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Cheshire Phoenix vs Newcastle Eagles – Preview

by Vlad Ionasc

Cheshire will look to pick up a much-needed win in their last home game of 2020 when they’ll take on Louis Sayers’ Newcastle Eagles.

The Nix were knocked out of the BBL Cup in the group-stage and have only picked up one win in their first four games in the regular season, while their opponents have qualified for the Semi-Final stage of the Cup and have only suffered one loss (76-77 vs. Plymouth Raiders) in their opening four games in the BBL Championship.

Cheshire have benefitted from a full week’s rest coming into tonight’s game, whereas their opponents have had to play two mid-week games against the Bristol Flyers and Worcester Wolves.

GAME DETAILS

Date: Sunday, 20th December, 2020

Tip-off: 5 p.m.

Competition: BBL Championship

Where: EPSV (limited in-person attendance)

How to watch: BBL Player

The BBL Player is the new one-stop-shop for all BBL action as you can watch every club and every game (excluding Bristol’s home gameslive and on-demand for £19.99 per month. Alternatively, single-game passes are priced at £4.99.

Because of how the BBL is structured, all the money from the BBL Player goes directly to the clubs, so make sure to select the Cheshire Phoenix as your ‘club to support’ when registering, as all the revenue will help carry the club through this incredibly difficult period of financial insecurity.

EAGLES SCOUTING REPORT

Photo Credit: Newcastle Eagles

Drew Lasker, Rahmon Fletcher, Darius Defoe, Eddie Matthew, Themba Yabantu, Sauveur Kande have all returned to the Eagles for the 2020/21 season meanwhile Mike Morsell, Nick Schlitzer, Sade Aded Hussein, Rodney Glasgow, CJ Gettys, Kai Williams, and Will Saunders all left the club during the summer.

Ian MacLeod bolstered his squad with the additions of Cortez Edwards, Rex Pflueger, Justin Gordon, Evan Maxwell, and Louis Sayers.

The Eagles were drawn alongside the London Lions, Leicester Riders and Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Cup and finished first (4-2 record) in what was dubbed the ‘Group of Death’.

Tonight’s visitors currently find themselves in second place in the BBL Championship, thanks to their 3-1 start in the competition.

Newcastle’s most emblematic player — Rahmon Fletcher — leads the league in assists and also finds himself in the top four in points, steals, and fouls drawn.

As a team, the Eagles are only shooting 25.3% from 3-point territory.

KEY PLAYERS

Photo Credit: Newcastle Eagles

Newcastle Eagles: Rahmon Fletcher – As previously mentioned, Newcastle’s floor general is ranked in the upper echelon of almost every statistical category, and the Eagles seem to go as he goes. Fletcher averages 18.5 points on 53.1% FG when Newcastle win and just 15.6 points on 40% FG when they lose. Kahron Ross has delighted Phoenix fans with his performances up to this point but the ‘Fletcher test’ will surely be his toughest yet.

Cheshire Phoenix: Jimbo Lull – Phoenix’s big-man will have to take care of Newcastle’s Evan Maxwell, who ranks joint-first in blocks and second in rebounds in the BBL Championship. The Dowling (NCAA D2) alum also averages the second most points-per-game (19.6) in the BBL Cup. Maxwell is listed at 6-foot-8, so Lull will benefit from the size advantage. While the backcourt duel between Ross & McCall and Fletcher & Cortez will undoubtedly be very entertaining to watch, the battle of the bigs could prove more decisive in terms of crowning a winner at the end of the 40 minutes.

Photo Credit: Adam Day

COACH’S CORNER

Photo Credit: Adam Day

Ben Thomas: “Today’s game against Newcastle is going to be a great test for us.

“We’re coming off a good performance against the Lions but in reality a poor weekend of results.

We need another good performance but more importantly, that win!

Newcastle are a tough team to play against because they play at such a high tempo. We know what’s needed of us and now it’s time to go and do it.”

NEXT HOME GAME

The Nix are next in action at the EPSV on the 10th of January, where they’ll be taking on the Sheffield Sharks at 5 p.m.

GO PHOENIX! BRING THE NOISE!

 

 

 

 

 

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