BBL Cup Preview – Bristol Flyers

The South-West derby is coming to the Pavilions this weekend as your Plymouth Raiders take on the Bristol Flyers for the second time in ten days.  Having tasted defeat in the reverse fixture, the Raiders will be looking to exact revenge on their west coast rivals by dumping them out of the BBL Cup this time around.

The BBL cup is a straight knockout competition, meaning only the winner of this game will advance.  The top four teams from the previous season all receive a bye into the Quarter Finals, with the remaining eight teams competing in the First Round. Winners from the first round then face the four bye teams, with ties assigned by an open draw.

It has been an undeniably difficult 10 days for the Raiders as they suffered defeats in both of their games last weekend.   80-70 on the road to this weekend’s visitors the Bristol Flyers and 85-103 at the Pavilions to the formidable Newcastle Eagles respectively.    

The Raiders will be desperate to reverse the outcome of their last game against the Flyers and to do so they must keep a watchful eye on Flyers guard, Justin Gray.  Gray looked impressive in the Flyers victory over the Raiders and scored a number of crucial three pointers.  Gray finished the game with an efficient 24 points and 72.7% shooting from the floor. 

For Plymouth, the Raiders will be looking to their most experienced players to lead the way.  Donte Nicholas, Joonas Jarvelainen and Devontavius Payne will all have to be at their best to halt the Flyers, who are on a four game winning streak.  

Payne showed flashes of brilliance last week against the Flyers and looks to have settled into the team with ease.  Nicholas and Jarvelainen stood out in what was an ultimately disappointing team performance against the Eagles.  All three have the ability to single-handedly disrupt and destroy teams and if they play to their potential, it will be a much-needed lift the entire Raiders squad. 

Another aspect that can undoubtedly lift a team is a passionate and supportive fan base.  Last week in Bristol, a sell-out crowd carried their team to victory; let’s make sure the whole city gets behind the Raiders this weekend as they look to bring home a W in this first round of the prestigious BBL Cup.  

It’s a 15:00 tip off this Sunday and you can get your ticket at https://www.plymouthraiders.com/tickets/

Josh Lines