Weekend Preview – Sheffield Sharks

The Raiders face the high flying Sheffield Sharks this Sunday off the back of their crushing Friday night BBL Cup Quarterfinal defeat to the Glasgow Rocks. 

Josh Wilcher suffered a serious-looking shoulder injury against the Rocks and is questionable to return for Sunday’s game.  Wilcher joins the growing list of injuries that seem to be plaguing the Raiders squad of late, with Joonas Järveläinen (thumb) and Declan Soukup (ankle) also out of action. Joonas ‘the hitman’ warmed up in his game uniform on Friday night, which would suggest his return is imminent despite the appearance of a thumb brace. 

With the injury list growing, it is imperative that the Raiders utilise their full squad as they face their second home game in just 48 hours.  Denzel Ubiaro has capitalised on his recent opportunities from the bench, with a strong display Vs the Manchester Giants last week.  The reliable three-peat attack of Donte Nicholas, Devontavious Payne and Josh Wilcher has been in devastatingly good form recently and each will play an equally instrumental role against the Sharks on Sunday, if fit.  

The Sharks have been impressive this season and currently lie 3rd in the BBL with a winning record of 6-3.  Their recent form has also been outstanding, winning all five of their last five games.  The Sharks success is based around a strong defensive foundation; keeping their opponents under 70 points on multiple occasions this season.  

Forward/Guard, Dirk Williams has served as the offensive threat for the Sharks with 53 field goals, 22 of which have been from downtown.  Williams, along with Christopher Alexander are the two players to watch out for this weekend.    

An apathetic opening quarter and lack of defensive urgency were key aspects in the Raiders devastating cup loss to the Rocks and head coach, Paul James will be demanding a positive reaction from his players come Sunday.  The high press defence had been developing exceptionally well under the tutelage of James and will need to resurface if the Raiders are to emerge victorious.  A Plymouth win against the highly touted Sharks could set quite a marker for this young squad as they look to climb the league table.  

Can the Raiders snatch victory from the jaws of defeat or will they simply become shark feed in the murky mid-table waters of the BBL Championship?  Find out this Sunday at the Pavilions as the Raiders take on the Sharks! Tip-off is at 3.00 pm and tickets are available at https://www.plymouthraiders.com/tickets/.

If you aren’t able to make the game then you can follow the fox on all of our usual platforms.  

Josh Lines