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Basketball: BBL ‘acid test’ for London City Royals

PUBLISHED: 15:55 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:55 04 October 2018

London City Royals are new to the BBL this season

London City Royals are new to the BBL this season

Archant

Coach Jay Williams insists Friday’s trip to Newcastle will be the London City Royals first ‘acid test’ in their debut British Basketball League season.

The newly-formed Royals stand top of the table with six points after three straight wins with Esh Group Eagles Newcastle lying second with four points from their two games.

And Williams, delighted with comeback victories over the Surrey Scorchers and the Manchester Giants last weekend, said:

“This is the tough challenge I am really looking forward to, the real test to see where we stand.

“We have done very well so far but are travelling to the former league and play-off champions who enjoy a big fan base.”

The Royals beat the Surrey Scorchers 91-85 on their home debut at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre last Saturday and followed up with a 92-86 triumph at the Manchester Giants on Sunday.

Newcastle, meanwhile, have so far beaten Radisson Red Glasgow Rocks 100-85 and Cheshire Phoenix 70-65.

Williams was delighted his team kicked off their home season with a thrilling victory but said: “We rather under-estimated the Scorchers as they’d played the night before and it tuned out to be a very hard-fought victory.

“We’re almost a full fighting force. On Sunday we showed how a team of seasoned professionals can build on momentum and fight back.

“Overall, with the Bristol Flyers beaten as well, if you’d said a week ago we would be top of the table at 3-0, I would have thought ‘maybe’.

“So I am very happy with our progress so far.”

Star man Matt Bryan-Amaning averages 25.67 points per game with 77 so far, backed up by Will Neighbour and Angolan international Ed Lucas with 36.

Shooting guard AJ Roberts has been carrying a groin injury but should be fit for Newcastle as will US collegiate duo Dayshonee Much and Lamar Wofford-Humphrey, who both appeared twice last weekend having only flown into the country 48 hours before the Scorchers game.

“The new guys did very well considering they had around one and a half hours practise with us,” said Williams.

“Lamar brings inside toughness, a low post presence, he is a capable three-point shooter and pounces on rebounds fairly well, too.

“Dayshonee is a real athlete, a good defender who is happy to shoot.

“To play back to-back games was a tough ask considering their travel, the time difference and limited practise so soon after stepping off a plane.”

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