Blogs & Opinion


Daniel Routledge reflects on Newcastle's rocky road to the Cup Final

Daniel Routledge Posted 7th December 2012 view comments

Daniel Routledge nearly came a cropper as Plymouth ran Newcastle close in the BBL Cup semi-final.

There are many ways to enjoy BBL basketball, but I can confirm that watching statcast on someone else's phone whilst they laugh at you for saying something silly, is definitely not one of them.

After commentating on the Sheffield-Leicester semi-final, the Riders' GM Russell Levenston came up to me waving his phone: "Have you seen the score in Newcastle? Plymouth are up 17 with two minutes to play!"

Matt Schneck: his double-double took Plymouth agonisingly close (Pic: Ville Vuorinen)

Matt Schneck: his double-double took Plymouth agonisingly close (Pic: Ville Vuorinen)

It took me a second or two to digest it. The tie was level on aggregate and in this column last week I'd said if Newcastle give up a 17-point first leg lead at Sports Central, then I'd dunk over Foxy off the trampette when I go down to the Pavilions next week.

Of course I got little sympathy from Russell or Riders' assistant Phil Gleadell, who both found the prospect hilarious and were openly rooting for the Raiders just to make it happen.

Russell even suggested that I should do it at the Cup Final as part of the half-time entertainment instead. Fortunately for me, the Eagles managed to pull out the win.

Daniel Routledge
Quotes of the week

Russell even suggested that I should do it at the Cup Final as part of the half-time entertainment instead. Fortunately for me, the Eagles managed to pull out the win, but not before the Raiders had taken the tie into overtime.

Shock

In my defence, who out there actually thought the Eagles would lose by 17 points at home? I could be wrong, but I don't think they've lost by that many on their own floor in almost six years.

Credit to Matt Schneck who had a monster double-double of 28 points and 16 rebounds and Colin O'Reilly also came up big for Plymouth. And with Jeremy Bell making some clutch shots down the stretch, they were agonisingly close to making me regret my throw-away comment.

They started the season a little slowly, but the Raiders are beginning to look like the team we thought they were.

It will be interesting to see how Newcastle react to what was, even though they reached the Cup final, still a loss at home, their second of the season now. I'll get a chance to see firsthand as our Sky Sports game this week pits the Eagles and Raiders together again, this time in the championship.

These two teams have been vying for honours over the last couple of seasons, so it's weird to see their last eight games have ended with winning margins one way or the other by 17 (40 minutes), 17, 16, 9, 9, 9, 21 and 23. That's a lot of blow outs for two seemingly evenly matched teams.

Let's hope this weekend's encounter is a close one!

Travels

It's an interesting weekend for the champions, they stop off at Worcester on the way to Plymouth to meet a Wolves sides rejuvenated by finally having Sherrad Prezzie-Blue back in the line-up, as well as signing ex-Cheshire forward Kai Williams.

Worcester is always a tough place to play and there is no doubt those two guys will make them better as they look for that all-important consistency. Whether that is enough to beat the champions at this early stage remains to be seen.

Away from the league action, we'll find out who Newcastle will play at the National Indoor Arena on January 13th as Leicester and Sheffield finish off their Cup semi-final match-up with the second leg at John Sandford.

Of course the Riders go into the home leg with a 20-point cushion after last week's victory in Sheffield so will start as massive favourites.

In fact, I'd go as far to say if Leicester give up a 20-point lead at John Sandford then I'll....... applaud Atiba Lyons and his team for a remarkable comeback. See? I've learnt my lesson!!!

back to top

Other Basketball Experts:

Latest Posts in Basketball:

Latest News RSS feeds

Celtics trade Rondo to Dallas

The Boston Celtics traded four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

NBA: Bulls see off Knicks

Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and added seven assists as the Chicago Bulls saw off New York Knicks 103-97.

Grizzlies outlast Spurs

Marc Gasol scored 26 points as Memphis outlasted San Antonio 117-116 in triple overtime.

NBA: Warriors long run ended

Golden State has suffered their first defeat in more than a month, losing 105-98 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.

NBA: Williams inspires Raptors

Raptors stay top after Lou Williams comes off the bench to inspire Toronto Raptors to their third consecutive victory.

Features

NBA: Kobe Bryant has overtaken Michael Jordan's record - so is he the better player?

NBA: Kobe Bryant has overtaken Michael Jordan's record - so is he the better player?

There was an inevitability about Kobe Bryant overhauling the mighty Michael Jordan’s NBA points-scoring tally on Sunday night but the true value of the legendary pair might have been best underlined by a shot that Bryant missed.

How does Giancarlo Stanton's record contract compare to other US sports stars?

How does Giancarlo Stanton's record contract compare to other US sports stars?

In an era where elite-level sportspeople are the beneficiaries of colossal contracts and subject of eye-watering transfer fees, the richest contract in the history of sport is in the process of being signed.

Gaz Choudhry: Wheelchair basketball needs better profile in the UK

Gaz Choudhry: Wheelchair basketball needs better profile in the UK

A British wheelchair basketball star wants a professional league to be launched in Britain to enable disabled players to ply their trade at home.