BBL fixtures bring tough start for Lions

LIONS will begin the new British Basketball League season with a double-header against one of their bogey teams from last season – Leicester Riders.

The two sides will clash twice in the BBL Trophy southern section group 1, with the first game to be played in Leicester on Saturday, October 1, before the east Midlands side visit the Lions Arena on Friday, October 7.

Essex Pirates are the other team in that group – the winner of which progresses to the semi-final stage of the competition where they will meet one of the winners of the other three regional sections.

Lions’ first Championship game brings a long trip to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday, October 23, and their first league home game comes against BBL new boys Durham Wildcats at Winterhill on Friday, October 28.

And just in case Lions hadn’t already seen enough of Leicester Riders – a team they lost to three times last season – the two sides have also been draw together in the first round of the BBL Cup, with Lions heading up the M1 on Saturday, October 29.

Lions will be desperate to put the disappointment of last season behind them as quick as possible, starting with not repeating their early BBL Trophy exit of last season.

Making the end of season Play-offs is also a must, and coach Mike New will hope Lions’ place in the top eight is confirmed by the time they go to Durham Wildcats on Saturday, April 21 – their last scheduled Championship game of the season.

The north east side had their place in the top flight of British basketball confirmed earlier this summer after being picked to replace Worthing Thunder who resigned from the league. Wildcats had won two English Basketball League promotions in three season before taking their place in National Division One last term.

But it’s last season’s Championship, Play-off and Trophy winners Mersey Tigers who remain the team to beat.