Newcastle Eagles 85 (15,38,59) (Stewart 24, Chapman 16, Flournoy 11)
Cheshire Jets 74 (17,42,54) (Hamilton 22, Peterson 13, Myers/Marks 12)

BBL champions Newcastle Eagles began their title defence in style with an 85-74 home win over Cheshire Jets.

Two familiar faces, Lynard Stewart and player-coach Fab Flournoy (pictured), were joined by new signing Joe Chapman in leading the Eagles scoring as a second half burst pulled them away from the Jets.

The match was marred by an ankle injury to Jets forward Calvin Davis in the second half, which unsettled the visitors and allowed Newcastle to build a match winning run.

An even first quarter was shaded by Cheshire 15-17 and the Jets still led at the second interval 38-42 – although Eagles had closed the half with an 8-3 run.

Jets led for the final time at 53-54 before a 12-0 burst, split evenly over the third quarter interval put Newcastle in charge. From there the Jets couldn’t find a way back into the game as the Eagles cruised to the victory.

New signing Chapman was pleased with his debut: “The key to the game was Cheshire closing us on the outside which left room for Lynard inside.”