Fab Flournoy takes the blame for Wolves mauling

Fab Flournoy says he is to blame for Newcastle Eagles’ first home defeat of the season – not his players

Newcastle Eagles player coach Fab Flournoy

Eagles suffered a blow in their bid to regain the BBL title on Friday night as they were picked off by early pace-setters Worcester Wolves after failing to hit enough of their shots.

They now have a two-week break in the fixture schedule to rectify their problems and Flournoy has arranged a friendly against Huddersfield Heat to give his team more match practice before their next competitive game – against Surrey on November 10.

But he will also use the extended gap to ensure that his team’s preparation is right after admitting that he left the team without a Plan B in case they hit foul trouble.

“It was a tough one to take. I felt it was a good game and we played well, although we didn’t necessarily hit our normal shots,” he said.

“I put a lot of pressure on the team and they are only young and still growing as a group. We haven’t had that close game yet that goes to the wire with defensive play after defensive play. And we ran into foul trouble as well.

“That was going on in the Worcester Wolves and we ran out of defensive options. As a coach I ran out of defensive options and during the basketball game I was ‘off’ as a coach. I can’t fault the players for that – I can fault them for not understanding their assignments and what we should do.”

Flournoy admits to taking his eye-off-the ball in terms of his usual preparation for BBL matches.

He was busy devising a Plan A for his frighteningly talented team but did not come up with an emergency escape route in case the team encountered foul trouble, which is what happened deep into the third quarter of the Wolves clash.

“It’s not a situation where we are panicking. I don’t want to take anything away from Worcester either – they played a great game,” he said.

“They were more physical than us, particularly in the rebound department and the fact we got into foul trouble really hurt us.

“I am not blaming the officials - I am definitely not looking to blame them - but they were not as affected by it as much as we were. The way that they called the game affected us more than it did them.

“For me that comes down to me because we weren’t prepared for that. I try very hard to make sure that my players are prepared for anything when they play a BBL game With the foul trouble we need to have an alternative solution if that happens and we didn’t have it.

“As a coach I have to make sure the guys understand their roles and there was maybe a situation on Friday where that didn’t happen. When it comes together we are going to be a really, really good team. We can’t let this affect us.”

The Eagles announced a friendly against Huddersfield on November 6 at Sport Central – a match that Flournoy will use to drill his team more thoroughly. The Heat are one of the most promising EBL franchises and Newcastle will welcome to their home game for a match that the Newcastle chief intends to use to make sure that they are better equipped for the Surrey clash.

The club announced yesterday that tickets will be available to season ticket holders and cost £5.

Flournoy explained: “We need to work on different rotations. We have been working with two different rosters since the start of the season – for the first month and a half Charles and myself were out injured but we now have a situation where over the last three weeks we have both played.

“When we come back it obviously affects the rotations and roles and where people are playing on the court. We need games to play in so that we can work these things out.

“The Huddersfield game is so we can see ourselves work and to work on ourselves. We need to make ourselves better and to work on our rotations and some other things. There are things we haven’t worked on in as much detail so this is an opportunity.”

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