Trophy test for ambitious Sharks

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SHEFFIELD Sharks face their biggest match of the season tonight.

That is the view of forward Andrew Bridge as Sheffield travel to Manchester Giants for the first round of the BBL Trophy - their opening game of 2013.

It’s the reverse match-up of Sheffield’s last appearance in 2012 when they turned in an excellent performance at the EIS to beat Manchester 87-68 in the BBL Championship.

Bridge was understandably delighted with his side’s sixth Championship victory of the campaign: “It was a good win for us, and it was probably the best we’ve been at sticking to the game-plan all season.

“We held them to less than they normally score, which is good for us, and we scored around our normal rate. We stuck to the scouting report, and we need to keep doing that.

“I think it’ll be a bit different on Thursday as they will have gone away and worked on things. They’re a much better team at home than away, but for us it’s about playing to the same standard and coming out with a win.”

Bridge won the BBL Trophy with Newcastle Eagles last season, and he knows the importance of the game for Sharks tonight: “Obviously it’s a pretty big game for us, probably the biggest of the season right now.

“At the moment the Trophy is the best chance we have of winning something, but we’re not the kind of team who can look down the line at four games time. We need to approach every game focussed on winning that one.

“We should have beaten both Cheshire (Phoenix) and Surrey (Heat) recently.

“Against the Heat before Christmas we made a couple of mistakes down the stretch, they had a couple of big plays, and there were a couple of calls that could’ve gone either way.

“So we’re a little disappointed that we’re not on a six game winning streak in the league, but we bounced back against Giants and hopefully we can beat them again.”

Sharks now have four away games in a row. The next time they’re at home is against title-chasing Leicester Riders on Friday January 25.