Rob Marsden: Vital win in play-off eliminator gives Force hope

Jack Isenbarger
Jack Isenbarger
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That was a huge win for Leeds Force against my former team the Manchester Giants, to keep our play-off hopes alive for this season.

Both teams have been in danger of getting the wooden spoon and finishing bottom of the BBL table, something neither of us want.

Rob Marsden

Rob Marsden

We went into the game level on points, though in reality we were not really worried about being the bottom side as we have games in hand and still have confidence in our ability.

Nevertheless it was a vital game to claim an 81-71-point win from. If they had beaten us it would have hurt us psychologically, a lot of the boys heads would have dropped.

So we were really focused going into the game. We took the positives from the game against Sheffield Sharks when we lost narrowly, we prepared as normal and went out on the floor and played as we know we can.

And I think we certainly did that. At times I think it was one of the best display’s we have shown this season, especially in that first quarter.

Rob Sandoval

Rob Sandoval

Eddie Matthew was awesome in that quarter. I know he struggled a bit against the Sharks but we all know of his capabilities and he defiantly showed it against the Giants.

His 11-0 run which consisted of three triples in a row and a basket inside the arc, really helped push us on.

Coach Newby said in the week it could turn into a dogfight and it really did. They came back hard in the second and it was tough for us.

We knew despite having a lead of between 10-13 points Manchester are good enough to bring it right back down and they did.

Despite where they are in the league they can play some good basketball and we never thought the game was won until the final buzzer.

This was a true game of runs. We both had spells where everything we were shooting went in and the ball wouldn’t drop for the other.

It got tense going into the final quarter. This game had that much importance in it – it really was a play-off eliminator.

Having played for the Giants I know their spirit means they weren’t ever going to back down, and they certainly didn’t.

So we needed to stay strong. Rob Sandoval came to life when it really mattered and he and Jack Isenbarger were finding baskets regularly to get us over the line.

It was always going to be tough without Jermaine Sanders again. When he averages the amount of points he does it is always going to be tough when he’s not on the court.

I didn’t think I was at my best on Sunday, like Jermaine I was suffering from a back problem. Coach Newby left it in my hands whether I played or not but if I can get on the court I am going to play.

Now we have a double header coming up this weekend, and with both games being on the road it is going to be a very tough time.

First up on Friday night (7.30pm) it’s Cheshire Phoenix in front of the BBC cameras which will be exciting for us and gives us a determination to put in a good display.

Then on Sunday (4pm) we go down to London to play in the Copper Box to face the London Lions. There will be a lot of travelling for the Force so we need to make sure prepare properly.

I think we are finding some good form and can push on now and pick up some more wins and jump up that table.

The Force faithful that will be travelling with us this weekend we look forward to seeing you there ... and for the rest of you, look out for us on the BBC!

We are Force.


Arif Ahmed