Chris Bunten has put Sunday’s WBBL Cup revenge mission on the backburner as Newcastle Eagles target a win against Nottingham Wildcats tonight.
There is little doubt that the game of the weekend is a mouthwatering quarter-final clash against Sevenoaks Suns at Sport Central tomorrow with a 5pm tip.
But Bunten has ordered his players to put any thoughts of avenging last weekend’s crushing defeat to the Suns out of their minds with valuable league points up for grabs.
“We have to focus fully on the next game and we have the talent to take a win at the Wildcats,” said the Newcastle playcaller.
“At any other time of the season we’d be going down there determined to win and the prospect of a cup semi on Sunday shouldn’t change that.
“If we go into the Sevenoaks match on the back of a victory then it will give everyone a huge confidence boost.
“If we take our eye off the ball and lose then that’s the worst possible outcome – we come back empty-handed and with a loss preying on our minds.
“I’ve gone on record saying that progress in the WBBL Cup is a priority. But not at the expense of a professional performance in Nottingham.”
Bunten will be without Aussie all-rounder Georgia Ohrdorf as the WBBL rookie recovers from suspected concussion.
And influential skipper Giulia Simioni faces a late fitness test as she struggles to shake off the foot injury picked up on international duty last month.
But Bunten insisted his players can bounce back from last weekend’s double defeat after claiming two disappointing results were not a true reflection of his team’s performances.
“In truth we did well to shut down the Suns’ main scorers for most of the game,” he added. “It was an encouraging defensive performance in many respects but our offence was poor throughout.
“It didn’t help that we hadn’t recognised Georgia might have been suffering from concussion. Looking back at the tape she missed some easy lay-ups and that was something we should have picked up on at the time.
“Kara Bonenberger was coming back from injury and although she played more minutes than I anticipated she still isn’t at full fitness.
“We’ll be better this weekend and we want to progress to the semi-finals. But the best preparation for Sunday will be a win on Saturday.”
Fans attending our WBBL Game this Sunday afternoon at Sport Central will be able to watch the men’s BBL Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg live from the Copper Box on big screens in the corporate lounge there from 4:00pm and then join us on the balcony for the women’s game which tips-off at 5pm.
WBBL Game tickets are on sale in advance now or can be purchased on the door for just £5 per person. Entry for this event is free for BBL Season Ticket Holders.