 17.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game has been integral to his team in his second professional season. 

Davis Jr arrived at the Scorchers after a season in Albania, taking Vllaznia Shkoda to the playoffs averaging 18.5 points and shot 43% from three. This came off the back of a successful college career at Morgan State, where he averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in his senior year.

To pair with his sharpshooting ability from the outside, Davis Jr is an athletic wing, able to attack the basket and make contested baskets in close. He has scored over 20 on five occasions in the league, highlighted by his 26 point effort against the Newcastle Eagles on opening night. 

Previous Meeting

The teams last met early in the year in Leicester. The result was a blowout for the hosts, as the Riders secured a 90-61 win. 

Geno Crandall put on a show for the home crowd, putting up 24 points, nine assists and making five threes. The Scorchers, without Davis Jr, were led by 14 points from Martelle McLemore, while Bowie State big man Saiquan Jamison grabbed a monumental 21 rebounds. 


The Leicester Riders and Oaklands Wolves faced a double header this weekend, one game played in each teams respectives arena’s. Both times though the Riders came out on top in convincing fashion behind the Riders unselfish offense and phenomenal defense. 

In their first face off the Riders took off, coming out with a 12-0 run in the first 5 minutes of play. From the moment the game started the Riders simply just executed better on both ends of the floor. Using their smart defensive rotations and fluid ball movement to solidify a lead against the Wolves. As they exited the first quarter with a 20-9 lead. 

The second quarter was more of the same. As the Riders again kept their foot on the gas, once again holding the Wolves scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of second quarter action. The wolves managed to put together a run of their own and try to close the gap against the Riders, but back to back three’s from Emihear Morris and Brooklynn Mcalear helped to stop their run and let the Riders sit comfortably going into the half with a 37-26 point lead. 

The third quarter commenced some back and forth action between both teams. The Riders attacked the paint and picked up extra points at the free throw line to hold the Wolves back despite their success from behind the three point arc. The Riders shot 9/9 from the free throw line in the third and success at the rim helped to elevate their lead even further to 58-39 as they entered the fourth quarter. 

The fourth quarter was all Riders as their offense clicked and they poured in 25 fourth quarter points compared to the Wolves 8. Everyone was hitting their shots and their defense was once again phenomenal. If this team has demonstrated anything it’s that they are a solid unit. Their ability to put ego aside and all work together with the goal to win is stellar to watch. 

5 Riders scored in double figures and Oceana Hamilton notched another double double with a 12 point 12 rebound effort. Brooklyn Mcalear once again proved herself as a floor general as she put up 15 points 8 assists and 3 steals. Overall a fantastic effort for the Riders, as they headed back home to face the Wolves once again.

With only a night’s rest both teams geared up and prepared to face each other once again. And once again it was the Riders who propelled ahead and took charge of this game. The Rider’s dominated behind both Oceana Hamilton and Hannah Robb’s double doubles. 

The first quarter was a more contested contest, both teams went shot for shot as they traded baskets up into the halfway point of the first. The Riders composed themselves and found their groove, as they began to take the momentum and close out the first quarter on top 17-12 for the Riders.

The second quarter was highlighted by the defense of the Riders as they continued to get stops and make their shots at the other end. The rim was wide open for the Riders as three’s, two’s and free throws continued to find the bottom of the rim behind 22 second quarter points. Their efforts extended their lead to 14 as they entered the half leading 39-25.

Third quarter action was more of the same as the Riders came out with a flurry of jump shots and defensive stops. Once again the Rider’s ball movement and unselfish culture fueled their efforts and helped them to build and maintain their lead. They poured in 24 points this quarter and held the Wolves to 7. Putting them up 31 as they entered the fourth, 63-32.

In the fourth the Riders held onto their lead and continued to operate as a fine tuned machine. Scoring 19 points and holding the Wolves to 9. It was again the whole team that worked together to win the game, 82-41. 

