Newcastle Eagles Managing Director Paul Blake has vowed to draft in reinforcements at the club after it was confirmed shooting ace Joe Chapman suffered a season ending injury against Cheshire Jets over the weekend.
Having already lost player-coach Fab Flournoy as well as young guns Jamie Glen and Ross Wilson, the guard had to leave Sport Central in a wheelchair last Friday night and it was later confirmed it was the last contribution he would make during what had been another impressive campaign when he made the BBL Team Of The Week on a number of occasions.
“We’re all really sad for Joe when it was confirmed over the weekend by the doctors that he will be out for the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles.” explained Blake.
“He will be having surgery but whatever they do in terms of having to operate, won’t change the fact we won’t see him back in an Eagles vest between now and the summer.”
“While it’s sport and these things happen from time to time, the most disappointing thing is that we already have Fab (Flournoy) missing with a serious injury as well as young guys like Ross Wilson and Jamie Glen.”
“This leaves us short at the worst possible time of the season and we are now working to bring someone else in and build the roster because we can’t operate with these numbers. It affects the guys in practice during the week, not just in games.”
“I know there will be a temptation for Fab to rush himself back but coming back earlier than planned is an absolute non-starter.”
While the loss of Chapman and Flournoy delivered a real hammer-blow to the Eagles, they shrugged off the absence of the pair to complete a 17 point second half turnaround to secure a stunning and morale boosting 77-76 win at Glasgow Rocks to retain top spot in the BBL Championship with Charles Smith claiming 29 points against his former club.
Also racking up weekend win doubles were Prestige Homes MK Lions and Worcester Wolves. Then Lions remain the form team in the BBL Championship and continue to make up ground in impressive fashion after a thrilling 101-100 win over Raiders and a victory at Essex courtesy of a stellar 41 point haul from Stefan Gill.
Worcester Wolves meanwhile are now back hunting for a play-off spot just like the Lions after destroying Worthing Thunder at home and then travelling to Cheshire Jets to run out 90-88 winners in an overtime thriller complete a truly miserable weekend for their hosts.
Elsewhere, Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders dished out a real pasting to Guildford Heat as their 95-64 home win took them above the visitors in the standings while having already lost at Milton Keynes, the UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders failed to bounce back at home to One Health Sharks Sheffield. The BBL Cup winners remained in the thick of the title race with a convincing 95-78 success.