A host of familiar faces will return to Worthing Leisure Centre on Sunday evening when Worthing Thunder host Sussex Bears in the third round of the National Cup.
Bears, who are based at the Sir Robert Woodward Academy in Lancing, have a number of former Thunder players involved at the club.
Gary Smith is Bears’ coach and their captain James Brame played at Thunder for 13 seasons. Bears also include former Thunder players Hank Rivers, Bud Johnston, Dominic Baker, Joe Carter, Nick Corbin, Julian Stanley and Tomas Seduikis.
Thunder reached the National Cup final last season but coach Daniel Hildreth knows his side can not take two divisons-lower Bears lightly – despite a 88-43 victory in the competition at the same opponents last season. He said: “There’s going to be some emotion from all parties. For us, we’re genuinely looking at it as just another game.
“It’s a game we need to win in order to progress in the competition, which is something we’ve set out to do.
“They’re a team who can beat any Division 1 side.
“Anyone who thinks this will be an easy game or that it will be a breeze will be in for a shock and no one will be going into the game with that mentality.”
Bears captain Brame said: “We played Thunder last year in the cup at our place and it was a bit of a blow-out.
“They were full strength and we didn’t have everyone available but this season we’ve got more depth to our team.
“We’ve got some of the elder statesmen of Sussex basketball playing for us and we’re all looking forward to the game, it’s not a grudge match or anything like that. I love Thunder, was a big part of their history and this is a good chance for us to play a Division 1 team.”
The match tips-off at 5pm at Worthing Leisure Centre.
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