Mersey Tigers: Home Game Preview
21 September 2012
The renamed and new-look Surrey Heat get their season underway with a visit from the Mersey Tigers on Saturday, 22nd September at the Surrey Sports Park. The game will give Heat fans their first opportunity to see how well newcomers Chavis Holmes and Sam Cricelli gel with the returning Heat trio of Frank Holmes, Martelle McLemore and Albert Margai. They will be up against the Mersey Tigers, a team who the Heat have fond memories of from last season.
The Heat chalked up their first win of the season against the Tigers, a memorable 82-76 road victory, and followed that up with another road win, this time an 83-75 victory towards the end of the season. In between, the Tigers had a measure of revenge when the Heat went down 77-82 at home, leaving the Heat series winners with a 2-1 margin. Overall though, the Heat have some ground to make up, having won eight of the 18 match-ups between the two teams, the other ten going to the Tigers.
The Tigers missed out on the play-offs last year, just a year after being crowned BBL Champions. However, they had a very different look last season and this season are sporting a different look again. Long-time coach Tony Garbelotto has left, moving to Germany to coach Heidelberg, and with the Tigers only just having announced their signings for the coming season, scouting has proved difficult for Surrey’s head coach, Creon Raftopoulos.
One thing he can be certain of though is that the Tigers won’t be fielding arguably their best player from last season, the talented British forward, David Alui, who has signed for Manchester Giants this season. They will also be without their leading rebounder and third-leading scorer from last year, none other than the Heat’s latest recruit, Sam Cricelli.
Cricelli, who averaged 14.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, had a strong season with the Tigers, having split his time the previous year between Plymouth and Worcester, where he put up similar numbers. He shared his thoughts with us about the Heat’s first game of the season:
"I’m excited to be playing my old team this Saturday. I’m not really sure what the situation is with them in terms of personnel but what is most important is our preparation leading up to the game.
We are doing our best to start off the season well. I believe we have the potential to be successful. But it’s always a question of making sure that everyone is on the same page, is working hard and most importantly smart. Team chemistry is always very important and it’s early days so we will see how things develop.
However, although I’ve only been here a short while, I feel good about us as a team.”
See the new-look Surrey Heat in action against this Saturday at 7pm. Book online or call the Box Office on 01483 689 111.