About Me

My photo
A graduate of Sports Studies at Paisley University, which is about as rewarding as being the best dancer in the Spinal Unit.

Thursday, 20 December 2007


The Raiders website tagline boasts, “Basketball: We do it better”.

A slightly unjustified comment when your team sits in 6th place in the Championship, but happily rescued by the fact that they took down the Eagles for their first piece of BBL silverware on March 4th.

It has been a long time coming for the Raiders, whose only representation at a finals event up till now has been by way of an 8 foot cock-eyed animal. On the upside, its a steady pay cheque for Charles Smith.

It was the Raiders first ever triumph in the competition and came thanks in no small part to Carlton Aaron, who was the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP) thanks to a 25-point, 12-rebound haul. Gaylon Moore was also in fine shooting form bagging 17 personal points, whilst Tony Dorsey led the way for Eagles with 20 points.

Despite rising to the occasion on this occasion, the Raiders have had a struggling season, much like the Rocks, with inconsistency dogging any real attempt for championship contention. But any trophy is better than no trophy at all.

With the team spearheaded by Gavin Love and coached by long-time collaborator Gary Stronach, the Raiders have a good future if they can keep all of their elements together.
They can be a strong team when they want to be and utterly woeful at other times.
It will be interesting to see which Raiders team shows up tonight.

Jamie Barr

Monday, 17 December 2007

DRUGS: "Ever So Moreish"

Chad McKnight is a hungry player. Hungry for trophies. Hungry for championship success. Hungry for playoff glory. And, as it appears when it’s late at night, especially hungry for Mars bars, Doritos, pizza and a chocolate milkshake.

There was some mystery in the past few weeks over the disappearance of McKnight (rumours he was on the couch listening to Led Zeppelin and watching the Wizard of Oz are unfounded) but the Heat cleared this up with a recently released statement:

'The Guildford Heat were informed by English Basketball on the 8th February of Chad McKnight’s failure of a test for marijuana. The Heat immediately terminated Mr. McKnight’s contract with the club…he assured the club this was a one-off incident which he very much regrets."

McKnight has been a real powerhouse this season and is a front-running factor the Heat are positioned where they are. Understandably, the Heat take a very serious stance on the failing of a drugs test and will act accordingly. For the Rocks, this is an opportunity to take advantage of a weakened squad.

In the last meeting between the two, the Rocks were defeated 88-82 at the Spectrum Centre in Guildford in what was a charge led by point guard Brian Dux. As ever, Mike Martin continued his starring role at Guildford with a healthy 16.

With fourth place (and home court) all but secured at Braehead, it should be interesting to see how the Rocks fare against the now shaken “best team in the BBL”.

Jamie Barr


The Chester Jets roll in to town with first year Player/Coach Billy Singleton at the helm. Many of you will be very familiar with Singleton from his time in Glasgow and if you are among that group, you most probably also work at Burger King.
His Jets, at the time of writing, sit eighth in the league with six points from eight games. A huge blow was recently dealt with the announcement that the Calvin Davis relationship with the club had come to an end. After five years together, the Jets released the 6’8” forward after a series of recurring injuries. Billy, thirty-seven years old and now boasting less air-time than a subliminal TV commercial, wisely took the decision to draft in some fresh legs to fill the front court spot. Out of the Australian Basketball League comes 6’8” Jamal Brown who is “athletically gifted” and seems a suitable replacement for the Calvin Davis department. At the small forward spot, Shawn Myers will be productive as ever while Gilbert will be backed up by Anthony Martin at point. The indifferent start to the season will hopefully (for the Jets) receive an adrenaline shot with the new signings and they might just get out of the blocks.


The Rocks resume their rivalry with the Newcastle Eagles on Sunday as the two clash for the first time since the Eagles knocked us out of the Trophy.
Eagles coach Fab Flournoy remains hopeful despite trailing in the race for the championship.
"We are under intense pressure with expectation having risen lately as people demand continued success on all fronts. Whatever happens, it will not decide the destiny of the league title with so many games still to be played. I am not saying we will lose or I am taking these games lightly but we have to keep things in perspective and I will not place any unnecessary pressure on my players." He said, shortly before presumably punching the journalist in the face.

In other news, Family Man of the Year, Charles Smith, returned to the Eagles last week after a hiatus of almost three months. The forward, affectionately nicknamed “the Prince” by Eagles fans, has made an instant impact at the start of his third spell with the Springfield Honda-backed franchise, scoring 48 points in the two games against London Towers and Guildford Heat last weekend. Funnily enough, we all find we are a little fresher after a ninety-day holiday. The former of the two games was a hard fought affair with the Eagles just scraping the win by one point through a late free-throw. As the drama unfolded inside the Metro Arena, suspended Coach Flournoy managed to go against the odds in his own way: Wandering a car-park for an hour and a half in Newcastle without being arrested.
Whether or not “The Prince” plays tonight is still in question.

The subject of Fab Flournoy’s suspension is an interesting one. After merrily getting involved in fisticuffs (hands down, the worst kind of cuffs) with Bullets forward Skouson Harker, a man who has a Jaw-line like a Disney hero, he simply appeals and is allowed to attend the semi-final against the Rocks. How does that work?

