D1: Trailblazers set to face BBL’s most successful team of all time
Derby Trailblazers have the mouthwatering prospect of a home tie against Newcastle Eagles, after being invited to take part in the first round of the BBL Trophy for the second year in succession.
The competition brings together the twelve BBL Championship sides along with four invited non-BBL teams, which this season comprises Derby, fellow division one sides Reading Rockets and Essex Leopards, along with Scottish national league champions Buroughmuir Blaze.
The draw couldn’t be any bigger from Derby’s perspective, because with seven BBL league titles, six play-off championships, six BBL Trophy wins and five BBL Cup victories, the Eagles have won more silverware than any other club British Basketball history.
Head Coach Matt Shaw says he’s delighted to get the chance to go up against one of the best clubs in the country:
“This is extremely exciting draw for us, against the team which has won the most trophies ever. We knew that whoever we drew, it would be a challenge and that’s certainly the case with Newcastle.
“However, last season we faced another one of the country’s best teams in Sheffield Sharks, who went on to win the BBL play-off championship and I thought we gave a pretty good account of ourselves.
“I feel we’re in the competition on merit, having finished runners up in NBL division one twice over the last two seasons and I’m really excited both for our fans, who will get see the Newcastle Eagles first hand and for our players, who will get to play against the cream of British Basketball.
“I know a little bit about Eagles’ programme and I’m a big admirer of how Fab Flournoy gets his sides to play such solid defence year in and year out. It will be tough challenge for us, but it’s a free swing, because we have nothing to lose.
“Fingers crossed, the people of Derby will be excited and enthused about the prospect of such a great game and it will be another full house,” he said.
The first round BBL Trophy ties are provisionally scheduled to take place over the weekend of 7/8/9th January 2017, subject to agreement by all parties.
Should Derby be successful, the quarter final is also a straight knock-out format, with the semi-final being played over two legs and the final taking place at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on the 19th of March, 2017.
Meanwhile, Derby will get their regular season underway with a NBL Men’s Trophy tie away to Loughborough Student Riders on Saturday 24th September, with their first home fixture coming seven days later, against Leicester Warriors.
Their first league fixture will be on Saturday 8th October, at home to Bradford Dragons, while the Trailblazers don’t enter the National Cup until the third round stage, when they will travel to either Derbyshire Arrows or Newcastle under Lyme Knights.
Full fixtures for the NBL division one league season will be announced in due course.
All the latest news from the club can be found at www.derbytrailblazers.com , www.facebook.com/derbytrailblazersclub or via @derbyblazers on Twitter.
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The full first round draw for the BBL Trophy is as follows:
Reading Rockets v Bristol Flyers
Derby Trailblazers v Newcastle Eagles
Buroughmore Blaze v Plymouth Raiders
Essex Leopards v Manchester Giants
Worcester Wolves v Sheffield Sharks
London Lions v Surrey United
Glasgow Rockets v Leicester Riders
Leeds Force v Cheshire Phoenix