Newcastle Eagles welcome WBBL basketball to the club’s brand new home on Wednesday night with owner Paul Blake promising fans an exciting glimpse of the future.
Newcastle host Durham Palatinates at the Eagles Community Arena as top flight women’s hoops lands in Scotswood.
And Blake is confident the club’s decision to take on the now defunct Team Northumbria will reap huge rewards for aspiring female players across the region.
“As a club and a foundation we want to grow girls’ basketball and running a WBBL team is part of that commitment,” said the Eagles’ managing director.
“Financially it was a significant undertaking but in terms of what we can do for the women’s game and the local community it was a no brainer.
NEXT BBL HOME GAME
“What supporters will see this week is only the start. We want to build the women’s development programme and that’s something that all of us fundamentally believe in.
“Like everyone here, the WBBL team is finding its feet at the ECA but I’m sure it won’t be long before they feel right at home.”
Newcastle lost against a strong Sheffield Hatters side last time out but coach Chris Bunten was missing three key players.
Adoniah Lewis, Rachael Bland and Gerda Morkunaite all return to face the Palatinates but concerns remain over the fitness of Georgia Ohrdorf.
The versatile Aussie had emerged as one of the signings of the summer after making a big impression off the bench for Bunten.
But a concussion suffered before Christmas is continuing to trouble Ohrdorf and she may be rested against Durham.
“We sat out Georgia for the required time immediately after her concussion but it seems she may still have returned too soon,” said Bunten.
“With an injury like this we have to be extra careful and she hasn’t trained at all this week.
“She’s been told there is no long term damage – it’s just a case of her being sensible and resting as much as possible.
“We’ll have a look at how she’s feeling before tip-off.”
Bunten scouted Durham in their game against Sheffield last weekend and was impressed with the former’s fighting spirit in the face of a star-studded Hatters’ side.
“They’ll come here looking to battle for every ball and we’ll be ready for that,” he added. “It was tough to tell how well they played against the Hatters as Sheffield struggled to hit their shots.
“But I was reminded that Palatinates’ new signing, the American Theairra Taylor, can be a threat. She played well for Durham during her time as a BUCS player and I’m hoping she doesn’t settle in again too quickly!”
Tip-off is 8pm with doors opening at 7 and the Eagles Eats cafe open throughout the evening.
Admission to “Wednesday Night WBBL” is just £5 each or and half-price for BBL season ticket holders.