Thunder set for league and trophy clashes

James Brame
James Brame

WORTHING Thunder are looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s narrow home defeat in both a league clash and National Trophy quarter-final tie this weekend.

Saturday sees Thunder as the EBL game of the week as they travel to Leicester Warriors, before taking to the road again on Sunday as they face London Leopards for a place in the semi-final of the trophy.

The club will once again look to James Brame as their coach, due to the absence of Gary Smith who is still not well enough to lead the side on doctor’s orders.

Brame, however, says though that the veteran play caller is still 50/50 going into this weekend, “I wouldn’t say it’s definite at the moment, but it’s looking likely that I will be coaching the guys this weekend,” he admitted.

“Gary has told me that he hopes to get better in time for this week and I would never count him out, so, like we’ve done for the last month-or-so, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Brame has now settled into his temporary coaching role, but admits that this will be the toughest test so far this season.

He said: “Leicester are an improving side that can beat anybody on any given day, they all look out for each other and play great team basketball, so we have to be at our best.

“Our position in the league is a lot more challenging now. That’s our third loss and remembering from past EBL experiences, you can’t afford to lose three-or-more games, otherwise it can be even more of an uphill struggle.

“Then you got London Leopards, who have always been a tough side to beat, especially at home. It’s added pressure due to it being a Trophy game, so we just have to play our game this weekend, and not let last week’s disappointment bother us.”

Worthing will be without Liam Mitchell for Saturday’s game at Leicester due to a minor injury sustained on Saturday against Brixton, but Brame hopes he will be back for Sunday’s Trophy quarter-final against London Leopards.

Sunday’s clash at the Brentwood Centre to London Leopards will not affect the league standings, but will send the winner one step closer to the National Trophy final and a piece of EBL silverware.

One player who stood out last week was Vinnie Darpino, and he knows the danger that London Leopards bring.

He added: “Sunday’s game will be tough, I’ve heard that Leopards are a well organised side, and we will have our work cut for us, no doubt.”

Saturday’s game against Leicester tips-off at 3pm with Sunday’s match starting at 4pm.