January 6/7 preview
It’s a busy week for Oaklands Wolves as they return from the Christmas break with all four senior teams in action and seven home games at the Hatfield Road venue.
Wolves’ men will continue their bid to stay in NBL Division Two when they host Baltic London Stars, tip-off 6pm with tickets available on the door or bookable here
It’s a key game for both teams as they head into the New Year in the relegation zone, and Wolves will look for revenge after Stars finished strongly to win 95-79 at the start of the season. La’Quarne Sayers poured in 30 points in that loss in Dagenham, and currently averages 22 points per game to lead a young Wolves team.
Meanwhile, Wolves’ WBBL side will look to progress in the WBBL Trophy when they make the long trip to Durham Wildcats for a first round tie.
Despite last week’s loss against Sheffield Hatters Lee Ryan’s went into the New Year in joint seventh place with a 3-5 record, while Wildcats are ninth with two wins from six games. The winner of the tie faces a trip to Sheffield in the last eight, with a potential home semi-final on offer.
Both of Wolves’ senior NBL academy teams are at home on Sunday, with the women hosting London Thunder at 2.30pm and the men Bedford Thunder at 5pm – with admission free for both games.
Claire Abbott’s women’s team went into the halfway stage of the season sitting fourth in Division Two South with a 6-5 record. The competition’s youngest team, who contain six of last season’s U-16 lineup, will look to repeat their 54-44 victory when the sides met in the capital on the opening day of the season.
The men’s Division Three side have faced a tougher season and are ninth in the East Division with one win from nine games, and will aim for revenge for a 70-68 loss against a Bedford side who are one place ahead of them with a 2-7 record.
Most of Wolves’ junior sides also return to action, with the U-13 boys first in action at Oaklands on Saturday when they face U-14 Conference East leaders Cambridge Cats Black at 11am.
Geroge Walker’s depleted team lost 65-26 when the teams met in early October, and having gone into Christmas in fifth place with a 4-6 record the young Wolves will look for a closer game this week.
The U-14 boys will aim to strengthen their play-off hopes when they host fellow challengers London Legends at 1pm. Ibrahim Gariba’s team are tied with Legends in second place with both teams having eight wins, and Wolves will aim to avenge their narrow 85-80 loss when they visited the capital earlier in the campaign.
The junior action at Oaklands on Saturday concludes at 3pm with the first of a double header as Wolves U-16s face Baltic London Stars II in a key relegation battle Wolves won 59-41 when they visited Goresbrook Leisure Centre earlier in the campaign and a repeat would go a long way to avoiding the drop.
Having broken their duck for the season with a win against Reading Rockets in December, Jorjah Smith’s U-16 girls will aim to repeat the trick at midday on Sunday when they host a London Elite side containing several former Wolves players.
Two of Oaklands’ younger sides are on the road this weekend, and stand-in coach Sayers will face a tough test as he takes the U-14 girls to Southern Premier title contenders Richmond Knights. Meanwhile there’s a battle of the Wolves in Bury St Edmunds as Oaklands U-12s look to maintain their title push with a game against a West Suffolk side they defeated 96-19 in October.
Finally the U-12 girls travel to Kent Crusaders where they will look to repeat their 106-40 home victory when the sides met at Oaklands.