Captain Tyler Bernardini lifted the his first piece of silverware in the BBL Trophy as he won his third major trophy with the Riders just two weeks ago.
Ally Darlow had a chance to catch up with Tyler Bernardini ahead of the Riders playing on the road against the Surrey Scorchers this Sunday.
This will be the 3rd time you’ve faced Surrey this season, although the last time you faced them was in October. Has much changed since then?
Yeah they’ve been playing really well and we’ve seen a lot of wins from them. When we played them earlier on in the season they had a really tough run of schedule. They had different guys coming in and out but now they’ve had a chance to really gel this year and you’ve seen that in the way play and their results this year.
With Surrey battling for a playoff place, how tough is this game going to be?
Yeah both teams are going to come to it really wanting the victory especially for us with this being the 2nd game of a back-to-back. It’s away and it’s always a tough place to play down there, they do a great job protecting their home floor, their fans are really good and they get after it down there so it’ll be a hostile environment but a fun challenge.
A very busy April has you playing 8 games in 23 days, how key is it to build momentum now?
Extremely, we’ve had a lot of success this season with the amount of months it’s been, but now we’ve got a third of our season packed into less than a month which is wild. But it’s all about focusing on the details, that’s the biggest thing when you play so many games you can get caught up in the results but it’s about looking at each possession, offensively and defensively. Looking at how we’re conducting ourselves in each possession and making sure that we know the details in this stretch. Because that’s ultimately what’s going to relate to the wins and we’re focusing on how we’ve been playing in each possession, looking at the film and breaking it down because it’s so important in this stretch.
The BBL Trophy win was your 3rd piece of BBL silverware. What does it mean for the club, and for you, to go on and win more in your Riders career?
It means a lot to me, I’m someone who’s always focused on winning, but my own personal success like my game stats it’s never something I’ve really focussed on. For me it’s always been about the wins and I’ll do whatever my team needs me to do to win silverware, so for me to win 3 pieces of silverware in the 3 years is good but I’m anxious and excited to win more. It’s all I want, more silverware, more winning and I can be proud about my effect on the club for the time that I’ve been here.
Do you enjoy this busy period of the season leading up to the playoffs?
Yeah absolutely! A lot of games, a lot of pressure which is what competitors want, I consider myself a high-level competitor and so I ask for nothing more than this.
What’s the spirit in the team like at the moment. You’re top of the league, Trophy winners, you must feel like you can beat anyone?
Yeah, I think it’s very high, we’re a confident group and we believe in ourselves. But I think what our group does is look at the details so we’re looking at how we’re executing each play. Not whether we made or missed shots, not whether other teams made or missed shots but what we did in that possession that created that result, so that’s where our focus is at. It’s the detail and analysing, breaking down that film, making sure we’re tighter and better down this stretch. Because not only is this momentum for the league title but this takes us into the playoffs so we want to know that we’re going to be competing in that stretch as well.
And finally, do you have a message for the fans?
We appreciate all your support and we know that as tough as this stretch is for us, it’s just as tough for you to come on down this many times in such a short period of time and we look forward to having you there and we hope that we can reward you with some victories.
You can watch Tyler and the rest of the Riders on Saturday at home to the Raiders and on Sunday 2nd April away to Surrey LIVE at in the Sports Lounge of the Kevin Routledge Suite.