Both games this weekend the hustle, discipline and execution of the Riders propelled them ahead in back to back contests. It was a phenomenal display of teamwork and coaching. Excellent wins, Riders!

Match report written by Rob Field


Sunday saw the Loughborough Riders take on Team Newcastle in a tough contest headlined by defense, runs and three point shooting. The Riders were led by dominant performances from both Joe Bielak and Harrison Gamble who each had 23 points. But their efforts weren’t quite enough to overcome Team Newcastle who were able to hold the Riders off through a team effort. 

The Riders came out fast behind Joe Bielak’s two three’s in the first two possessions of the game. Another three by Harrison Gamble put the Riders up 9-0 two minutes into the first quarter. Newcastle was able to compose themselves and bounce back going on a 9-0 run of their own to tie the game

A common theme of this game began to take place as the Rider’s answered Team Newcastle’s run with another of their own to take a lead that was quickly taken back by Newcastle behind some deep three’s from Brandon Federici to put them up 29-25 at the end of the first quarter. 

In the second quarter both teams maintained their fast pace and high octane offense from the first quarter, going back and forth and keeping the lead for Newcastle within 4 halfway through the second. But behind a flurry of three pointers and some bad turnovers for the Riders saw them fall behind by 15 going into halftime with a score of 56-41 for Newcastle

Coming out of halftime the Riders came out ready and instantly began to climb back into the game. Behind a solid team effort the Riders went on a 19-6 run to bring the game back within 2 with five minutes to go in the third quarter. But once again one run was answered with another and Team Newcastle bounced back to extend the gap between them and the Riders, taking a 77-70 lead going into the fourth.

The Fourth commenced and the Riders had to begin to chip away at Newcastle’s lead. They went on yet another run and stormed all the way back to tie the game 81-81 with 3:44 left to play in the game. Unfortunately for the Riders they wouldn’t score a point for the rest of the game and were put away by Newcastle losing 90-81. 

It was a good game, the Riders displayed a lot of heart, Harrison Gamble scored 23 while playing through an injury and everytime the Riders fell behind they managed to close the gap. Though it was a tough loss there is nothing to be ashamed of, the Riders never gave up and showed their heart. Well played boys.

Match Report written by Rob Field

Riders fall on the road to Giants

The Riders took their second defeat of the season in a thriller, falling to the Manchester Giants 85-83. 

Losing their MVP Geno Crandall to injury after the first minute, the Riders fought hard all game to keep it close. There was never double-digit points between the teams, as the game came down to the final possession. 

The final play came down to Patrick Whelan, who recorded his first career double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds. He drove strong to the hoop, but found no whistle through heavy contact before the final buzzer sounded. 

Riders captain Darien Nelson-Henry led them out the gate, scoring the first five points including an and-one play. The big man’s buckets led Leicester through the opening stages, as a flurry of fastbreaks gave them a 12-5 lead. 

In response to the hot Riders start, the Giants charged back into the tie led by GB international Will Saunders. The London born wing scored eight, including back to back threes to give Manchester the lead. 

The game swung back and forth for the remainder of the period. Marc Loving hit a three to tie the game at 20 by the end of the first, despite the Riders starting 1-8 from behind the arc. 

Whelan came out into the second quarter aggressively, making two three-point plays to retake the Riders lead. Despite this, they struggled to find their offensive rhythm, turning the ball over five times in the period. They hung in the game, courtesy of nine from Whelan, and Kimbal Mackenzie hit a floater at the buzzer to make it 41-38 at the half. 

Shots started to fall in the third, as Zach Jackson, Loving and Washington hit their first three-point attempts of the half to give the Riders a narrow lead. They carried their advantage all the way into the fourth, as Leicester locked in with their BBL best defence to hold Manchester to 15 in the third. 

But it was the Giants who came out the stronger of the sides in the final quarter, going on a 7-2 run. Whelan hit a three to tie the game up, setting up a tense finale with the score 70-70 with five minutes remaining.

