Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Title Win Would Be in a League of Its Own for Eagles Boss

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Title Win Would Be in a League of Its Own for Eagles Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Chief Sports Writer mark.douglas@trinitymirror.com

PAUL Blake believes that winning the BBL title this year would be one of the biggest achievements in Newcastle Eagles' storied recent history.

A weekend of twists and turns provided the perfect build-up to Friday's clash between Fab Flournoy's inform Eagles and their closest challengers Sheffield Sharks at Sport Central.

Worcester Wolves are still in the title race as well, but the winners of Friday's battle between two of the biggest clubs in the north will keep their desinty in their own hands - and in truth a victory for the home side will virtually guarantee they wrestle back the title.

After Friday, Eagles go to Surrey and Birmingham - two teams who have only won four times all season - which means that effectively a win all but guarantees them the title.

However, there is still the signifi-cant hurdle of a Sheffield side that have won most of their big games lately, and boast a recent win over the Eagles to boot.

"This is the one. These are two teams in really good form and it's probably one of the biggest games we've ever played at Sport Central - certainly since 2011/12," Blake said.

"It's a massive game because we didn't win anything last year and we've not won anything this year so far. This would be our sixth league title in 10 years if we get over the line - and that is still a big 'if' - but without question this has been the toughest.

"We have never been in a threehorse race before and it's even potentially been a four-horse race, because Worcester are still around and they're still fighting.

"They are a better team than their eight losses suggests. So it would be a really fantastic achievement if we manage to close it out."

It would also be a ringing endorsement for the philosophy of Flournoy, who has coached a team put together by Dave Forrester immaculately. There have been wobbles along the way - indeed after their close defeat in Sheffield it looked like they had blown it - but to have the title race in their own hands so close to the end of the season is a major achievement. …

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