Basketball: Sharks offer up a stern test of Force’s evolution

Leeds Force coach Danny Nelson.
Leeds Force coach Danny Nelson.
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Leeds Force hope to ignite their 2017/18 British Basketball League campaign tonight as Danny Nelson’s side look to snatch a first win of the season against fierce rivals Sheffield Sharks, (7.30pm).

A quick turnaround sees Force travelling south-west to lock horns with Plymouth Raiders on Sunday, completing a hectic weekend double-header.

Following on from an opening-night thrashing at the hands of title-hopefuls Newcastle Eagles, Leeds coach Nelson asserted that Force are still in the initial stages of developing their identity and cohesiveness after a total pre-season rebuild.

“We only had one practice session last week as a new unit before facing an excellent Newcastle team, and that game gave us valuable information about what we need to work on,” Nelson said.

“We’re still getting to know each other as a team, and we’re still working on implementing our system whilst figuring out who works well together.

“Bringing everything together by developing a culture, an approach and an attitude that meets our standard is vitally important.

“It’s going to take time, it’s a process – regardless of whether we’re winning or losing. We’re trying to improve every day, and it’s exciting to be a part of.”

Despite facing two games in quick succession, Nelson believes Force must first keep their eyes fixed firmly on tonight if they hope to swim with the Sharks and steal a priceless victory.

“Sunday’s fixture against Plymouth doesn’t exist yet, since we’re taking it one game at a time,” added Nelson. “Sheffield have made an impressive start – we’ve been learning about them, they’re a great side and will prove a huge test.

“It’s just about building towards our goal with little improvements every week and working on the things we can control, and hopefully we’ll see that beginning to happen this weekend.”

With the BBL again in full swing, Nelson lauded the opening-night support of the Force fanbase, offering a rallying cry to the Leeds faithful ahead of next week’s home clash with Surrey Scorchers on October 13.

“I’m so appreciative of the people who support Leeds Force – that’s the most important factor of all in my eyes, and we’ve got to be so grateful as a team for our fans supporting us.

“By cementing ourselves in the league over the next few weeks, we hope to reward our fans with a product on the court that they can be proud of.”

Feeling the force: Samuel Toluwase in action last Friday night on his competitive debut for a new-look Leeds Force. Unfortunately for them, they were beaten heavily by the Newcastle Eagles, who racked up a league record 148 points at the Carnegie Sports Arena. (Pictures: Alex Daniels)

Samuel Toluwase: Leeds Force will be stronger for lessons learned

Danny Nelson.

Leeds Force: Nelson’s plotting an opening-day victory over the Eagles