New era begins on Saturday

Leopards start a new era on Saturday when they host Worthing Thunder in their first Division One game at Oaklands College, tip-off 5.45pm.
Coach Thomas Baker is looking forward to playing for the first time at the court they’ve called home since the summer: “It is exciting to finally to play at Oaklands” he said.
“As we look to strengthen this partnership in the future it is important that we engage the local fans. The guys are excited to step on our the court we train on, the familiarity is something that we will be looking to capitalise on. Even though the results are yet to change in our favour I can’t fault the guys effort to what we are trying to do.”
Tickets are available through www.leopardsbasketball.co.uk or on the door and are priced at £5 adults, £3 children, £12 family 4, £14 family 5.
While Leopards have played a couple of international friendlies against a touring American side and the Welsh national team along with a Division Two game at Oaklands two years ago, the 2019/20 season will see regular Division One games at Oaklands College.
Oaklands’ players Toby Gastaldi-Davies, Ahmed Ketiri and Jeremy Lievin in their squad along with several former students of the college.The two organisations previously worked together between 2015-2018 but a strengthened link will now see Oaklands’ employee Thomas Baker coaching Leopards and some games taking place at the college.
“We are delighted to partner with Leopards for the 2019/20 season” said Oaklands College Director of Basketball Michael Ball.
“We worked closely with Leopards in the past and players like Evan Walshe, Dom Scott Robinson and Jose Morais have developed better by being stretched outside of their Oaklands College academy environment.
“The two keys for us were the confirmation of Thomas at the helm for the upcoming season as head coach and the agreement of all training sessions taking place at Oaklands College .”
Thunder will arrive at Oaklands in joint sixth place after last week’s win at Loughborough and have a 3-2 record, while the Big Cats are still looking for their first win after five games. The teams met in Worthing during pre-season with Thunder running out comfortable 117-79 winners, and Thunder also won both league games last season before knocking the Big Cats out of the play-offs on the south coast.
After suffering defeats against Solent and Thames Valley, Worthing have strengthened the team with additions of former Newcastle Eagles and AJ Basi and Dominic Ives (ex Worcester Wolves) who both slotted immediately into the starting five for the win at Loughborough.