Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Leicester Riders
Friday 31 January 2014
Sport Central (19:30)
BBLTV subscribers and fans heading to Sport Central will be treated to a re-run of the 2014 BBL Cup Final on Friday night, when Leicester Riders go up against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle.
The BBL Cup and BBL champions head to the north-east for the first of three league meetings which could go a long way to determining whether Riders can retain their title.
It promises to be another blockbuster match-up, less than three weeks after their dramatic encounter which lit-up the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham and left a sell-out 9,000 fans on the edge of their seats.
Now Riders head-coach Rob Paternostro is eager to deliver another body blow to the Eagles and believes his team must ensure the hosts aren’t able to capitalise on too many of his teams’ errors.
“It’s very important that we take care of the ball,” stressed the play-caller.
“They are always very good at scoring points off turnovers and especially at their place.”
After their double disappointment of a home defeat against Lions and being knocked out of the BBL Trophy, Riders got back on track last weekend with an emphatic win at basement dwellers Birmingham Knights.
“I thought we played well last Saturday against the Knights,” reflected Paternostro.
“Defensively we were very active and on offence, our ball movement was very good.”
“We were really looking forward to getting back out on the court and you could see that in how we competed on both ends of the floor.”
The Eagles will be hoping some of their injury issues have cleared up for the clash, whilst Riders’ playmaker Mike Black will line-up against the home side, having not been eligible to play in the BBL Cup Final.
Last time they met:
Leicester Riders 72 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 69 (BBL Cup Final, National Indoor Arena, 12/01/2014)
What they say:
Eagles’ player-coach Fab Flournoy: “It’s obviously an important game at the top and we hope to be back to full strength. Obviously Leicester will have Mike Black available, which will give us a new guy to focus on and may change the dynamic of the game slightly. I am happy with the way we have bounced back since the Final but in reality, the next 4 weeks will make or break whether we can realistically challenge for the BBL Championship this year.”
For information about tickets visit www.newcastle-eagles.com