City of Birmingham Rockets’ Men saw their National Cup campaign come to an end after a disappointing defeat at Loddon Valley on Sunday afternoon.
Rockets were still without top scorer and 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Orlan Jackman and with injuries also sidelining a number of the squad, Coach Rodrigues was left with a limited roster against a Reading side who, just like ourselves, are yet to taste defeat in the NBL Division One regular season.
It was always going to be a test for our Rockets against an established Division One outfit in Reading, and after an even start in the opening minutes, our hosts showcased their experience and tenacity to race away to a double-digit advantage after putting together a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter.
Another run just before half time saw Reading establish a fourteen-point advantage by the interval with Rockets having it all to do to find a way back into the contest.
The distance on the scoreboard slowly increased as our limited bench, compounded by foul trouble on top of the aforementioned injuries, handed Reading all they needed to widen the margin.
And so, our National Cup adventure comes to an end for the 2023/24 season – with full focus now returning to the league this Saturday against Loughborough Riders.
With Rockets still undefeated in league competition (3-0), we have an opportunity to go to the top of the league standings with a victory; but Loughborough will undoubtedly prove a formidable opponent after enjoying a strong start to the season (3-1).
Full report to follow…