Friday 09 October 2009 (7.30pm) @ EIS, Sheffield. This Friday evening is the first time that the Sheffield Sharks and the Cheshire Jets do battle this season, with the Sharks coming into the game off the back of a winning weekend. After opening night defeat at the hands of the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders, the Sharks turned up the pressure on their opponents last weekend, as they beat Worthing Thunder 84-78, and Worcester Wolves 100-71 on consecutive nights. They also won the last meeting between the two sides, as they beat the Jets at the Birchwood Centre, Warrington, on 5th April 2009, the score line reading 81-77 to the Jets. This all gives Sharks player-coach Atiba Lyons confidence going into this weekend:
'I feel good going into this weekend. We got a chance to play against Cheshire in preseason and they are a very solid team that have a lot of continuity from last season' he said. Lyons was also satisfied with the way his team bounced back last weekend, adding: 'I felt we played well as a team. We were able to build leads and maintain them, and we showed heart and poise down the stretch of both games.'
The Jets have had mixed fortunes so far this season. They too experienced opening night disappointment as they lost to the Newcastle Eagles 85-74 on the opening night of the season, but new signing Paul Peterson excited fans with a buzzer beating long ranger to snatch a win against the Marshall MK Lions two days later. What is more, they took the scalp of the Worcester Wolves last Sunday, winning comfortably at 96-83. Jets play caller Paul Smith, is buoyant ahead of the game, and expects Sheffield to pose a tough test for his team. He said: 'We were pleased with the win against the Wolves, and we were pleased with the way we finished the game. I've seen Sharks a couple of times and they are playing very good team basketball at both ends of the floor at the moment. It will be a very tough game for us.'
Smith was quick to single out American Point Guard Ryan Patton, who returned to Sheffield from Worthing Thunder this summer, as a key piece of the Sharks jigsaw. He added: 'I think Patton has been a great addition for them. He is a true point guard and runs the team very well. They have a lot of threats, but he keeps them together like a good point guard should.'