Play-off home comforts Thunder's aim - Gayle

Worthing Thunder coach Daniel Gayle. Picture by Kyle Hemsley
Worthing Thunder coach Daniel Gayle. Picture by Kyle Hemsley

Worthing Thunder coach Daniel Gayle believes that his side are still in a good position to secure home-court advantage in the National League Division 1 play-offs.

That is still the hope despite a disappointing slip-up away to Loughborough Student Riders on Sunday, where Zaire Taylor’s 28 points were not enough in a 91-75 loss.

Thunder did pick up a win less than 24 hours before when they defeated Derby Trailblazers 81-74 but following the defeat to Loughborough, it means Worthing will have to rely on results elsewhere in order to secure a first-round home tie in the play-offs.

Coach Gayle is confident that his side will do their part of the job. They have two fixtures left - both at home -where they have only tasted defeat once this season. The penultimate match comes on Saturday night (tip-off 7.30pm), where Kent Crusaders are the visitors.

Kent travel to the south coast with only pride to play for as they have been eliminated from play-off contention, but Gayle is still wary of the threat that Crusaders possess.

Gayle said: “Kent are a young, hungry side that plays every possession as if it’s their last.

“They will challenge us in every aspect so we can’t get caught up with events elsewhere, otherwise Kent could catch us out. It’s vital that we remain focused on the task at hand.”

While Gayle is focused on his side’s performances only, one game elsewhere that will get Thunder fans’ attention will be on the same day as fourth-placed Team Northumbria host Reading Rockets - who are in third.

That game tips-off at 4pm, so the result will be public by the time Thunder begins their game with Kent.

For fifth-placed Thunder to secure a top-four finish, they need to win both their games and hope that Team Northumbria lose one of their remaining two matches. If the latter win both their remaining games, then Worthing face a 700-mile round trip to Newcastle in the first round of the play-offs.

But for Gayle that’s for the future and fate to decide. He is only concentrating on what’s in front of him.

Gayle said: “It will be hard not to look at the results elsewhere especially as some scores effect us. But we must concentrate on winning our games.

“We need to be worrying about what we do and right now, we need to win both games. Of course, we want results elsewhere to go our way but the priority for us, is us.”