After a summer of changes Hemel Storm hope to go into action on Saturday against Thames Valley Cavaliers at Hemel Leisure Centre with at least two of their four potential starters back from injury.
The team’s entire front-line was injured in pre-season training and were unavailable for the Clubs narrow 100 – 97 loss to American touring side, USA-Select.
Saturday’s match-up is the first competitive game of the new term and tips-off at 7pm and will see powerful forward Leome Francis and lightening quick guard Leon Henry back in action although 6’ 9” centre Tom Adorian (calf strain) is unlikely to play and 6’ 6” forward Mike Darlow will be side-lined for at least two months with damage to ligaments in both ankles.
Saturday’s clash is a National Trophy pool game and will showcase a new, up-tempo Vanarama-sponsored Storm who this week announced the key signing of Levi Noel (pictured) from BBL side Surrey Scorchers. Levi joins Storm to replace British American guard Brett Cannon who has returned to the ‘States following the tragic death from cancer of his mother.
Noel, a former GB under-20’s international comes to Storm after spells with BBL sides Leicester Riders and Surrey Scorchers and an impressive College career in the ‘States at NCAA Division One universities in Illinois and Florida. He brings experience, talent and toughness to Hemel’s line-up.
Hemel’s roster has substantially changed from last season’s National Cup Winning side with Head Coach Robert Youngblood and Associate Head Coach Dave Titmuss returning four players from last season – Jack Burnell, Bode Adeluola, Adorian and Darlow – and bringing in new talent to augment the returnees.
“We’ve got to make some adjustments in these early games because, before the string of injuries, we had a settled front-line,” said Youngblood. “But I’ve been pleased to see other guys in the squad stepping up to the challenge.”
Hemel will play Reading Rockets, Essex Leopards, and the Cavaliers in the Trophy with the top team progressing directly to a semi-final. The NBL Division One League season starts for Storm with a home game against Worthing Thunder on Saturday October 6th when Hemel will be looking to avenge their 57-67 loss in the Play-Off Final last season.
Storm’s next home game: Saturday 22nd September against Thames Valley Cavaliers in the National Trophy, tip-off at 7pm at Hemel Leisure Centre. For tickets go to the "tickets & shop" tab above.
And Storm’s new second team have opened their Division Four season with a 76 – 46 dominant win away to Canterbury Saints in the first round of the National Cup.
Head Coach, David Allin, said: “It was a useful exercise to gauge how we're shaping up; we’re still looking to add to our squad with some players coming from the University of Hertfordshire through a partnership that has been developed over this past summer”.
Top scorers for Storm II were: Shaun Allin 17, Daryl Craine 15, and Ben Pearce 15.
For all Storm II’s fixtures and results go to the "fixtures" tab above