Newcastle Eagles will be looking for some comfort when they get back to the business of defending their BBL Trophy tonight as they look to bounce back from their horror show in Liverpool when they were ripped to shreds by Mersey Tigers in the BBL Championship last weekend.
Consequently Fab Flournoy and his team suddenly find themselves under the spotlight although they will be boosted by the belated return of former league MVP Trey Moore. The combo guard could just provide some much needed firepower after the team scored an embarrassingly low 58 points against Tigers. They host Glasgow Rocks at Sport Central looking for a third successive win in Trophy Group 4 while the visitors will be looking to build on their first win of the season against One Health Sharks Sheffield.
Mersey Tigers are looking great despite not having their full quota of players and they are looking for a third straight win in the BBL Trophy when they entertain Cheshire Jets in the North-West derby. They completed a blow-out of their rivals at Northgate on the opening weekend of the new campaign.
Tigers coach Tony Garbelotto has been trying to deal with the uncertainty that has surrounded the future of Great Britain star Nate Reinking and while it didn’t affect his team against Newcastle Eagles last Sunday, it hasn’t been an ideal situation according to the play-caller.
“As everyone knows, our roster is still incomplete.” explained Garbelotto.
“I am a preparation coach so last week was not good with our practices. I hope we can resolve our roster issues soon.”
The Jets meanwhile will be desperate to put up a better showing than they did on their home floor against Tigers and having despatched a dangerous Worcester Wolves team during their last outing, they will have plenty of confidence heading into the game tonight.
Elsewhere in the BBL Trophy, Essex Pirates are still searching for their first success of the new season – as are the visiting Marshall MK Lions. Both need a win if they want to mount a challenge to prevent Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders from running away with Group 2.
In BBL Trophy Group 1, Guildford Heat will be confident they can shoot down UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders who are currently in the box-seat with two wins from two. The teams met last Sunday with the Raiders coming out on top 92-83 in a tight game that wasn’t decided until right down the stretch. If Heat can use home floor advantage to get the boost of a timely victory, they will then have a great opportunity to pull level with the Raiders on two wins if they can then follow it up with a win at Worthing Thunder on Sunday.
After last weeks sole BBL Championship game last Sunday, the league calendar bursts into life this weekend alongside the BBL Trophy. UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders tip things off when they make the trip to Yorkshire to face One Health Sharks Sheffield tonight who are looking to avoid a third successive loss. The Sharks went down to Glasgow Rocks in their last game and exactly a week ago suffered the agony of a heartbreaking double-overtime loss against Newcastle Eagles.
The Sharks will be hoping a change of competition from BBL Trophy to league action might just inspire them, especially since they finished runners-up last year in the league. They can probably also count themselves unlucky that they lost in Newcastle last weekend in a game that was stolen from them by the lucky hosts so they should have confidence of victory against the unbeaten Raiders.
Newcastle Eagles have plenty of reasons to be concerned when they head to Worcester Wolves on Saturday in what looks a very tricky league fixture for Flournoy and his players. Their performance will certainly be scrutinised closely in the wake of a catastrophic performance against the Tigers and have a lot of work to do if they want to avoid opening up the defence of their league crown with successive losses.
Coach Paul James and his team will be fired up and the Wolves will be sensing there is blood in the water and will be looking to move in and take full advantage. The hosts will be confident of a play-off place at the very least this season although some are tipping them for even greater things. Certainly the opportunity to measure up against one of the title favourites will be one of the most intriguing aspects of the BBL action this weekend.
In the other two BBL Championship games, Cheshire Jets open up their league campaign by hosting Essex Pirates at Northgate and looking for a repeat of their creditable fourth place finish last year while in Glasgow, the Rocks host Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders who have a one hundred percent record this season. The faithful at Kelvin Hall will be looking forward to seeing their team try to end the three game winning streak that Riders have posted in an impressive start to their season and this certainly looks like one of the most exciting and mouth-watering clashes of the weekend.