The Ennerdale Centre hosts a massive game for the Hull Wasps tomorrow as they take on the Kingston Panthers in their first ever derby against another Hull basketball team.
The growing rivalry between the two teams stems from a desire on each team's part to establish themselves as 'Hull's premier National League basketball team.'
Up until the beginning of the 2013-2014 season the title belonged firmly with the Hull Wasps, who were previously Hull's only National League team; however, this season poses a whole new challenge for the Wasps, who are now facing competition from within their own city.
Kingston Panthers were founded in November 2011 and competed in The Humber Basketball Association Development League for the 2011/12 season. They enjoyed a successful season, finishing in 4th position with an 8-3 record, before winning the play-off final. Coach Karl Buitendam decided he wanted to enter the Panthers into the EBL National League and, along with some original players such as Ben Withers and Sean Johnstone, he began to recruit key players from local leagues. A four-figure sponsorship deal with local solicitors firm James Legal enabled the Panthers to confirm their entry into the EBL division 4 for the 2013/2014 season.
So far the Panthers have enjoyed a successful start to their debut season, winning each of their first three National League games and currently sitting at second position in the league table. Top scorers for the team include Tomas Grigaliunas and Kamil Pilarski, two of the Panthers' new recruits, and will pose a significant challenge to the Wasps.
The Wasps have, however, arguably their strongest team to date this season and have been preparing and training hard in preparation for tomorrow's game. This week, head coach Matt Fawcett spoke of his side's determination to overcome their local rivals.
"We've got another huge game in front of us. Aside from the fact that this is the derby, Panthers have assembled a great squad who will be more than up for beating us on our home court.
"Arran Hayes (Panthers Coach) has done a good job with the Panthers so far, they've made a decent start and havbe many decent players who could cause us problems.
"Luckily for us, we have some fantastic players too. All the ingredients are there to make this a truly epic introduction to the newly-formed Hull derbies"
This is the Wasps' most anticipated match of the season and promises to be a night of great entertainment for Wasps and Panthers fans alike.
Tip off is 7.00pm on Saturday 26th October at the Ennerdale Centre.
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