Newcastle Eagles travel across the country to the North West today to take on the BBL’s fourth-ranked team Cheshire Phoenix today.
They will travel in good heart and with confidence high after a superb Friday night win at home against Sheffield Sharks.
The Eagles produced a stunning final quarter performance against the Sharks taking the final ten minutes by 26 points to 10 to seal an impressive 84 – 70 victory. It was much needed as Newcastle look to make a run for an end of season play-off berth.
They need to keep that momentum going, be defensively solid and execute on offence if they are to beat a Cheshire side that they’ve already lost to twice this season. Phoenix are sitting on 11 wins and 11 loses and are a side very difficult to beat on their own court.
But finally this seems like an Eagles roster that is coming together the way Head Coach Marc Steutel had hoped they would. They now need to turn that potential into consistency and try to follow up Friday’s great performance with another.
GB International guard Ben Mockford is a former Phoenix player and he returns to his old club today after arguably having his biggest impact on a game in his Eagles career so far.
He came off the bench to net 13-points personal and help Newcastle to a great win and was naturally delighted at the end of the game.
“It was a good team win. We had a long two weeks of practice and didn’t play last weekend which I think we needed. So we’re kind of settled now and need to get into a groove start playing together and start playing with confidence.”
“We just stuck with it all night. Sheffield are a tough team. We took their punches and kept grinding it out like we do in practice and it was great to show that on court tonight.”
Through three quarters there was nothing in the game as both sides went back and forward. Then Newcastle exploded in that final ten minutes at both ends of the floor.
“We were feeding off each other and that’s how we should play. We finally came together and hopefully we can take that into Sunday’s game and progress further.”
As for his own performance Mockford is an experienced guard that knows he has a role to play within this Newcastle roster.
“I’m always going to stay ready and this is not my first rodeo. But it’s not about individuals. This was a huge team win one we really needed so we’re happy. But the work isn’t done.”
Sage words from Mockford who knows that going to Cheshire today isn’t going to be easy.
“They’re another tough team. Very good defensively and they play very well together and for each other. It’s always hard to get a win in that gym. Hopefully though the Sheffield game was the one that go us over the hump and we need to play consistently now.”
A win in Cheshire would complete a great weekend for the Eagles and would be a win that would really show they are ready to make some noise in the second half of the season. But Newcastle know it won’t be easy and they have to be ready and focused.
Fans not travelling to Cheshire can watch the action live on the BBL YouTube channel.