There's a double helping of action at Oaklands on Saturday as both of Wolves' senior sides face important games.
Wolves women open their Women's British Basketball League Cup campaign against Cardiff Archers at 1.30pm before the men host neighbours Hemel Storm in NBL Division One at 4.30pm. Both games will be streamed live, with details of the coverage to follow.
The opening game will see both Wolves and Archers in action for the first time this season, although Oaklands did receive a Covid-induced 20-0 win against BA London Lions in their opening group game. The sides both won at home when they faced each other last season, both played over the same weekend, with Wolves gaining revenge for a 63-51 defeat in Wales with a 74-65 victory the following afternoon. Wolves coach Lee Ryan can't wat to finally get back on the court after a nine month break: "It's been a long time coming but we are all looking forward to playing our first competitive game of the season" he said.
"No one believes this year is going to be straight forward, so we will embrace every game we get. The players know how lucky they are to be playing and will be giving everything in our typical Wolves way.
"I expect an uptempo game against Cardiff, Hatch is a nice addition to their group so it will be a great test of what we are about." Oaklands are without Merissa Quick and Amari Carter for this weekends game as both are self isolating."
Thomas Baker's men's side will be playing their fourth game of the season, but have been out of action for three weeks. Wolves and Storm have been rivals stretching back to their days as Leopards and West Herts Warriors, and home coach Thomas Baker is looking forward to the game against a side based just nine miles away: "It is great to be able to play again over our period of isolation." he said.
"Playing Hemel is never easy and they played extremely well last week against Reading, particularly in that blistering first quarter. We must be locked in, ready to compete from the get go, playing together and staying connected to our principles, most importantly we have to go out an enjoy being able to play this game we love as who knows how many times this season we will get to do this."
The teams have already met this season and a young Wolves’ team produce a fighting performance before being blown away in the final quarter as Storm won 107-80 in an L Lynch Trophy tie. Evan Walshe – who led the Wolves with 33 points, five rebounds and three assists – tied the score at 67 with a trey, but from then on it was all Storm as they finished the game on a 40-13 tear.
Storm recorded a big win against an injury-hit Leopards at the Brentwood Centre last season before surviving a fourth period fight-back to win 99-93 in the return.
Storm finished second in the L Lynch Trophy Group B with a 2-1 record, and opened their Division One campaign with an impressive 112-103 victory at Reading.