Rahmon Fletcher will tip off his second spell as an ESH Group Eagles Newcastle player in Europe later this month after the club’s pre-season plans were confirmed.
The two-time BBL MVP will be one of the biggest draws of the weekend as Fabulous Flournoy’s new-look roster lines up for a pre-season tournament in Belgium. Fletcher will suit up against continental heavyweights Spirou Charleroi and Okapi Aalstar on 31 August and 1 September (exact fixture dates to be confirmed).
And back-to-back clashes against European opposition will give Eagles players and fans alike a taste of what’s to come with Newcastle determined to play competitively against foreign rivals in the future.
“It’s a great opportunity for our club and the BBL,” admitted Fletcher.
“It’s a chance to showcase what we have to offer to other teams in Europe. In the past we’ve played against European teams but in Newcastle. To play these matches away will give us a glimpse of what we could be up against in the future.
“It will also be a great bonding trip for the players at the beginning what will be a long season. I’m really excited for this experience and looking forward to seeing the squad grow day by day.”
Newcastle head to Belgium on 28 August and are scheduled to touch down back on Tyneside on 2 September.
Eagles’ chief Paul Blake has experience of organising pre-season events at Sport Central featuring a number of leading continental clubs. But he believes the decision to dispatch Newcastle to Belgium – for fixtures against two experienced Pro Basketball League (PBL) sides – can be hugely beneficial.
“It’s a real privilege for the club to be invited to Proximus Spirou Charleroi’s pre-season event and camp,” he said.
“It’s a club I have a huge respect for so to be working with them is a real boost for us. It will be a test for the team as both Charleroi and Aalstar are both high level European teams. It’s a great way to start this season’s campaign.”
Newcastle fans will have to wait another 10 days for the chance to see Fletcher and co. suit up on home soil with a trip to DBL Sheffield Sharks scheduled for 7 September. The Eagles host their first pre-season friendly against this year’s USA Select side at Sport Central on 10 September before the Sharks travel to Tyneside two days later.
Fletcher’s signing started a flurry of transfer action that has seen four more players ink deals with Newcastle this month.And the club is working around the clock to bring more new faces to the North East in time for next month’s big BBL tip off against Cheshire Phoenix on 21 September.
Tickets are on sale now for the two home friendlies with prices starting at £9 per person per game (reduced to £8 for 2018-19 season ticket holders). Fans can save by booking both games at just £16 per person (reduced to £12 for season ticket holders). All of Newcastle’s pre-season and BBL games can be automatically added to the calendars of smartphones and tablets via the fixtures section at www.newcastle-eagles.com