Newcastle Eagles face possibly their biggest weekend of the season so far with two vital games in two different competitions. On Sunday they travel to Cheshire Phoenix in the first leg of The BBL Trophy semi-final but before that they face London Lions tonight.
The clash against Lions is at the Eagles Community Arena and is a BBL Championship clash against the reigning league Champions. London not only boast Love Island’s Ovie Soko in their midst but also two-time BBL and current MVP, Justin Robinson.
Eagles own two-time BBL MVP, captain and mercurial point guard Rahmon Fletcher is really looking forward to the weekend’s games.
“Any time you come across the league’s top team in London and then Sunday being the Trophy it’s automatically a huge weekend. With the momentum we’ve got going winning or losing piggy backing in on the good things that we’ve done. “
Newcastle did lose last time out down at BBL Cup Winners Worcester Wolves last Friday but Fletcher took heart from the way the side played despite the result.
“I said in the locker room after the game that a couple of weeks ago it was more than the amount of points we lost by; it could have been a twenty-point loss. But we didn’t and we performed for the full forty minutes.”
“Worcester is a really good team. They had the momentum coming in from the Cup Final and they were still riding that high from their win. I was actually really happy with our performance. Yes, I wished some things had went different and we’d come away with a W but it’s something we can build on.”
With the likes of Eddie Matthew and Drew Lasker injured and the Rodney Glasgow eligibility situation still to be sorted Fletcher knows he has to play a lot of minutes at the moment but it’s not something that concerns him.
“I’m probably playing the most minutes of my career at Newcastle so far but it’s not something I look into saying I’m tired, I need this I need that. As a basketball player you want to play as much as possible. Whatever I need to put us in the position to win I’m going to do it.”
“If I have to play a hundred minutes, I’ll do it. I love the game and I love to compete so it’s not something that I really think about.”
“We like to take each game as it comes and there’s no doubt London’s going to be a tough one because they’re a very good team. They won the league last year they’ve retained some players and the same coaching staff and they’ve had some quality players coming in.”
“It’s going to be a good test not only for us but for them as well. They’re coming on the road top of the league and we’re still in third and no matter who we’ve played in the past we’re always up there. They’ve got to play us and we’ve got to play them. It’s basketball and we have to compete.”
Obviously one of the key battles in the game is the match-up between Fletcher and Robinson at the point guard position. It’s the sort of battle Fletcher doesn’t shy away from and thrives on.
“Justin’s a really good player and plays my position. Whenever you play basketball you want to go against whoever is the best and he’s one of the best point guards this league has seen in years. I love competing against guys like him.”
“I think this league is full of really good guards. I played last week against Edwards at Worcester, McKnight of Sheffield before that and on Sunday it’s Jackson-Cartwright. Justin is one of the top point guards and I look forward to those match-ups.”
Not only is tonight’s game a huge one in the BBL Championship, it’s also a sell-out and exactly the sort of game Fletcher wants to be involved in.
“You always want to win at home. We haven’t had the greatest success at home but we want to get a streak going. What better way than to play against London in a sell-out. I know the crowd is going to be behind us and we have to feed into that use them as our sixth man and come out with a win.”