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Basketball: London City Royals coach in call to arms

PUBLISHED: 16:46 19 November 2018

London City Royals coach Jay Williams

London City Royals coach Jay Williams

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London City Royals coach Jay Williams has called for his men to hammer Newcastle Eagles into the ground in a no-nonsense bid for revenge on Saturday.

The Royals suffered a 50-point drubbing in the north-east last month when Williams readily admits the Eagles “handed it to us”.

But their latest British Basketball League showdown sees London’s newest pro basketball team in good nick having felt robbed of victory last time out when their date with Leicester Riders was called off because of a leaky roof with the home side 51-45 ahead inside 14 minutes of the final hooter.

A fortnight later and it’s all systems go at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, where second-placed Newcastle will arrive 24 hours after taking on league leaders London Lions.

And boxing fan Williams is certainly looking for a fast start, saying: “We’ve got to do some damage early on and take the game to them first and fast.

“Nor do we not want to be the team stuck against the ropes in the later stages off the game. No, I want to see us jabbing and moving from the centre of the ring.

“They beat us by 50 points but it actually doesn’t matter whether the margin of victory is 50 or just one point. Our aim is to win in front of what I hope is another big crowd – and I’m confident we can do it this time.”

The Royals will be at near full strength with only long term injury victim Ashley Hamilton (wrist) still ruled out at this stage.

Shooting guards Ed Lucas and AJ Roberts and centre Will Neighbour should be able to shrug off various aches and niggles, although Williams warns: “It only takes one bad move to reset the clock. But we are in pretty good health and in good nick. This game is definitely in our heads and in our minds going back to when we lost to them.

“We’ve got to take it slightly personal – no one wants to get beat by 50 points and they really cut us deep at their place.

“The fact is we must play twice as hard as we did last time and that’s what we are concentrating on.”

Vibrant Great Britain guard Jules Dang Akodo, signed from German outfit Fraport Skyliners, has been a terrific addition to the Royals’ roster and Williams expects the Brixton-born player to keep a good vibe going.

“Jules brings a lot of European experience with him and that’s going to help us a lot,” he added.

The Royals are in mid-table with three wins from six completed league games – but five of those have been away from Crystal Palace.

There is certainly no slacking with the players training five days a week in their bid to climb the table.

Two tough training sessions on Monday and Tuesday are followed by skills sessions on Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday devoted to the upcoming weekend game.

“We’re ready to go,” promised Williams. “On Saturday against Newcastle we’re looking to replicate both the crowd and the performance we enjoyed against Leicester.”

For tickets to Saturday’s game (7.30pm start) go to londoncityroyals.com/tickets.

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