Last weekend was a very disappointing one for Esh Group Eagles Newcastle as they crashed out of The BBL Cup at the semi-final stage, writes Jeff King. A realistic chance to get back to a showpiece final was shattered by a London Lions who won the two-legged tie by an aggregate of ten points.
For Head Coach Fab Flournoy and his coaching staff, it’s now all about how they get the players back up and focused as they face a difficult Championship game this Friday against a red-hot Sheffield Sharks side. Assistant Coach Ian Macleod spoke about their plans.
“We bounce back the only way we can, really. Review the game, analyse the video and attempt to put things right on the practice floor, taking the improvements into Friday’s game at Sheffield.”
After beating Lions by two-points in the first leg, the Eagles lost the second by twelve and Macleod addressed the difference in the two games as well as giving some thoughts on where he believes the side need to improve.
“I think in the home leg we did some good things defensively, and while we didn’t score a huge amount of points, we were able to limit London and take a 2-point lead into the second leg. Ideally, that would have been a larger lead.”
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“The second leg was simply the reverse of that. While we were able to score, and even left a few easy ones out there, we didn’t stifle them enough on the defensive end. We have to stay focused and locked in for longer stretches.”
“It isn’t tactical, it’s about being in the moment and executing consistently. We can’t do that for a few minutes at a time, it needs to be consistent and relentless.”
Even winning the first leg was no consolation to an Eagles side that were outplayed and out thought by a very good Lions side.
“If it was a home and away league game, and a one-off game, then maybe we could take something away from it. Realistically, we will be judged on the last game we play. They did a good job of playing with tempo and intensity.”
“Offensively wasn’t the issue, whatever their game plan was, we scored 85 points and missed some easy ones that should have pushed us into the 90’s and possible above.”
But, as Macleod mentioned they have to move on and in to Sheffield for their next big test against a Sharks side that have won seven games in a row. Macleod knows who tough and important in the context of Newcastle’s season that one is going to be.
“They are a team who have regrouped well. They had one or two disappointing performances early on, and they made some personnel changes which have given them a boost, it will be a tough game, it always is at Sheffield, and we need to respond to that challenge on Friday.”
“While no-one remains unbeaten, it seems like every game is a must win. Right now, the result is as important as the performance as we look to put things right. They are coming off a great result at Leicester and they will be feeling confident on their home court.”
The Eagles have already lost four in the league so far this season so they really need to be focused and switched on to make sure it’s not five especially as a win would also put a dent in the hopes of a Championship rival.
Fans not able to travel to Sheffield on Friday can watch the game live for free on the BBL website in a pilot to test brand new automated camera technology being trialled by the league and its broadcast partners.