Newcastle Eagles v Glasgow Rocks
Friday 23rd January 2015
Following the Rock’s win over Falkirk Fury in the BBL Trophy, it was back to league business. It would be a tough weekend with a road game against the Newcastle Eagles on Friday 23rd January and another road game against the Durham Wildcats on Sunday 25th January.
I had been looking forward to this weekend for some time and from discussions on the Supporters Club Facebook page, it appeared that Rocks fans would be well represented at both games this weekend.
Having put our hotel postcode into our not-so-trusty SatNav we loaded our bags in the car, tried to ignore the despondent looks from our dog as we left her with Rob’s parents for the weekend and set off on our journey.
We made good time and arrived at our hotel in just under three hours. If any Traffic Police are reading this then it took us three and a half hours. We checked in, dumped our bags, looked out our Rocks tops and met up with Andy and Kirsty, who incidentally were staying in the room next to us. At this point we decided to head into the city centre for some drinks before the game.
Kirsty offered (was forced?) to drive us all which was nice of her. Three of us were excited about the night ahead; Rob was excited about getting to sit in a car which he had never before seen the inside of. At this point we knew it was going to be a long night.
After parking the car we found a Wetherspoons and had some drinks before taking a short walk to Sports Central. The venue was busy inside but they had separate desks for collecting your tickets depending on your surname so we didn’t have to wait in a queue. We collected our tickets from the cheery lady behind the desk and headed on through to the main concourse where our tickets were checked by another friendly staff member. There was a merchandise table nearby but I didn’t get a chance to have a look at it – not that I would be buying anything! Apparently they have quite a varied range of items including both male and female clothing.
We entered the hall and I was impressed. There were seats on all four sides of the court, all of which were filling up nicely with still 30 minutes until tip. They had two large TV screens on either end of the court but I can’t remember what they were showing at that point. They were also running a shooting competition beside one of the sections. I think it was 50p a go and if you made the shot you won a foam finger. It seemed pretty popular.
Scanning the seats, we found some Rocks fans seated behind the team bench. After a quick chat with them, we discovered that our four tickets were not beside the rest of the fans. We had been randomly placed in one of the blocks behind a basket, in amongst all the home support. Cue grumpy faces.
Nevertheless we took our seats and watched as both teams warmed up, including our new signing Reggie Middleton. The fact we were seated in such a random section was still annoying us, so much so that both Rob and Andy decided they had to get some beer to cheer themselves up. When they returned, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Rob so happy. Not even when I bought him a PS4 for his birthday. He had come back with not just one pint of beer, but two pints. In the one cup. For £5 (£3 for one pint). Apparently this was “awesome!”. I also got a long description of how they sold a large choice of food including hot dogs and pizzas. The main point I got from his ramblings was that Newcastle seem to have a much better selection of food and drink compared to Glasgow.
By this point it was only 5 minutes until tip and there were 4 empty seats beside the rest of the away fans. So we headed over to join everybody else. I’m still unsure why we were given tickets in the home section, but I have been told this mistake is not unusual for Newcastle.
The Rocks team was introduced and we all shouted, cheered, blew our horns and Andy banged his drum. Then we all fell silent. Why I hear you ask? Before the Eagles team were introduced, we had to sit through a BBL Cup trophy presentation. Although I’m sure it was worse for the team to sit through than the fans. This was the Eagles first home game since they had won the cup so it was understandable they wanted to have a presentation – it was just unfortunate that the first home game happened to be against the Rocks. Nevertheless the majority of us managed to politely clap while thinking evil thoughts about Charles Smith.
Finally the game tipped off. Rocks started well and Eagles started poorly. By the end of Q1 we had a 22 – 17 lead. However the Eagles started to gain a little control in Q2 and by half time they had a 40 – 35 lead. In Q3 we managed to bring the score back to within 1 point but a number of errors meant that the Eagles finished the quarter with a 75 – 56 lead. The game continued in a similar fashion for the final quarter and the Eagles took the win 96 – 67. It was another hard one to take. It seems we can’t find a way past the Eagles. They are a quality side. Charles Smith was top scorer with 21 points and Kieron Achara was second with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Both Dale Grieve and Fraser Glass got around 2 minutes of game time but unfortunately didn’t get any points on the board. My two highlights from the game was Charles Smith glaring at us when we tried to put him off his free throws (it didn’t work!) and Jonny Bunyan playing extremely well for the minutes he was given. 2 assists, 1 steal and 8 points in 16 minutes is not to be overlooked. The atmosphere for the whole game was great, better than the Emirates, with good crowd interaction and good music. At this point I should mention a few Eagles fans came over to talk to us at the game. They were all very pleasant, particularly as they are meant to be our enemy!
This game was the fourth time we had played Newcastle so far this season. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’m beginning to get a little bored of playing them – and that’s not because we’ve lost to them every time! However in just over a week we once again welcome the Eagles back to Glasgow for our quarter final Trophy game. Will the Rocks new signing Reggie Middleton propel us to victory? Or will the Eagles once again be the cause of more trophy competition heartbreak?