Date Time League Season
November 7, 2023 5:00 pm ENBL 2023-24

Marc Steutel has warned his Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles stars they must not underestimate the enormity of tonight’s Latvian test.

The men in black return to European North Basketball League (ENBL) action still licking their wounds in the wake of Saturday’s tough loss at Leicester.

And Steutel has targeted the club’s Group B clash at Valmiera Glass VIA as a golden opportunity to get back to winning ways.

“Make no mistake, this is a huge ENBL game for us,” insisted Newcastle’s determined playcaller.

“We all need to understand how important this match is on the back of our win against Šiauliai last week.


“We have to be ready to battle for 40 minutes and move on from last weekend.”

Valmiera lost their opening ENBL clash of the season to Zastal Zielona Gora last week despite hitting 16 triples.

Oskars Virsis’s Valmiera team are looking to secure their first win in the 2023-24 ENBL season. (Photos: Valmiera Glass VIA)

The Latvians slipped to a 106-100 defeat after throwing up a remarkable 45 three-point efforts.

And after failing to prevent the Riders from connecting on a succession of good looks from downtown, the Eagles can ill afford a repeat in Eastern Europe.

“Valmiera have had a challenging start to their domestic season but they played an excellent game in the ENBL last Tuesday,” added Steutel.

“It was a really close loss where they shot more three-point shots than two-pointers.

“We allowed Leicester to get into a rhythm from beyond the arc at the weekend and we must be better in that area.

“But we’ve done our homework on Valmiera. We know their key personnel and the threat that they carry.”

Valmiera compete in the Latvian-Estonian Basketball League and include national team stars Dairis and Dāvis Bertāns on their board.

The club finished in 15th place at the end of a tough 2022/23 campaign and languish third bottom of this season’s combined championship with a 2-7 record.

Valmiera were thumped 93-71 by title challenging Tartu Ülikool Maks & Moorits on Friday and last won on October 14.

Newcastle are keen to inflict a sixth successive loss on Oskars Virsis’s side but the Eagles must do so without the injured Larry Austin Jr.

The US guard has missed the last two games and Steutel revealed the former Cheshire Phoenix favourite faces at least a fortnight on the sidelines.

Austin Jr is with Newcastle’s squad in Latvia but his coach explained: “He’s here to continue his rehab and so that we can monitor his progress.

“But looking at the situation right now I’d say it will be another couple of weeks before Larry is going to be available again.”

Valmiera is the second of eight games in 21 days for Newcastle and precedes a must-win homecourt clash against Manchester Giants at the Vertu Motors Arena on Friday.

Tickets for that British Basketball League fixture are available now via