The big games keep coming for Surrey Scorchers, and Coach Creon Raftopolous is again relishing the chance to pit his new-look Scorchers against the best the BBL has to offer.
Scorchers endured agonising late defeat against second-place Leicester Riders last weekend, and now welcome leaders London Lions to the Sports Park arena confident that their own league position is something of a false one.
“If we had this group of players from the start of the season we wouldn’t be in the position that we are right now,” he says. “I think our biggest problem has been consistent chemistry and a consistent mindset, and that is improving.
“It really hurt to lose (against the Riders) but we showed great character to fight back, and that shows that what we are capable of. The key for us now is to try and maintain those levels going forward.”
Whilst admitting that their third-quarter resurgence was “very impressive”, Creon is quick to credit the Scorchers fans with their role in creating a fantastic atmosphere. “Once again I got to give a big thank you to our supporters, who were absolutely amazing. I don’t think we come back from that deficit without the energy that they brought to us.”
A vibrant home crowd will again be vital this weekend, as the 20-3 Lions make the short trip to Guildford as part of a big three days which also sees them face a London derby against the City Royals on Friday night.
Having lost their last game, against Glasgow Rocks, Creon knows that a wounded Lions will perhaps prove even more formidable opposition. “They are having an absolutely amazing season. They’re in pole position for the league, but having dropped a game with a couple of injuries this past week, I know they’re going to come in hungry.”
As ever, though, Raftopolous is concentrating on his own players more than the opposition. “We need to focus on ourselves, and I think the key part for us is focusing on what we need to do right from the off.
“Last week we spoke about starting quick and not putting ourselves in a hole, and I think we probably put ourselves in the biggest hole we could have. So consistency is going to be the key word for us going into this weekend, and trying to give the same performance that we did in the second half against Riders.”