It was a disappointing weekend for the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles in The British Basketball League. Two defeats against the top two sides in the country on current form has set Newcastle back a little in their play-off push.

Head Coach Marc Steutel had previously given his thoughts on Friday night’s home loss in the Vertu Motors Arena to table topping London Lions and had his thoughts on the defeat at Trophy Final winners Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday evening.

Our Eagles were beaten 96-85 by Phoenix on Sunday. (Photos: Cheshire Phoenix)

“Cheshire was a really difficult environment to play in. It was a heated and very competitive game. Obviously disappointed with the score board that wasn’t in our favour at the start of the game.”

“Then we showed good fight and good discipline to get back into the game. I thought generally we got the looks we normally get but didn’t score the ball at the percentage we usually do.”

“Every time we tried to get back into the game we needed to be more alert and focused defensively in trying to achieve what we were trying to achieve. It was difficult It was a difficult result and one that everyone in our group was bitterly disappointed with.”

“We have to learn from it for when Cheshire come back to our place for the last game in the season series. It never helps when you get off to a slow start but you look back at it and we got the game back to a couple of possessions on multiple occasions.”

“It wasn’t so much about the score at the start it was more about the manner in which we started. We didn’t have the level of focus we needed. Everyone was prepared and ready for the game and it was an opportunity we were looking forward to.”

“So, it was disappointing to start that way but ultimately that’s basketball and that’s sport. There was still a lot of basketball left and we held them to 15 points in the second quarter.”

“We should have been down by only a basket at half-time as we missed a ‘chippy.’ If we could do it again we’d want to make sure we could start differently and stick to our game plan and for longer periods throughout the game.”

Back-to-back defeats against London Lions and Cheshire Phoenix leave the Eagles 8th in the Championship. (Photos: Gary Foster)

As always a very honest assessment from a very pragmatic coach who was clearly disappointed with the afternoon’s work. But in the British Basketball League there’s little time for rest and reflection as the games come fast and furious.

The Eagles return home on Friday to play another one of the leading sides in Caledonia Gladiators and then have to travel to Manchester Giants next Sunday. Steutel is aware of what lies ahead.

“We believe we’re a team that should be competing at the top end. Obviously playing the first placed team and the second/third placed team we wanted to come out of the weekend with at least one win. So, it was difficult not to achieve our goals.”

“It now puts the focus on Friday and welcoming in a Caledonia team who have been in good form of late. They’re a physical team so we know we have work on our hands and a big task ahead of us but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”

“Right now, it’s simply Caledonia and one game at a time and we need to make sure we understand the physical threat they pose and some of the talented guard play they have in Bothwell, Whelan and Palyza.”

“We know we need to bounce back and get the right result at home in front of our own fans.”

A bumper crowd is once again expected at the Vertu Motors Arena on Friday for ‘The Battle For The North’ and a fixture between two of the fiercest rivals in The League which is always eagerly anticipated. Remaining tickets can be found on the box office.