As the clock ticked down, Nelson-Henry took over the game down low. He scored seven straight points, including a monster two-handed slam and a tough and-one finish. The Penn graduate’s play gave the Riders a five-point advantage, their biggest since the first quarter. 

The Giants came back at Leicester with a run of their own, with Jamell Anderson and Tyrik Armstrong making baskets to cut the game to two. Mackenzie responded with a layup on the other end, before Armstrong made a three to make the score 83-82 in the Riders’ favour with a minute left. 

Both teams locked in to keep it scoreless until the final five seconds. It was Saunders who came up with the goods for the hosts, draining a three to put the Giants up two. Whelan drove to the rim on the next play in an attempt to tie, but his shot was stuffed with heavy contact to end the game. 

“Things weren’t going our way, and we tried to fight through it and gave it our all but came up just short,” said Whelan post-game. 

His thoughts are on the next game, where the Riders will look to bounce back against the Surrey Scorchers. 

“We take every loss personally, that’s why we only have two of them in the league. We’ll come out hard and come out strong. We’ll be ready for the next one for sure.”

Preview: Riders at Giants

Manchester hosts retro night in this one, with classic kits, tunes and special guests set to feature! The Riders will be throwing it back to the early 2000s, sporting a blue and orange for the contest. 

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders sit top of the BBL Championship table with a 16-1 record, their best start to a season in their history. They enter this tie on a four-game winning streak, after beating the Cheshire Phoenix 80-59.

The victory in their previous game clinched a playoff spot for the Riders, but captain Dairen Nelson-Henry says his sights are set on bigger goals. 

“We’re not satisfied with just that. We want to go and win the BBL Championship, and go on and win the finals. It’s a nice little pat on the shoulder, but we want more.”

Nelson-Henry had three blocks in the game, acting as the anchor to the BBL’s best defence. No team has scored 80 against Leicester in the league this season, as they hold their opponents to 69 points a game.

On the other end of the floor, the Riders have the best offence in the league also, scoring 90.6 points per game. Patrick Whelan is leading the team with 14.8 points per game, the GB sniper shooting a scorching hot 50% from three-point range, the second-best percentage in the BBL.

A win in this one would see the Riders take another step towards retaining their league title, continuing their record-breaking season. 

Season So Far – Giants

A BBL Cup Final appearance against the Riders has been the highlight of the Giants’ season so far. In the league, they’ve enjoyed a successful campaign so far, sitting joint second in the table with a 10-8 record. 

They enter this game having won two on the bounce, beating the Newcastle Eagles 110-89 on the Sky Sports cameras. Geno Artison led the game with 23 points and eight rebounds in just 26 minutes, going 9-11 from the floor and 6-7 from three in an electric performance. 

The Giants are the fourth most productive offence in the BBL, scoring 87.7 points per game, and rank third in assists with 21.1. Tyrik Armstrong has led the way for Manchester this season, the Houston native scoring 15.8 points per game. 

Manchester will be keen to secure a win in this one to see themselves go clear in the tightly contested second spot in the BBL Championship table. 

One To Watch – Riders

A force in the paint and a leader in the dressing room, Riders captain Darien Nelson-Henry has been at his efficient best this season. Putting up 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, the Uni of Penn big man is ranked seventh in the BBL in field goal percentage with 61.5%. 

In college, Darien led Penn in points, rebounds and blocks in his senior year, his performance in the season earning him an All-Ivy selection. After gaining experience in Poland and Austria, he joined the Riders, and is competing in his third year in Leicester. 

Efficiency is what Nelson-Henry hangs his hat on, having averaged over 58% from the field in every one of his professional seasons. He gets his back to the basket often, using his supreme strength to fend off the best post defenders the BBL has to offer, and uses his touch at the rim to finish. 

Darien will look for another efficient night in this one, and steer the Riders to a fifth straight win. 

