BIG Storage Cheshire Jets renew their rivalry with Everton Tigers on Sunday in the BBL’s first North West derby of the season.
Tigers, who entered the BBL last year, make the short trip from Liverpool to the Northgate Arena for only the fourth meeting between the two sides (5.30pm tip-off).
Jets are 2-1 down in the all-time head-to-heads with Everton, who won 93-77 at Greenbank Arena last December before losing 103-80 to Cheshire in front of a 7,000 crowd in a televised match at the ECHO Arena in March. Just three days later, Everton travelled to the Northgate and gained revenge with an 86-77 victory.
Jets will be looking to draw first blood in this season’s derby stakes when they take on their regional rivals on Sunday.
The Tigers will be in action at Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup semi-final tomorrow – and coach Tony Garbelotto admits he has concerns about taking on Jets the following evening.
He said: “It’s almost a home game for us, and that’s the only positive for us. It’s a terrible turnaround for us, we haven’t been great on back-to-back games this season and I am worried about facing Jets. It will be the first time we've played Newcastle and Cheshire this season, and we have only 20 hours to recover after Newcastle.
“Add the facts that it’s a local rivalry and they’ll be resting their legs – and they have some old legs – it’s going to be tough.”
Garbelotto added: “If Chez Marks recovers from flu he’ll present a huge challenge for us. I saw them on Sunday against the Rocks, and he only played 15 minutes and was definitely struggling. They have quite a few match winners, and it’s going to be a very difficult game.”