Baker looking forward to Leopards returning home as they target first win

Essex & Herts Leopards' forward Hafeez Abdul. Picture: Essex & Herts Leopards

Essex & Herts Leopards' forward Hafeez Abdul. Picture: Essex & Herts Leopards - Credit: Archant

Essex & Herts Leopards coach Thomas Baker is looking forward to returning to the Brentwood Centre for the Big Cats’ first home league game of the season on Sunday.

Hemel Storm are the visitors, with Baker's team still looking for a first win of the season after four straight road losses to open the season.

Baker said: "After four away games in a row not including our friendly matches, it is good to get back to familiar grounds.

"Who better to face than our most local rivals in Hemel Storm who are enjoying a rejuvenation under new coach Dru Spinks.

"It will good to see familiar faces in Sam (Newman), Lee (Hodges) and Will (Ashby) who have played for Leopards in the past but we must stay focussed on the task at hand.

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"Hemel will be looking to get back on track having lost quite heavily to Derby and we are still in search for our first win of the season.

"This is building up to be a game that shouldn't be missed."

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Baker will look for an improved performance from his side after they slipped to a fourth straight loss on Saturday, going down 92-84 at Westminster Warriors.

A poor start proved to be Leopards' downfall as they trailed 32-12 with a minute of the first period remaining.

They outscored the home side 74-60 in the rest of the game but never moved any closer than a four-point deficit midway through the fourth period as Warriors hung on for the win.

Hafeez Abdul again led the way for the Big Cats, finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds, with captain Chuck Duru adding 16 points and seven boards.

Prince Lartey scored 13 points, adding five rebounds and four assists, while Jerrelle Okoro completed the scoring with a 12-point and 11-rebound double-double.

Baker added: "Apart from the slow start we showed that we have the resilience needed to fight back in a game and we have the quality to hurt teams.

"Some poor decisions down the stretch and lapses on defence allowed Westminster to pull away in the end.

"I am seeing glimpses of us heading in the right direction, we therefore must stay committed throughout this tough patch we are in at the moment."

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