One To Watch – Giants

Former Rider Jamell Anderson is in the midst of one of the best seasons of his 11-year career. Known as an elite defender throughout his 10 years in the BBL, featuring on the Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year last season, Anderson is scoring 10.6 points on 51.6% from the field, playing great basketball on both ends. 

Anderson spent eight seasons at the Riders, winning eight pieces of silverware in the process. Standing at 6’7”, the Nottingham-born wing is a versatile defender, able to guard any position from anywhere on the court.

He is the epitome of a “three and D” player, pairing his elite defence with 39.5% three-point shooting this season. Anderson gives opponents continual headaches, with the Riders needing to be at the top of their game on offence to get the better of him. 

Previous Meeting

The sides last met in mid-Febuary, as the Riders emerged 86-69 victors in Leicester. Nelson-henry led the way for Leicester with 23 points, as an electric second quarter saw the Riders establish a lead. 

Armstrong had the best of the Giants’ efforts, putting up 15 points and eight assists. The Riders forced the Giants in 39% shooting, playing suffocating defence to secure the win. 

Riders defeat Phoenix to clinch playoff spot

The Riders improved to 16-1 at the top of the BBL Championship with a comfortable 80-59 win against the Cheshire Phoenix. With the Rocks losing their game against the Surrey Scorchers, the Riders clinched a playoff place with the win. 

A team effort saw the Riders take the win, as eight players scored eight or more points in the game. Geno Crandall and Patrick Whelan led the Riders with 13 each, with Crandall dishing five assists and stealing the ball twice. 

Leicester put on a defensive clinic with their BBL best defence to dominate the game. They continued their record of holding every opponent under 80 points this season, forcing the Phoenix into shooting 34% from the field. 

Despite his team’s loss Central Michigan graduate Larry Austin Jr. put on an excellent offensive effort for Cheshire, with 18 points and 10 rebounds marking his second double-double of the season, and eight steals matching his career-high.

The Riders got going in electric fashion, as Marc Loving’s chase-down block on Namon Wright followed up Whelan’s three to start the game. Despite the hot start, they were engaged in a closely fought battle in the first period. 

Both teams competed with tough defence in a low scoring quarter, which finished 14-11 in the Riders’ favour. Leicester established a narrow advantage with two fast-break scores, including an and-one play from Crandall, as they kept Cheshire scoreless for the final six minutes. 

Whelan started the second period as he did the first, draining a three to get the Riders underway. This time around, the three put the wind in Leicester’s sails as they built a lead with a 9-3 run in the first three minutes. A threaded bounce pass from Jubril Adekoya down low to Zach Jackson gave him an easy layup before he attacked the rim himself to make it 23-14. 

Fending off bursts of offence from the Phoenix, the Riders kept their opponents at arm’s length until the half. They had great success at the line in the first half, making all 13 of their attempts to lead 39-26 into the locker rooms. 

Crandall got the second half underway with a bang, jamming home a two-handed slam in traffic. The Riders continued to play stellar defence, holding Cheshire to just one field goal in the opening five minutes of the third.

The Phoenix suffered from poor free-throw shooting, going 1-5 from the line as Whelan nailed two more threes to make it a 20 point game. Crandall turned up the heat, showing off his MVP talents by running rings around the Phoenix defenders, his flashy handles getting him to the rim in style.

Rest in peace Eric

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of one of our former players Eric Robertson.

Out with being an outstanding basketball player and all his accomplishments on court, Eric was a stand out human being who’s light shone so brightly. He was a man of family and faith. His infectious smile and energy made him an amazing teammate, a pleasure to coach and a firm fan favourite.

The statistics will show that Eric was a part of the Riders family from 2016 to 2018, making 87 BBL appearances and winning six trophies (x2 Trophy, x2 League, x2 Playoff). He also enjoyed a successful BUCS career representing Loughborough University winning two BUCS golds. In truth his impact on the programme and the people he met transcended basketball and ‘E-Rob’ will forever be etched into our history and remain part of our Riders family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jerica, Luca James and all of Eric’s family and friends. We pray his faith is a comfort to you all at this sad time. Rest in peace Eric.

