WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club coach Daniel Hildreth is hoping for another big crowd on Saturday to help spur his side into the National Trophy final.
A crowd of more than 800 packed in to Worthing Leisure Centre last Saturday for Thunder’s 85-80 win over Medway Park Crusaders in EBL Division 1.
Hildreth is hopeful of a similar-sized crowd when Manchester Magic are the visitors in a Trophy competition, which Thunder lost their opening three games in. Worthing’s hopes of silverware in the competition appeared slim after defeats to Reading Rockets, Manchester Magic and Tees Valley.
However, wins then followed against Essex Leopards, Bradford Dragons and a walk-over success against Medway Park, which secured fourth place in Pool 1 and a place in the quarter-finals.
Thunder produced their best victory of the season to win 89-58 at Leeds Carnegie in the last eight to set up Saturday’s home semi-final clash, which tips-off at 7.30pm.
Hildreth said: “Hopefully, we’ll get another big crowd through the door on Saturday. I can’t thank them enough for their support in the game against Medway, it was fantastic.
“We were really excited about coming home to play in front of our home fans and the reason I felt a tad disappointed after the game was because the show we put on last week in Leeds, we wanted to replicate that for our own fans.
“I hope we get an incredible crowd again this Saturday, to really encourage us and to spur us on to a victory.”
Hildreth feels Thunder and Magic are evenly matched as they have one win apiece from their matches so far this season. He said: “I think we’re very evenly matched. Obviously, we played them without Terrell Bell and we won our first game, for a long time, up in Manchester. Again, they’re a very well drilled team, they’re very athletic and they’re very quick and high intensity, so we need to make sure we cope with that.
“With our talent level, if we’re able to compete, match and even better the opposition’s intensity, then I think that we’ll be okay.
“Last year, to get to the play-off final was way over and above anybody’s expectations. We’ve got a four-to-five-year programme in place, so any silverware or potential silverware is a huge bonus for us. The club’s moving in the right direction off the court, the club’s moving in the right direction on the court and to me, personally, and for the guys and for the club, to get to a final in itself would be a huge achievement.
“Once you get to a final, you don’t know. It’s the luck of the ball and it’s the luck of the bounce.”