Derby Halt Northumbria Charge


Derby Halt Northumbria Charge
Lewis Champion Led All Scorers Against Solent (Image By Dave Moore)

Marc Steutel knows his National Cup finalists must do more ahead of this month’s winner-takes-all rematch against Team Solent.

Team Northumbria’s table toppers defeated the south coast side 76-69 to stay clear of the opposition at the summit of Division One.

And Steutel’s men will line up against the same opposition on January 22 as firm favourites to lift the first silverware of the season.

However, the TN playcaller said: “We have some work to do to prepare for playing them again in a couple of weeks.

“Having said that I was really pleased with the performance down there and we were positive in most aspects of our game.

“Lewis Champion was exceptional with a very ‘quiet’ 27 points and Tayo Oyefusi was inspired in the first quarter.”

TN couldn’t maintain their winning streak against bogey side Derby Trailblazers less than 24 hours later despite trimming a 20-point deficit to just three points late in the game.

The East Midlanders had already beaten Steutel’s side this season and once again came out on top in the league.

“It was disappointing in terms of the result,” he added after the visitors slipped to an 84-74 loss at Derby. “We never like to lose.

“However, I was extremely pleased with many aspects of our performance.

“Our second half defensive display was exceptional but we put ourselves in a difficult situation when we trailed by as many as 20.

“To get it back to three points was pleasing but we know we have to be more consistent.

“Credit to Derby - they had a tough game against Newcastle Eagles the night before but they were worthy winners.”

The Trailblazers remain hot on the heels of TN in second place as the race for the first division title hots up.

And a 2-0 league series win could yet prove pivotal come the final analysis in March.

For now TN must focus on another long road trip on Sunday ahead of their cup final seven days later.

“It’s back to business for us ahead of another tough away trip to Essex this weekend,” added Steutel.

“The guys will want to bounce back after the Derby defeat and we want to make sure we go into the Cup final full of confidence.”

TN face Essex from 4pm on Sunday.

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