Preview: Riders v Phoenix

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders are clear at the top of the BBL Championship table, having lost just one of their 16 games this season. They are the BBL’s premier side on both ends of the floor, scoring 91.3 points per game while giving up less than 70. 

Shooting efficiency has been the key to the Riders’ success this year. They have the second-best field goal percentage in the league, and are the best three-point and free-throw shooters in the BBL. 

GB sniper Patrick Whelan has led the statistical charge for Leicester, earning himself his first international call-up. Shooting 48.8% from three, Whelan has scored a team-leading 15 points per game. 

Leicester enters this game on a three-game winning streak, and are in prime position to retain their league title. 

Season So Far – Phoenix

Despite a 0-4 start to the season leaving them propping up the BBL Championship table, the Phoenix have won seven of their last nine games to rocket up the league. They enter this tie in third place, in the midst of a five-game winning streak. 

The Phoenix crash the glass and dominate the paint, not allowing second-chance points by leading the league in defensive rebounding. British big man Michael Ochereobia is a top-five rebounder in the BBL with 8.6 per game, ranking third in offensive boards. 

Former Rider Namon Wright leads the points column for the Phoenix, putting up 16.6 points per game. It has been the best statistical season of his career, improving on his 15.8 points per game with Leicester in 2020. 

The Phoenix will look to ride their wave of momentum to best the league leaders, continuing their good run of form. A recent win against the Glasgow Rocks earned them a spot in the BBL Trophy final, highlighting the rise of the Phoenix organisation into a silverware contending outfit. 

One To Watch – Riders

After posting a colossal effort in his previous game against the Bristol Flyers, Zach Jackson enters this tie in hot shooting form. His 28 points led Leicester to a closely fought win, hitting a go-ahead three with less than a minute left. 

Seemingly everything Jackson put up hit net in the game, as he shot 57% from the field and went 3-4 from three. 28 points was his season-high effort, after putting up 26 on opening night. 

Jackson is an Omaha graduate, and has sporting prestige in his family. His mum was a national champion high jumper at Kansas State, the University of Jackson’s home city. He uses his athletic pedigree to rise high above the rim, making plays at the hoop to open up his three-point shot. 

He will look to continue his rhythm against the Phoneix, putting up another efficient effort. 

One To Watch – Phoenix

Taking the BBL’s spotlight with a monster posterising dunk in the Trophy semi-final, Larry Austin Jr has been integral to Cheshire’s success this season. The high-flying American two-guard is averaging 14 points and five rebounds a game, and has scored in double-digits in his last four.

Austin Jnr spent his college senior year at Central Michigan University, averaging 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and six assists. He was an elite force on both ends, being named to his conference’s All-Defensive team and on the All-Conference second team. 

Since college, he spent two seasons in Europe, taking his talents to Turkey then Portugal, before moving to the BBL for his third professional season. Austin Jnr electrifies the BBL with his rack attacking, getting the lion’s share of his points with athletic finishes at the hoop. 

Previous Meeting 

The teams last met in January, as the Riders put up a blowout win in Cheshire. The score was 76-59, the lowest points tally the Phoenix have managed all season. 

Whelan led the game with 16 points, shooting 62.5% from the floor and making two of his five threes. 

The Phoenix, led by Wright’s 15 points, shot just 19% from three against the suffocating Riders perimeter defence. 


Sunday’s game saw the Loughborough Riders take on the Leicester Warriors in a high scoring, high octane match. Both teams gave it their all as the Riders pulled through and won the game 101-94. 

