North East Connected

Friday fever

It’s still all to play for in the BBL Championship title and Play-Off races as we enter the penultimate weekend of the regular season.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle will not relinquish their title easily and they can build some momentum ahead of next week’s potentially decisive clash away at Leicester Riders, if they overcome their double-header this weekend.
Fab Flournoy’s side host Glasgow Rocks this evening having won the last 15 meetings between the two, before making a trip to the capital to take on the London Lions on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Leicester are also in double action as they aim to maintain top spot with a home game against Sheffield Sharks tomorrow following tonight’s road game against Leeds Force.
Not only is it another big game for the Riders, but it’s also hugely important for Leeds as they battle to keep their post-season hopes alive. And, last week’s victory over London Lions has done wonders for their confidence, according to GB centre Zak Wells.
“Beating the Lions was definitely huge for us,” he declared.

“It has raised our level of belief in ourselves and given us a massive burst of confidence moving forward.

“We know we are up against it in regards to making the Play-Offs, but we are certainly up for the challenge.

“We need to try and cause an upset against the Riders and know that we have to be close to perfect in order to stand a chance against them.

Leeds need results to go their way if they are to reach the top eight, and Wells admits that his side are aware of the possible scenarios, but insists they need to focus purely on their own performances when it comes to game-time.

“It is hard not to get caught up with all the different permutations at this stage of the season as it’s always in the back of players’ minds,” he said.

“Every team wants to make the Play-Offs and it would be historic for Leeds Force knowing that they are one of the new teams in the BBL and have not been to the post-season as of yet.

“I think in terms of game night; we can’t be thinking about anything other than trying to beat they guys we are facing.”

Plymouth University Raiders could potentially book their spot in the Play-Offs on Sunday if they can beat South-West rivals Bristol Flyers, who will be out of contention if they are unable to defeat Worcester Wolves this evening at the SGS Wise Arena.
Also tonight, Worcester visit the Lions as they look to regain sole control of third place, with the Sharks rounding out the weekend with a trip to Manchester Giants as they continue their push for a top-three finish.
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