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Essex Leopards look to make history

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 January 2017

Darrell Bethune in action for Essex Leopards (pic Graham Hodges)

Darrell Bethune in action for Essex Leopards (pic Graham Hodges)

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Big Cats chase BBL Trophy semi-final spot

Levett Essex Leopards will look to make history when the host Plymouth Raiders in the BBL Trophy quarter final at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday (4pm).

Having become only the fourth EBL side to defeat a BBL club in the 29-year history of the competition when they won a thriller against Manchester Giants, Steve Ogunjimi’s team will aim to repeat the trick and become the first Division One side to reach the semi-final.

It will be a massive test for the Big Cats as they face a side sitting in sixth place in the fully professional British League having won nine of their first 15 games and with a roster stacked with talent.

“It’s a big game for us” said coach Ogunjimi. “We showed in the last round we can compete with a BBL side and we’ll look to repeat that, but to be honest I’m more concerned about getting our league campaign back on track at Loughborough on Saturday.”

The sides met in the first round of the competition last season with Raiders blowing Leopards out by 40 points in a bad-tempered game, while the only other meeting between the clubs saw the original Leopards travel to Plymouth and win by 33.

The Big Cats are expecting a big crowd for the game, which is sponsored by Brentwood Leisure Trust, with tickets available on leopardsbasketball.co.uk.

Places are also available for the pre-game coaching session run by Leopards’ players Tosin Oyelese and AJ Roberts, with more details available online.

But before that, Leopards travel to the Midlands tomorrow (Saturday) to face Loughborough Riders where they will look for revenge for October’s 59-52 loss at Harlow.

The Riders sit three places ahead of the Big Cats in seventh spot with a 7-7 record having recovered from a poor start to life in Division One which saw them finish bottom of their National Trophy group and exit the National Cup at the hands of Derby Trailblazers.

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