Cheshire Phoenix vs Sheffield Sharks – Preview

by Vlad Ionasc

Cheshire Phoenix will tip off the 2020/21 regular season in the company of the Sheffield Sharks, at the Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle.

The Nix will look to bounce back from their winless BBL Cup campaign in front of the Sky Sports cameras!

The Sharks – just like Phoenix – crashed out of the Cup in the group stage, as they picked up just one win in five games.


Date: Thursday 3rd December, 2020

Tip-off: 5 p.m.

Competition: BBL Championship

Where: Eagles Community Arena

How to watch: Sky Sports Arena & Main Event + BBL Player


Photo Credit: Mansoor Ahmed

Mike Tuck, Nicholas Lewis, Rob Marsden, Bennett Koch, Marko Backovic and Nate Montgomery have all returned for the Sharks.

Atiba Lyons also added Callum Jones, Kipper Nichols, Antwon Lillard, Oscar Baldwin and Johde Campbell during the off-season.

Connor Cashaw left the Sharks and joined Creon Raftopoulos’ Surrey Scorchers while Norwegian forward Bouna Ndiaye also departed during the summer.

The Sharks axed Mackey McKnight and brought in Jeremy Hemsley on the 27th of November.

Sheffield’s only win of the season came against the London Lions, as Lillard led the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. DeAndre Liggins tallied 18 points for the Lions, however, the Sharks held Vince Macaulay’s team to just 32% shooting from the field and also out-rebounded and out-assisted their opponents.

The Sharks struggled to put the ball in the basket during their BBL Cup campaign, as they shot under 40% from the floor in three out of five Cup games and also failed to achieve the 45% mark in any fixture.


Photo Credit: Mansoor Ahmed

Sheffield Sharks: Antwon Lillard – Sheffield’s swingman led the Sharks in scoring (17.2 points-per-game), rebounding (7.2 rebounds-per-game), and fouls drawn (4.4 fouls drawn-per-game). Standing at 6-foot-5, he will look to use his obvious size advantage whenever Phoenix’s guards get switched onto him. He also possesses the toughness and physicality required to compete with Cheshire’s forwards.

Cheshire Phoenix: Kahron Ross – The 5-foot-11 point-guard put the league on notice with his first few outings as a Phoenix player, but unfortunately he’s been sidelined since the home game against the Manchester Giants. Nix’s floor general will now be joined by another talented, hyper-aggressive guard – Mike McCall Jr – in the backcourt, but everyone will be looking at Ross to pave the way and dictate the tempo against the Sharks.

Photo Credit: Mansoor Ahmed


Photo Credit: Adam Day

Ben Thomas: “I’m looking forward to seeing our full team for the first time this season! 

“We really want to put the Cup competition behind us and get off to a good start in the league.

“Sheffield have had some really good results this year so we’re in for a tough test! 


Phoenix will host the Bristol Flyers in the regular-season home opener, on Sunday, 6th December 2020.




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