Stuart Thomson and Esh Group Eagles Newcastle can complete a special double if they claim the season’s first piece of silverware in the BBL Cup Final against Leicester Riders on Sunday.
Thomson joined Eagles in the summer to offer some strength from the bench after impressing against the North East club while playing for Manchester Giants and Cheshire Phoenix before that.
His signing saw him follow in the footsteps of older brother Andrew, who was a key part of Newcastle’s quadruple-winning side of 2012, before moving to mainland Europe to ply his trade in France.
And following a flying start to his own Eagles career, Stuart is relishing a shot at the season’s first big prize.
“It feels great to be heading to the finals for a chance to win the first silverware up for grabs this year and I look forward to the challenge,” said the 25-year-old.
“We have a solid group of players and personalities on this team that have come together well over the first half of the season and we have confidence in each other that none of us will quit when times are hard.”
Thomson senior experienced both sides of the Cup Final coin having lost in the showpiece event with Mersey Tigers against One Health Sharks Sheffield the year before tasting success as an Eagle.
But turkey, not trophies, was the only topic at the Thomson table this Christmas.
Stuart added: “We spent time together at Christmas but there was no real talk of the finals.
“We have both played in big games in our careers, albeit mine in college in America, but a big game is a big game wherever you are.
“When the lights come on it’s time to perform it’s that simple.
“We have both had losses in finals and victories, both being as sweet or painful as the other when you practice your craft everyday.”
Without a game last weekend Eagles used an exhibition clash against Leeds Carnegie on Tuesday to work together and ‘find some game rhythm’, something which could be crucial come Sunday as the two teams meet for the first time this season.
“It’s going to be challenging and the first few minutes will be interesting as both teams size each other up and get familiar,” said the 6ft 6in forward.
“But the Riders will be a challenge as both teams are driven by tough defence, so creative and well executed offence will be very important.
He added: “Experience will help us settle into the game at the start, finding our rhythm and style of play. Maybe most importantly it will help us close out the game in the dying minutes.”
If Newcastle are able to do that, recent history suggests they could be in for a successful season.
In the previous two terms they lifted the BBL Cup, in 2006 and 2011, the Trophy, Championship and Play-off crowns followed, a result of increased freedom and belief according to Thomson.
“Every victory gives a team confidence.
“But a victory in a final is added confidence and frees the players of some pressure to win, helping them to play more freely, which is always a dangerous thing for opponents as individual players’ skills and attributes begin to show through even more.”