NEWCASTLE Eagles guard Andrew Bridge is basking in the success of his first trophy win as club captain – and has already set his sights on the end-of-season play-offs.

Bridge collected the second BBL title of his career at Guildford on Sunday – and admitted he was relieved to have finally delivered, having lost in the BBL Cup and Trophy deciders.

He said: “It has been a long time coming. This was our third chance because we just did not do what we were supposed to do.

“In fact, we did not do what we were supposed to again – or at least until the last seven or eight minutes of the game and then in overtime.

“In the second half we turned it over too much and they ran in some lay-ups.

“It is hard to explain what changed, but we chipped away at the lead.

“They played good defence and took tough shots before we were able to finish the game off with an 8-0 run.

“In the end we were just relieved to get all of this off our backs, and now we can look forward to the play-offs.”

Now the first piece of silverware is safely tucked in the cabinet, the true scale of the Eagles’ achievement can be appreciated by way of some extraordinary statistics.

Their current league record of 27 wins and four defeats is remarkable, not least because in their last championship year they won 30 and lost 10.

They have won 19 consecutive home games and 25 out of the last 26.

Fab Flournoy’s men have only been beaten by four teams since the start of the season and, perhaps most impressively of all, their record without talisman and top scorer Charles Smith is seven wins and just one defeat.

Throw in the adversity created by Richard Midgley’s departure, his replacement Brian Defares not working out and Jeremy Hyatt having injury problems, and you get some idea of what Flournoy’s side have accomplished.

Bridge admitted consistency is what has helped them finish top of the league – albeit a very different experience from the 2006 title triumph.

Chesterfield-born Bridge added: “It has been a long season, with two bad patches where we lost both the Cup final and the Trophy decider, but consistency showed in the end. We deserved to win it.

“We beat the teams we were supposed to be beat and, although we lost against Worcester, that kind of thing will happen during the course of the season.

“Losing at Scottish Rocks is understandable as it is a tough place to play, and although we lost twice to Heat we took care of them in the end. We were chasing last time, whereas this year we have been out in front throughout.

“It was almost a sense of relief this time, and it reached the stage where other teams were losing games and we were waiting to win it.”