November is turning in to a month of of firsts for me as I’ve been trying out lots of new experiences in Geordieland. Last week I eagerly accepted an invitation to see Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, our local basketball team, take on Worcestor Wolves in the BBL Championship and I can honestly say I’ve never had a Friday night quite like it!
I headed over to the Sport Central Arena on Northumbria University’s city centre campus straight after work and soon realised I’d arrived way too earlier but thankfully I had corporate tickets so my friend and I made ourselves at home in the hospitality suite. As we were tucking into our complimentary curry and rice the Eagles head coach and player Fabulous Flournoy (yes that really is his name!) came and spoke to us about his hopes for the game. He seemed a little nervous but he needn’t have been!
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle are British Basketball’s most successful team in history and they remain unbeaten at home this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that success was down to the passion and volume of the Eagle’s supporters! The stands were full of noisy families, groups of kids waving foam fingers and one man even had a drum, it all added up to an exhilarating atmosphere that almost lifted the lift the roof off Sport Central. I couldn’t help but get swept along in all the excitement and found myself jumping out of my seat and cheering on the Eagles like I was a member of the Northstar Cheerleaders! In truth, it took me almost an hour to work out the rules, but no one seemed to notice.
The second half was even better than the first, tensions rose as the Wolves scored 10 in a row at the end of the third quarter to take the lead at 48-53 but this seemed to spur the home crowd and the Eagle players on even more and they made a momentous comeback!
Paul Gause in particular seemed to find some extra energy from somewhere and the next thing I knew we were in overtime with Gause adding points after points to the score board! I have to say, I think he was my favourite and it did make me laugh when one of the songs played during the game featured the lyrics ‘go shorty’ as the other players towered above Gause!
As you can see, The Esh Group Eagles Newcastle acheived an epic victory in the end, despite the lead changing hands several times throughout the game! The players weren’t just technically brilliant, they were thoroughly entertaining too as were the hosts Howard Leighton and Dan Black, I was kept captivated all evening!
It was great to see so many kids enjoying themselves too, they loved every minute including the half time entertainment like ‘chuck a duck’! So if you’re ever stuck for ideas for a family outing with a difference I would highly recommend an evening at the Sport Central Arena to see The Esh Group Eagles Newcastle. Check out their website for details of upcoming games and ticket info!
Images kindly supplied by Newcastle Eagles Photographer Dave Moore. Click HERE to see more of his work.
By Rachel Kershaw