Coventry Crusaders begin their double-header weekend at home to play off rivals Durham Wildcats this Saturday evening looking for their third straight victory for the first time in two years.
Roger Payne’s men then travel down to the capital to face third-placed London Leopards (4.00pm) less than 24 hours later to play one of their games in hand.
The club’s fortunes on the court have suddenly changed as back-to-back league wins have lifted the club off the bottom of National League Division One and just two wins off the play-off places.
Crusaders captain Michael Gayle, who grabbed the winning points in their recent 78-77 victory over Leicester Warriors last weekend, is eyeing double revenge for the embarrassing defeat to league newcomers Durham last November, and the over time loss to Leopards three weeks ago. Writes Adam Manning…
“Durham plays the best team basketball in the league” said Gayle. “They haven’t got one extremely great player who can do everything, but they’re a strong team.”
“They beat us last time by twenty points which was a little bit embarrassing, but we’ve got a lot more plays now and we’ve added Casey Crawford which they haven’t seen.”
Sunday’s game versus Leopards provides an opportunity for Gayle and his team- mates to banish more bad memories.
“[Last time] we lost to them in over time and that game we should have won. Apart from the Durham game we’ve given other teams the confidence to think that they’re better than us. And I think if we go in with the same mentality [as the previous two games] but tune the little problems what we’ve got with defence, then I think we can come away with two wins.”
Meanwhile head coach Roger Payne will be without two familiar faces this weekend as 6ft 5 in power forward Dave Edden has left the club due to work commitments, whilst forward Simon Payne is in Barbados, and centre Rob Clarke remains out due to a knee injury.
Tickets for Saturday’s clash with Durham at the Coventry Sports & Leisure Centre are £2 for adults and £1 for children, students and OAPs, tip off is 7:30pm.
Team expected to face Durham Wildcats and London Leopards: 4 Michael Gayle (captain); 5 Jack McDonald; 6 Leigh Cascoe; 7 Roy Owen; 8 Siman Stewart; 9 Damilola Fakunle; 11 Robin Hall; 12 Casey Crawford; 13 Pierre Henry-Fontaine; 22 Daniel Belgrave; Louie Romero; Louis Young; Alex Banfield.