Right from the tip it was evident it was going to be an intense game. Both teams were quick to push the ball in transition and attack the paint in their set offense. It was a prime example of the phrase “good defense, better offense” 

Each team took turns exchanging the lead, but it was the Riders who pulled ahead by stellar three point shooting to take a 1 point lead as both teams displayed their dynamic scoring as they entered the second quarter 33-32 for the Riders. 

In the Second the Riders managed to maintain a small lead over Leicester, not letting them get the lead once in the second corner, but Leicester was right there always within 2-3 points of the Riders. Both teams cut their rotation short knowing this was going to be a tight game.

The First half was all about tempo and being able to capitalize in transition. Though the Riders were outrebounded by the Warriors they forced 16 turnovers and was able to use those extra chances to gain an advantage come halftime where they led 55-53

Going into the third it was no time for the Riders to be comfortable, the Warriors were right at their heels and ready to pounce. The Riders remained calm, and opened the second half with a 12-0 run against the warriors. Holding them scoreless for the first 4 minutes of the third quarter. 

The Riders now held a modest 65-56 lead after the Warriors hit a three to end their drought, but the Riders continued to go basket for basket with them and maintain their lead. With an emphasis on team play and coordinated defense the Riders held a 78-63 point lead going into the fourth.

In the fourth the Warriors came out quick, needing to score quickly and gain momentum to try and have a chance to win the game. But the Rider’s defensive schemes held them back despite them still managing to close the gap from a 19 point deficit to only 10. 

Huge credit to the Riders for keeping a level head and remaining calm to hold their lead and ultimately win this game. The fourth was highlighted by brilliant perimeter shooting and smooth drives to the rim for the Riders along with their outstanding defense. Warriors’ Van Turner and Riders’ Evan Walshe both scored 26 points as the leading scores of the game. But with 5 Riders with double figures they won this game as a team 101-94.

The Riders proved themselves yet again on both ends of the court, leaving it all out on the court as they controlled the tempo of the game along and out playing the Warriors on the hustle stats. It was hard fought, and a well earned Victory for the Loughborough Riders. 

Match report written by Rob Field


Saturday saw a contested contest between the Loughborough Riders and Newcastle University. Both teams put on a gritty display of heart, but it was Newcastle that managed to get the edge and win 93-87. 

The first quarter was a battle between Newcastle’s ability to attack the paint and the Riders stellar perimeter shooting. Both teams took turns going back and forth at one another with a total 6 lead changes in the quarter. 

For the Riders, it was Milo Gordon who poured in 3 of his 7 3 point shots in the first quarter. For Newcastle it was a more balanced effort as they focused on attacking the paint and dishing to the perimeter for open 3 point shots. 

After a long back and forth quarter Newcastle sat on top with a 25-23 point lead, but the Riders were on their tail and didn’t plan on going quietly. Going into the second it again was high energy, quality basketball displayed by the two teams. Attacking each other inside, making their three’s and remaining competitive.

Big plays by Conroy Hayden and Greg Wild helped the Riders regain control of the game in the second. Now with a more balanced effort of attacking the rim and capitalizing from the perimeter the Riders were able to take a 4 point lead going into the half 44-40.

Coming into the second half both teams were looking to take an advantage and make a run to build a sizable lead. However both teams remained strong and continued their back and forth battle. Newcastle’s Brandon Federici and Riders Milo Gordon went at each other from beyond the 3 point arc knocking down jumper after jumper. 

But as the third quarter came to its end it was Newcastle who found themselves back on top behind the efforts from Brandon Federici and Ronald Blane. The Riders however were still in striking distance only trailing by four going into the fourth quarter. 65-61 for Newcastle, but it was still anyone’s game. 

The fourth quarter commenced and immediately the riders struck the first blow, a quick three from Dwayne Orija cut Newcastle’s lead to 1, but they managed to keep the Riders behind by 2-3 points until 6 minutes left in the quarter while the Riders stole back the lead. 

