Basketball

Sunderland are looking to end a disappointing 2016 on a high.

Sunderland’s basketball first team will be looking to end 2016 on a high when they play Newcastle 2nd’s away from home this week.

Both Sunderland and their opponents Newcastle have already played half of their 10 games in the league season, but this match will be the last one either plays in 2016 and for a two month period. Virtually all BUCS sports take an extended break through the festive and new year period before resuming action at the start of February.

Sunderland have had a pretty poor 2016 after finishing dead last in the Northern 2B division, therefore being relegated to the Northern 3B league they’ve been playing in this season. Their five games at a lower level have allowed Brian Calder’s team to regain some confidence they no doubt lost this season and in turn this has led to some more balanced results.

However, despite being perhaps touted as favourites in this division, Sunderland have not found it easy and actually have a losing record after two wins and three defeats in five games. Although this inconsistent form does see them sit second in the league table with six points on the board.

Sunderland were able to grab just their second league win of the campaign last time out, as they dominated Hull 1sts at CitySpace to run out 96-72 winners. The result allowed them to leapfrog Hull in the league, with the Yorkshire side being one of three teams on six points alongside Sunderland. The other two, York 1sts and Leeds Beckett 2nds have played fewer games than Sunderland so far.

Opponent’s view

After beating Sunderland in a dramatic season opener at CitySpace 68-64, it’s been real tough going for Newcastle 2nd’s since. Newcastle went out of the northern conference cup at the earliest point and they’ve lost four straight games in the league to leave them bottom of the Northern 3B table at the halfway stage of the 2016/17 season.

It would be unfair to call Newcastle a bad team though, as they’ve been really unfortunate this season in terms of losing tight games. The Tynesiders cup exit at the hands of Manchester 2nds was only by a four point margin and three of their four losses in the league have been by a two point deficit twice and one game by a single point difference.

Last time out

As already mentioned, the two sides met in their season opener back in early October with Newcastle running out 68-64 winners on Wearside. Despite a great effort from Sunderland point guard Robert T Robinson in top scoring with 26 points, the team came up just a little bit short at home and will no doubt be looking for revenge on the other side of the river Tyne on Wednesday night.

You can see Sunderland’s final game of 2016 tonight at Sports Centre sports hall, Claremont Road, with tip off at 8.00pm.