Match Report: Rockets Men 81-75 Reading Rockets

City of Birmingham Rockets won 81-75 against Reading Rockets in Nechells.

The Rockets derby looked to be an exciting encounter as your Birmingham Rockets looked for revenge after a close 99-92 loss in Reading last weekend.

COB went into the fixture on a record of 4-10 and sat in eleventh in the NBL Division One standings. Reading arrived in Nechells with a record of 9-3 and sat fifth in the division. A win for COB would see them climb up to tenth and level with ninth-placed Worthing.

A starting five of Jayden Grewal, Jordan Dawes, Martyn Gayle, Sam Toluwase and Orlan Jackman took to the court.

The first quarter started strongly for COB with Sam Toluwase driving to the basket and drawing an early foul.

Coach Rodrigues’ side knew that they’d have to be efficient from beyond the arc. Martyn Gayle and Jayden Grewal started off strongly, both hitting shots from three point range.

COB started the stronger of the two sides and a Sam Toluwase three kept our momentum. Midway through the quarter we led 12-4 and we looked strong and organized on both ends.

Reading fought their way back into the game, but COB had an answer for everything.

Ron Oberia halted any sign of a comeback with a steal and a signature driving dunk to lift the home crowd.

Sam Toluwase looked strong in the post; his spin moves caused the Reading defense problems all night.

Mid-range jumpers from Grewal and Karl Teesdale gave COB a narrow 4 point lead as the quarter ended with COB leading 24-20.

The second quarter started with a three form Ron Oberia as we looked to carry over the momentum.

It was a quiet opening few minutes for both sides as neither side could convert their shots.

Reading had an offensive surge and tied the game midway through the quarter at 27-27.

COB responded with a surge of their own, Martyn Gayle hit a long range three followed by a Jayden Grewal mid-range jumper and an “and-one” play from Orlan Jackman to lead the game 35-29.

COB drew fouls really well and looked organised on defense as we looked to keep our lead intact.

The Nechells crowd was once again lifted off their feet, this time by Sam Toluwase as he received the ball in the paint and rose above the Reading defense to slam the ball down.

This was followed by a Martyn Gayle three as Rockets took a commanding 9 point lead 42-33.

Toluwase continued to cause problems as he added to COB’s lead with a free throw and a layup.

The closing stages of the quarter saw Coach Nuno’s side display their zone defense making it so difficult for Reading to score.

COB went into half time leading 45-38.

The third started with Orlan Jackman laying one in off the glass as COB looked to start the second half as strongly as the first. Reading looked to close the gap after half time as they hunted down COB’s slim lead.

They tied the game 49-49 with 5 mins to go. COB eased the tension as Sam Toluwase sunk a long range three and Jackman stole the ball on the following Reading possession.

Jackman found a pass through three Reading bodies to assist Martyn Gayle for a layup.

Jackman and Toluwase led the COB charge as they showed strength on the inside. Jackman had success on the second chance points and Toluwase took flight for a two handed dunk.

Coach Nuno’s side showed hustle and pressed Reading into turnovers towards the end of the third.

The third ended with COB having a slim 3 point lead to defend as we went into the final ten minutes leading 58,55.

The final quarter started with Grewal assisting Jackman and then driving to the basket to layup through traffic.

Nathan Ramsdale-Owen came off the bench and hit a crucial three to keep our lead.

We took it to Reading in the final five minutes as Jackman and Grewal continued to link up well to continue our momentum.

The final few minutes in Nechells was very tense as we fought to keep our much earned lead. Grewal stepped up to the free throw line and handled the pressure to earn vital points.

We saw the game out in the closing seconds and earned a much deserved 81-75 win.

It was a fantastic team performance from Coach Nuno’s side with a standout double double from Orlan Jackman as he put up 18 points with 13 rebounds.

City of Birmingham won the Rockets derby and travel to Loughborough looking to continue their newfound momentum into the final games of the season.