With seven league games of the season to go Newcastle Eagles WBBL team are still in the play-off positions sitting seventh in the table.
This weekend they have a tough double-header to contend with to try and keep that play-off bid alive.
First up it’s on the road at Leicester Riders, a side currently sitting second in the standings and one that ran the all-conquering London Lions fairly close in the WBBL Trophy Final just last Sunday.
This is also the same Leicester side that defeated Newcastle in a WBBL Trophy semi-final by 91 – 63 on their own court just two weeks ago. The Riders have only lost twice all season and present a formidable task for an Eagles side going in on the back of a loss last weekend.
That loss was against Oaklands Wolves. A game Newcastle had marked up as a potential win with their opponents below them in the league. In the end despite forcing overtime, Head Coach Noelia Cacherio’s side came up short and suffered a damaging loss.
Of course there were mitigating factors. Not least of which was the absence through injury of Katie Nolan, Zoe Willis and Abby Lowe. Of that trio Coach Cacheiro is very optimistic that Lowe will be available this weekend.
It might not be enough to turn around the fortunes against Riders but it will certainly help Newcastle in the second part of the double-header which sees Lowe’s old club Durham Palatinates come to the Vertu Motors Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Durham after a disastrous start to the season are now beginning to find their feet and with several games in hand are a real danger to Newcastle’s play-off hopes. It’s going to be a derby clash that looks a really exciting contest on paper.
Head Coach Cacheiro gave her thoughts on the weekend’s match-ups and the task ahead as well as commenting on last weekend’s loss to Oaklands.
“It was a disappointing loss at Wolves but there was a lot of positives to take from the game. Mainly looking at what we’ve got left this season knowing we’ve got that fighting spirit within us.”
“Coming back from thirteen points down in the last four and a half minutes was huge and the girls really had to go after it and some played 40+ minutes so a lot was asked but then again that’s a hole that we dug.”
“We need to be better and we need to be ready to come out and play defence which we weren’t ready to do last weekend. Having Abby back will help. She’s one of the keys to both our offence and defence as she’s an energy player. She’s someone that can definitely make things happen.”
“Leicester we know will be tough and we need to focus on one game at a time. We’re hoping to have a good weekend, good performances and are really targeting a win against Durham.”
“Right now considering where we are in the league the Durham game is a must-win one and we must have that winning mentality to take into that game.”
Like The Eagles, Durham also have a tough game on Saturday against Sheffield Hatters but they have the advantage of being at home and with an earlier tip-off time. It could make a difference.
However, whilst both sides could be forgiven for having one eye on that Derby game they both have business to take care of on Saturday and for Cacheiro and her charges the hope is a good performance against Leicester and no further injuries being picked up.