Eddie Matthew is adamant Newcastle Eagles will end their recent BBL showpiece Final heartache this weekend, insisting the club is in unstoppable form after a run of 19 straight wins.
Not since their 86-81 defeat to Worcester Wolves on the opening day of the BBL season back in September have the Eagles tasted defeat in a match.
Such success would certainly appear to put the table toppers as favourites for this Sunday’s BBL Cup final showdown at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena against rivals Glasgow Rocks.
A glance at recent finals appearances though suggests a glimmer of hope for the Rocks with Matthew’s team having lost both the BBL Championship Play-Off and BBL Cup finals in the last two seasons.
However 18-year-old point-guard Matthew is confident their current run and a invaluable strength in depth to their team means they can get over the line this time around.
“The season has been absolutely terrific so far. Of course it started off on a bit of a negative note losing to Worcester but since then we’ve really come into our own,” he said.
“We’ve got a really good squad, it’s really deep as well. Other teams maybe have six or seven guys who can come in and contribute but we’ve got ten guys who are there ready to play who can all bring something to the team.
“It’s 19 wins in a row now, it doesn’t look like anyone can stop us and that’s the way we feel so I’m really looking forward to the final. Hopefully we can continue to push on.
“The BBL Cup final is a really great event. We’ve struggled a little bit in the last couple of seasons, we’ve lost a few finals in a row now.
“But the way we’ve been playing at the moment, we really feel like we can win this. And if we play as well as we can, we can win it quite comfortably.”
Extra spice is added to the final due to the rivalry between the two sides, with Eagles enjoying the recent bragging rights having completed the league double over Rocks this season.
And Matthew, who joined the Newcastle Eagles academy as a 14-year-old, knows neither side will holding back for their third meeting of the season.
“Whenever we play Glasgow it’s always a really big game. All of us know how important it is, we all know Glasgow will be giving it their all,” he added.
“They’re a really good team, they can hurt you in so many different ways, they are a really good three-point shooting team. We are all really excited for it and I am as well.
“Playing for the Newcastle Eagles is an absolute honour. When I was first signed for the clubs two seasons ago I had to pinch myself almost. It was an amazing thing, playing for the club from such a young age, supporting them every week and then finally being able to step out onto the court was and still is phenomenal.”
The BBL Cup Final is a highlight of the UK basketball calendar. The Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham is expected to sell out on Sunday 11 January with tickets available from www.theticketfactory.com/bblcupfinal or via 0844 338 8000.
By Will Piper, Sportsbeat