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After a disappointing home loss to the Bristol Flyers, the 7th placed side in the League standings, the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles were looking to bounce back to winning ways down in Surrey on Saturday night.

The Eagles faced a Scorchers side sitting in eighth place needing a victory to keep their hopes of a top four finish in The League alive and with that the prize of a possible home court advantage in the end of season playoff quarter finals.

Unfortunately, it was not to be as for the second time in three days Newcastle came unstuck against an opponent ranked below them in the league table. It was another blow to Head Coach Marc Steutel and his hopes for his team.

Rickey McGill’s 14 points and 6 assists weren’t enough as Eagles Men slipped to a second successive defeat. (Photos: Surrey Scorchers)

The Eagles now have two games left to salvage their playoff status and try to gain some momentum going into the end of season competition which offers the last chance of silverware this campaign.

They face Cheshire Phoenix at home in The Vertu Motors Arena this coming Friday night (April 19th) then finish the regular season on the road in Manchester the following day.

Nothing less than two wins are needed and even then they manage to achieve that they will still be dependant on other results falling their way to obtain their highest possible placing. It seems a tall order for a side who have only won two of their last nine games.

But never say never. If the saying ‘you learn from your mistakes,’ is right then Steutel, his coaching staff and his players have six days to consider the latest two losses and look to put things right for the final two regular season games.

If they can turn things around in their favour for those two games then it would give them momentum and confidence to face whoever the results throw-in their way in the final playoff competition.

Once again going into a crucial game Steutel was unable to call on the services of Josh Ward-Hibbert. The GB international wingman had missed Thursday’s defeat at home to Bristol and was again missing from the roster and rotation through injury for this game.

Early on though Newcastle did make the better start and led 8 points to 4. Little did they realise that would represent their biggest lead of the night. Surrey levelled and then both sides went toe-to-toe until at 17 points all Scorchers made their first decisive run.

An 11 points to 2 burst from the hosts, the two being from the free throw line for Eagles, gave Surrey their first significant lead as they took the first period 28 to 19.

Scorchers continued to blaze in front and were in control of the game at this stage. The Eagles 3-headed-snake of Jordan Johnson, Rickey McGill and Larry Austin Jr just about keeping their side in the game.

However, Surrey did manage to go up by double-digits as the second period unfolded until they established a sixteen-point cushion at 50 – 34 and Newcastle were looking for inspiration.

They found it initially when Malcolm Delpeche and Devin Whitfield came off the bench and helped their side and teammates produce an 11 points to 1 burst to end the half and cut the deficit to single figures at 51 to 45 as the sides headed for the locker rooms.

Eagles Men will be looking to get back to winning ways as they head closer to the Play-Offs. (Photos: Surrey Scorchers)

The third quarter was brutal. Neither side’s offence could shake off the other’s defence as an attritional ten minutes of basketball was played. Surrey did score the first four points to go back up by double figures and led 63 – 51 as the quarter wound down.

But with the home side in foul trouble once again Newcastle closed the quarter out well and seven unanswered points, five from the charity stripe and a Johnson layup cut the gap to five points before Andrew Lawrence nailed the final bucket of the period.

It meant Scorchers led by seven going into the final period. Eagles made the stronger start to that ten-minute stretch and it was game on at 68 to 65. But a 10 to 2 run either side of the TV Time-out reestablished Surrey’s double figure advantage.

McGill tried to bring his side back one more time inside the final three minutes but with time running out and Surrey still leading, the Eagles frustrations and discipline boiled over.

A technical foul on Austin Jr followed by two more on Coach Steutel who was disqualified from the game and had to leave the court was the final nail in the Eagles coffin and ended their resistance as Surrey controlled the situation to close out the win.

So, another night where Newcastle just didn’t quite bring their A game to bear. Without Ward-Hibbert and Will Neighbour who although suited up didn’t play, their rotations were limited and when players struggled it was hard to find a spark from elsewhere.

Only Johnson scored at the levels Newcastle needed. Their forwards apart from a good effort from Darius Defoe and a brief cameo from Delpeche were largely ineffective and their guards couldn’t score heavily enough to turn the game in the Eagles favour.