The consistently inconsistent Newcastle Eagles once again showed both sides of their character on Friday night as they slipped to a disappointing home loss to Manchester Giants.
As the final buzzer sounded it was an eerie silent Vertu Motors Arena that surveyed another tough night for their favourites.
The Eagles had been due to travel to Bristol today to take on The Flyers. That game was cancelled due to issues with the venue and perhaps it’s just as well as it would be difficult to see how Newcastle could have picked themselves up and turned things around in such a short space of time.
On Friday the Eagles flew out of the nest with all claws sharpened and looking hungry for success. They poured in thirty-four points in the first ten minutes and although initially Manchester stuck with them, they were eleven points up in the second.
With less than a minute and a half left in the first they still led by nine but they allowed Giants back in and the visitors took the momentum with them into the third quarter. They visibly grew in confidence as the game wore on draining shot after shot as well as the Eagles confidence.
Newcastle simply had no answer as their defence crumbled, spirit dissolved and Manchester ran away to win in comfortable style with the final score line of 110 – 89 reflecting their second half dominance.
After the game Eagles veteran forward Darius Defoe cut a disconsolate figure as he reflected on what went wrong on the night.
“It is what it is and these things happen. It’s a tough one, a tough one to take. We just have to go back to practice and start all over again. We struggled defensively second half and that’s something we need to get right and then we’ll be fine.”
“Our defence sparks our offence. We always say that and our offence can’t save our defence if that’s not right. We just have to be patient. It’s a long season and there’s still a lot of games for us to play and put things right.”
“Apart from Leicester everybody seems to be beating everybody else so we’re still in the mix. Like I said we just have to come back starting next week and start all over again. We have two weeks off before we go to Sheffield.”
“That’ll give one or two time to sort out niggling injuries and get some rest. We need to rewatch this game, see where we went wrong, discuss it and take things from there.”
Sage words from an Eagles legend that has been there, done it and not only got the t-shirt but probably printed it himself. He knows what it’s all about in the BBL and will use that knowledge and experience to help his teammates bounce back as best they can.
The Eagles are though have a very, very tough schedule coming up. Their next four fixtures see then face away games at Sheffield and London which will be followed by the visit of runaway leaders Leicester to the Vertu Motors Arena before another tough road trip to Bristol.
It’s a run of fixtures that will define Newcastle’ season and one they need to be focused and ready for in what is becoming an increasingly frustrating campaign for a franchise more used to success than adversity.