READING Rockets produced an excellent team performance to beat City of Birmingham 99-92 in another thriller at a packed Loddon Valley last Sunday.

They showed their strength in depth, with five players recording double-figure scores along with a bevvy of assists and crucial rebounding.

Rockets captain Lewis Champion set the tone with a brace of trebles in the early minutes before some great play saw Jermiah Jenkins hit the first of his as the hosts took a 21-14 first-quarter advantage.

Champion was fouled at the start of the second period and was secure with three points from the free throw line.

Isaac Round finished another smart move, whilst Chris Alexander made the first of his five crucial blocks during the game, a mighty achievement.

Samit Nuruzade's men extended their lead to 34-24, but Birmingham went on a 9-0 run and took the lead at 43-41. though moments later Jenkins hit five quick points before Zack Powell drained a treble and Champion a buzzer-beating one to see Rockets 50-45 ahead at the interval.

Fin Porter scored inside and was then fouled but converted another pair from the penalty stripe to extend the lead and Reis Pinnock showed his value to the team with one of his six assists to Mitch Clarke to stroke a treble.

When Pinnock repeated the service to Round moments later, and Clarke hit another from downtown, the Rockets enjoyed a 13-point lead at 62-49.

Despite Birmingham draining three trebles, Rockets stood firm, with Alexander prominent with his major defensive plays with a rejection followed by a huge ‘get out of here’ block, bringing the packed Valley to a crescendo of noise with appreciation.

A Clarke treble and pair of free throws from Alexander saw Reading go into the final quarter with an 81-70 lead, which they extended through Alexander, while Jenkins hit another trademark treble to make it 91-74, only for the Midlanders to make a 13-0, leaving them just four points down.

However, Jenkins was fouled and hit three from three from the free throw line, but the visitors fought back again with a brace of shots to cut the deficit to just three points with less than two minutes on the clock.

Clarke steadied the ship with a pair of free throws as Birmingham missed one of their pair from the free throw line with 47.5 seconds remaining before Elijah Maynard stroked a brilliant treble from out deep and wide to see the Rockets home by a seven-point margin.

Reading's scoresheet was headed by Clarke with 19 points, followed by Champion and Jenkins both with 16, Porter 15 and Maynard 10.

Rockets (9-3) stay fifth in the table with 18 points, behind Derby on 24, Essex also 24, Hemel 22 and Newcastle University 20.

They play the return match with 11th-placed Birmingham (4-10) this coming Saturday, followed by Loughborough (9-6) away on Sunday.

Reading Women (5-6) made leaders Ipswich (12-3) work hard for their 90-83 victory but were unable to stop Harriet Welham from recording 38 points for the hosts.

Alicia Rainford top-scored for Rockets with 17 points, followed by Kristina Karpova with 16, Ezekiela Lisk 14., Parfait Ando 12 and Lindsey Cleary 11.