Samuel Toluwase Column: Another defeat – but Leeds Force are improving

Leeds Force's Eric Curth
Leeds Force's Eric Curth
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A loss is never a positive step for us, but considering the ground we’ve covered in the last six weeks, I’d say the Cheshire defeat was another move in the right direction for Leeds Force.

We need to work on finishing games, staying on top and closing out games when the going gets tough – every second counts and that’s a vital step for us going forwards.

Samuel Toluwase.

Samuel Toluwase.

Our toughness and resilience was on show in the win against Manchester – everything came together at the end and we carried that momentum into the first half of the Cheshire game.

Maintaining that momentum for the full 40 minutes is vital, and we failed to do so last time out.

It’s all well and good proving to teams that we’re competitive, but we’ve already shown that Leeds Force can compete so now we need to focus on playing.

As a player, I need to find common ground with my team-mates, we need to back each other if we’re to win games. Even if a couple of players perform well individually, it doesn’t matter if everyone’s not giving their all and doing their job right until the end – it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

Force coach Danny Nelson.

Force coach Danny Nelson.

We need to be aware of how we defeated Manchester and why we won that game – learning from that victory and repeating that level of performance will be crucial in the next few weeks.

We’re ready to make the journey down to face Plymouth Raiders again on Friday – we know what they’ve got, and there aren’t really any new additions to the team that beat us a month ago so we’ll just need to take off from last time and focus on earning the win.

I’m very confident in the new signings we’ve made, the likes of Tre Bennett and Eric Curth have proved themselves to be key additions already in the last couple of weeks.

Those new guys have the task of learning our system when they arrive here, and it’s a team effort from all of us to come together and help one another to succeed.

How quickly new additions take to our system and become integrated in our unit is a quick judge of whether they’ll reach their true potential with Leeds Force.

Whether you’re a new figure or an old head on the team, I’m more concerned about who shows up on the night and performs.

I’m not really a big fan of names, where they’ve played or at what level – I want to know how hard they’re willing to commit themselves to learning the system and becoming a valuable team player.

We have the right mentality – fighting against adversity or difficult circumstances as we have done at Leeds Force has helped build the right culture amongst everyone at the club.

I may have won the 2016 BBL Play-off Championship with Sheffield Sharks, but Leeds Force is an entirely different challenge for all of us – any past achievements are out of the way for me. It’s another team, another year and another situation, and I’m glad to be here in the Leeds community to try and help Force find their way to the top.

I’ve never really been interested in stats or scores, but a quick glance at the BBL table shows that anyone can beat anyone – that level of competitiveness can only be healthy for the league.

Enjoying basketball is incredibly important to me – but I’d like to win as well as enjoy. That’s pivotal, and hopefully we’re not far away from delivering that most nights at Leeds Force.

Interview: Seb Gigner