Both teams continued to go back and forth, trading layup for layup, three for three and both teams refusing to take their foot of the gas. But Newcastle had managed to pull ahead 6 points with 1:37 left to play. The Riders didn’t give up and hit two quick 3 pointers to once again tie with 49 seconds left to play.

Newcastle came down and hit a layup with 34 seconds to play, however the Rider’s couldn’t answer and were forced to foul to stop the clock. Newcastle went 4-4 from the free throw line in the final seconds of the game and managed to hold the riders off and win 93-87. 

A tough loss for the Riders but they continue to keep their chins up high and carry on after an honorable effort.

Match report written by Rob Field


Sunday’s Trophy Semi Final saw the Leicester Riders take on the Sevenoak Suns in a gritty, defensive minded game that was decided by both teams ability to defend the other. It was well fought but the Rider’s couldn’t overcome the Suns and lost the game 74-57.

The Game began on equal footing. It was evident that the Suns were focusing their defensive efforts on slowly down Oceana Hamilton as she was quickly doubled whenever she received the ball in the post. The Suns came out fast using off ball screens along with their size advantage to attack the rim and gain a quick advantage. 

The Riders managed to stay close and with a three to beat the first quarter buzzer by team captain Anna Lappenkuper the Riders found themselves only facing a 5 point deficit going into the second with a score of 18-13. 

The second quarter again opened as a defensive battle, both teams being scoreless in the first 2 minutes of play, but once the Suns got one to fall the others followed as they went on a quick 9 point run to pull further ahead of the Riders. The Riders had no answer on offense and found themselves struggling to score

Their defense was great and their offensive movement was beautiful but unfortunately the shots just weren’t falling for the riders as they fell behind 18, as the Suns led 39-21 going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime the Riders were looking to build momentum and begin to chip away at the lead but they were matched by the scoring of the Suns. The Suns perimeter shooting helped them to build their lead as they marched through the 3rd quarter. 

The Riders were attacking inside and the Suns were attacking on the perimeter which allowed them to build their lead even more to 25 points going into the fourth.

The Riders girls never go out without a fight and began to storm back into this game in the fourth, quick back to back three’s for Hannah Robb. The Riders took this spark of momentum and pushed the game all the way back to a 12 point deficit. They left it all out on the floor and after a Suns timeout they came back and began to execute once again on offense and retake the game.

Through a barrage of perimeter shooting from the Suns the Riders were put away. Losing the game 74-57. However the girls should keep their head high, it was a tough match and well fought. The Riders forced more turnovers, had more points off turnovers and more second chance points but the shots just weren’t falling, but these girls always come back.

Watch the Riders in action on Sunday 4pm as they take on Oaklands Wolves. Buy Tickets Here

Match report written by Rob Field

Riders edge Flyers on the road

The Riders won a battle in Bristol, emerging 78-75 victors against the Flyers. Zach Jackson put on a show throughout, scoring 28 points and leading Leicester down the stretch. 

The game came down to the final shot after Jackson’s three put the Riders up one with less than a minute remaining. He and Geno Crandall made their late free throws, before Trejon Jacob’s three at the buzzer fell short to secure a victory. 

It would have been Jacob’s 20th points of the evening, but he finished with 17, accompanied by six rebounds and three assists in a solid display. However, despite the FIU guard’s play, the Riders’ BBL best defence maintained their record of holding every opponent to under 20 in the league. 

The win makes the Riders record 15-1, their best start to a league season in franchise history. They sit 10 points clear at the top of the BBL Championship table, in good shape to retain their title. 

Jackson got the Riders underway with eight quick points as they bolted out to an early advantage. The Kansas born sniper hit his first two threes to get Leicester off to a hot start. 

“I got going with a couple of threes, and when we were struggling from the field I was able to hit some shots.” said Jackson after the game. “If you’re the one hitting shots, you’ve got to keep shooting. That’s what the team need you to do.”

