Newcastle Eagles WBBL13491339Loss
Leicester Riders WBBL271561866Win

Newcastle Eagles head to Oaklands Wolves next weekend desperate for a change in fortunes following a heavy defeat at the hands of Leicester Riders.

Chris Bunten’s winless side remains bottom of the WBBL Championship on the back of a fourth straight league loss.

Watch highlights of Eagles WBBL vs Leicester Riders


And Newcastle never looked like challenging the 2021 cup finalists after a dreadful start allowed the Riders to run the first half show.

A succession of injuries, late schedule changes and concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic hardly helped a team in transition during the build-up to a key fixture.

But the Eagles were the architects of their own downfall against an assured Leicester roster that never looked like surrendering an early lead.

Newcastle converted a paltry 22 per cent of their field goals and converted just one of 14 attempts from beyond the arc.

A static offence caused the visitors few problems with only Lisa Koop and Ali Gorrell reaching double figures.

And a frustrated Maddy McVicar was held scoreless as the Riders’ defence limited the previously prolific WBBL rookie to just eight shots in 37 minutes.

The absence of injured trio Rachael Bland, Jorjah Smith and Molly Taylor hardly helped matters for the tentative Eagles.

But Bunten must be hoping for more from experienced forward Mante Kvederaviciute as the Lithuanian international attempts to recapture last season’s sparkling form.

And without McVicar’s offensive productivity Newcastle never found the cutting edge necessary to trouble Jesper Sundberg’s side.

Leicester headed to Tyneside buoyed by a 91-61 win against Caledonia Pride just 24 hours earlier.

And the rampant East Midlanders picked up where they left off to open up an ultimately unassailable 27-13 first quarter lead.

The start of GiveToLocal Super Sunday was anything but for those Eagles fans tuning in for the first part of the day’s double-header action.

But things got far worse before they got marginally better for the underwhelming hosts.

Newcastle managed just four points during a forgettable second period and an early technical foul called on a furious Bunten summed up a frustrating passage of play.

In fairness to the Eagles, a much-improved defensive display after the break restricted the Riders to just six third quarter points.

Eagles held Leicester Riders to six points in the third quarter (Credit: Kieron Carr).

On any other day limiting Leicester to single figures in a single period would have been cause for wild optimism.

But the damage had been done before half-time and Newcastle had left themselves with nothing to play for but pride.

An evenly matched final quarter saw Ruth Thornley finally find a score from beyond the arc.

And the veteran guard, who played 13 minutes after overcoming a pre-match ankle injury, was one of the few players to emerge with any credit.

Abby Lowe also showed flashes of her undoubted potential but four turnovers in 22 minutes spoiled an otherwise encouraging display.

Bunten looks set to be without Bland until next month after the Wearsider turned her ankle in training last week. And Aussie Smith was a big miss on a day when Newcastle needed to play with more aggression and carry a greater offensive threat.

Not for the first time Newcastle nemesis Kate Oliver was allowed too much time and space in the paint on her way to a double double of 22 points and 12 rebounds.

And Leicester’s MVP will be the one to watch when the Riders tip off against Midlands rivals Nottingham Wildcats in Sunday’s WBBL Cup final.