Date Time League Season
October 20, 2023 7:30 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Josh Ward-Hibbert insists Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles can get the jump on fierce rivals Leicester Riders tonight and put a frustrating five-game losing streak to bed.

The all-action small forward spent four seasons with the East Midlands franchise prior to a trophy-laden five-year stint with London.

And Ward-Hibbert knows what it takes to translate potential into points after establishing himself as a proven winner in the British Basketball League.

“Leicester are a well-coached team with some seriously talented players but we know we should have closed out the game against them two weeks ago,” said the 29-year-old.

Jordan Johnson taking on the Riders defence (Photo: Gary Forster)

“A lot’s changed since then and I think we’re producing better basketball and playing with more confidence.

“We’ll focus on ourselves rather than the Riders and ensure we do what we need to do to get that win.

“But I’m feeling pretty good about this weekend. The confidence within the camp is high.”

Given the fact that Newcastle are searching for a first win since September 23, it’s unusual for the Eagles’ players to be screaming positivity heading into tonight’s ‘classico’.

But the men in black were buoyed by a stellar display in London on Monday night and are relishing the early opportunity to exact revenge over the Riders.

“We’re disappointed that we don’t have more wins on the board but we’re playing some amazing basketball in spells,” added Ward-Hibbert.

“That’s where the positivity and confidence comes from. Look at how we performed in Lithuania and London — on another night we’d have won both of those games.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this group right now because we can see the progress we’re making and we can see the potential here.

Tajh Green giving the crowd a boost with one of his signature dunks against Riders last time out (Photo: Gary Forster)

“We’re just looking for that final piece of the jigsaw. Once that slots into place we’ll have something very special here and something that’s going to be a lot of fun.

“Everyone within the group can see it and we can feel we’re almost there.”
Newcastle’s incredible performance against unbeaten EuroCup contenders London has been the talk of the British basketball community this week.

And had it not been for a three-point masterclass from Lions’ Matt Morgan then the Eagles would surely have been celebrating victory on Monday.

Ward-Hibbert was bitterly disappointed not to put one over the club he left in the summer but he added: “For 35 minutes we played great basketball against a very, very good team.

Jordan Johnson drives towards the Leicester bucket at The Vertu Motors Arena (Photo: Gary Forster)

“We couldn’t maintain that level for 45 minutes but that’s the next target.

“We made significant steps forward in terms of our performance, our level of communication and our confidence in each other.

“We set certain standards and now we have to build on those standards.

“But everything is heading in the right direction and we’ll keep working and working until we get that win.”

Ward-Hibbert’s former Lions team-mate Will Neighbour returned to practice this week after missing the trip to the capital with a virus.

And there are hopes that Scott Spencer could finally take his British Basketball League bow during this weekend’s double header.

Newcastle head to Bristol early tomorrow morning — just hours after the final buzzer sounds on the Riders clash.

And head coach Marc Steutel would love to feed Spencer into his rotation as he faces back-to-back clashes against two talent-stacked rivals.

Tonight’s action tips off from 7.30pm with remaining tickets available via the box office