Crandall made the plays of the quarter, dishing a one-handed bullet pass through the teeth of the Bristol defence, finding a cutting Loving to give Leicester a 14-8 lead. He followed the play with a colossal chase-down block on Marcus Evans to silence the home crowd.

The Flyers fought back into the game’s opening stages, and Jacob’s smooth stepback three made it a one-point game with four minutes left in the first. Jacob tied the game up with an and-one play a minute later, making it all to play for after a quarter. 

The game remained tied for the first half of a low-scoring second quarter, as two of the top three BBL defences locked in. 10 points were scored between the sides in the first four minutes of the period before the offences clicked into gear.

A Bristol run saw the Riders down seven going into halftime, led by two dunks from Bates graduate Malcolm Delpeche. But out of the locker rooms, the Riders charged back into the game with a 6-2 run to cut the game to a possession. 

Leicester attacked the hoop in the third, scoring 10 points in the paint led by six from Jackson. But it was a deep shot that tied the game, with Kimbal Mackenzie draining a corner three to make it 57-57 with 1:30 left in the third. 

A series of Flyers free-throws put them up three entering the fourth, the game in the balance. 

After a layup from Adekoya cut the Riders’ deficit to one, Conner Washington nailed a three off the dribble to claim Leicester’s first lead since the second quarter. 

Jacob made tough shots down the stretch to rebuild a Flyers lead. His off-balance contested three made it 73-66 with 3:38 remaining, forcing a Riders timeout. 

Out of the timeout, Jackson pulled up from midrange before making an and-one on the fastbreak in the next play, stealing back momentum. His five point outburst cut the game to two. 

At the line with a minute remaining, Evans missed both to give the Riders a chance to take the lead. Leicester took the opportunity, as Jackson drained a step-back three to put the Riders up 74-73. 

They stood firm on the next defensive possession, forcing the Flyers into a deep three which was missed, before Jackson was put to the line, making both. With a three point deficit, the Flyers drove to the rim to cut the game to one, Jacob throwing down a two-handed slam. 

It was Crandall to be sent to the line next, as he hit both of his foul shots to rebuild the Riders’ three point lead. The final shot came down to Jacob, whose three fell short to seal a hard-fought Leicester win. 

“We have to find ways to win when things aren’t going our way,” said Rob Paternostro post-game. “I think we’ve done that this season, and that’s why we’re 15-1.”

The Riders return on Friday, hosting the Cheshire Phoenix. A win would extend their lead atop the BBL Championship table, and bring their winning streak to four. 

Basketball Stands Together

BBL and WBBL clubs unite to show solidarity in support of Ukraine.

The British Basketball League (BBL) and its 23 Men’s and Women’s clubs will stand together over the next five days in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, showing support at all matches from March 4th-9th.

The thoughts of the British Basketball community are with all of those who have been impacted by the Russian’s invasion of the Ukraine and we unequivocally reject Russia’s actions and wish to show our support for the people of Ukraine

As such the BBL’s Men’s and Women’s teams will all take part in 24 seconds of reflection and a show of solidarity before tip-off at each game between March 4th-9th. 

Clubs will also show the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag with the wording ‘Basketball Stands Together’ on screens at their arenas.

This message of solidarity will also be visible to the BBL’s global fanbase across our digital channels, as logos and profiles on those platforms will change to represent the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Retro Night announced!

Retro kits, top tunes and special guests are all in store for the Leicester Riders & Manchester Giants remaining league games against each other.

Leicester’s trip to Belle Vue, Manchester will have a twist on Sunday 13 March 2022 with both teams playing in a version of a RETRO kit from years’ gone by (tickets available here).

Both teams will also be in RETRO kits for the return fixture in Leicester on Friday 8 April 2022 (tickets available here).

Riders have played a number of games in special kits before having worn a St Patrick’s Day, Diwali and Neon jersey in years’ gone by. This time around Riders will wear a blue and orange number throwing this back to early 2000s!

Watch out for more announcements and the kit reveals soon!