Say you were at an office meeting, and as you were leaving the room to for a break of coffee and lame triangular sandwiches, you belted another company member about the head several times. Obvious uproar and suspension? Certainly. Would the police be called? Highly probable. But the lesson to be learned from Harkergate is that as long as you pester the league officials gently they let you off with nothing more than a ruffle of the hair and a chuck of the chin. I imagine the hearing consisted of Fab waving his fists in the general direction of officials while shouting, "Do you want some too?".

So, its open season. Next time any of your work colleagues are bugging you, deck them. The worst you can expect is a single day off work.

Yes, its true. The Rocks are top of the league. The surprising Sheffield Sharks have overtaken the Eagles to move in to second place, but for reasons you can imagine THIS is the game we want. Eagles vs. Rocks are British Basketball Old Firm.
Shout loud and enjoy it.


Before you start reading, take a look at this: http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/0200sport/basketball/tm_objectid=16947020&method=full&siteid=50081&headline=hyatt-s-frozen-out-name_page.html

The Newcastle Eagles, not unlike us, have had difficulty kick starting their season.
The Scottish Rocks, unlike the Newcastle Eagles, have not resorted to the rehiring of shamed former players in a bid to recapture any of the success from the season prior.

Arriving (in a taxi, presumably) at the Metroradio Arena for last Sundays clash vs. the Plymouth Raiders, Jeremy Hyatt formally rejoined his former team just in time for the first win of the season, 91-85. Between Hyatt and coach Fab Flournoy’s misadventures of the 05/06 campaign, you could be forgiven for thinking that Paul Blake does his pre-season scouting at Dartmoor.

In more pressing news, the Leicester Riders arrive in Glasgow for tonight’s clash vs. our Scottish Rocks. The Riders, who at the time of writing have split their games in the championship 2-2, are a promising squad with experience and athleticism on their side. Yorrick Williams, Terrence McGee and ex-laker Steve Bucknall all feature tonight and are all, individually, forces to be reckoned with.

McGee is remembered by most Rocks fans as being the point/shooting guard that replaced Ted Berry. His stint at the Rocks was short but exciting as he combined forces with the likes of Jerry Williams and Niki Arinze for a season that was largely remembered for underachieving. Yorrick Williams is one of the best defenders in the league and is infamous for his intensity on court. Able to play the guard and small forward spot, Williams will in time emerge as the leader of the Riders. He's also widely known as a lunatic.

Steve Bucknall played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1989-1990, and of course had the privilege of being a team-mate to the great Magic Johnson. Since then he has travelled all over Europe playing for no less than fifteen different teams and winning a healthy amount of silverware on the way.

Rocks fans should expect a fired up home side in today’s game. It has been a shaky start for the 06/07 squad, but slowly and surely they have been coming together and it should be interesting to see if this is the game where our real season begins.

Jamie Barr

Vs. Bears, Sunday 11th Dec

On paper the Brighton Bears look like instant contenders for the crown. Stewart, Alleyne, Yabsley, Parillion and Jerry Williams helmed by floor leader Terrance McGee?
About as predictable as Billy Singleton’s inside game is the reaction of fans to the news that Jerry has found a new club. For whatever reason, we inexplicably resign ourselves to the impending clinching of titles by the Rocks/ Towers /Bears. It is true that he has put up big numbers in the past and is capable of standout performances. But as for Jerry’s presence equating to a winning team, forget it. It’s a myth. Once again, Jerry’s boys have given the 2005/06 season an apathetic shot to firmly seize control of the middle of the table, sitting as they are 10 points short of the Rocks at five wins and six losses.

A short-lived boost to the season arrived with the restless Yorick Williams who bailed on his second club this year for European pastures new. Rumours his departure was due to the Bears front line resembling the queue at a Craig David convention were unconfirmed.

Vs. Chester Jets, November 19th 06

It’s the third clash in only a month and a half old season for the Rocks and the Jets.
Despite having beaten the Rocks in their first meeting, Jets coach and Billy Singleton (pictured, barely) knows that his side face a difficult trip to Glasgow on Sunday: “They are playing a lot better than when we met them (the first time), and it’s on their own court, so it’ll be a tough match-up again – but I’m looking forward to it. Julius Joseph is a very tough player, and Rob Yanders is one of the best point guards in the league. They’ve added Sterling Davis and they are a solid team with some good veteran players.”

Much has been said about Singleton during his time in the BBL as a professional “athlete” and he is garnering just as much buzz during his time as a coach. His side started strong with silverware success in 2005, but it has been mediocrity ever since. This year has been the most worrisome so far with the squad picking up only one win in seven games so far, only being saved from the bottom by the hapless Worcester Wolves. Does Billy, whose second chin alone could win an eating contest, inspire his players to keep on the straight and narrow and ultimately championship success? Chester’s season may eventually be saved by the arrival of talented guard Maurice Hargrow. In his first year out of the University of Minnesota, the 6’5” rookie has recently poured in 20+ point performances against Guildford and more recently, Sheffield Sharks. Although they were both losing efforts overall, it must be as comforting to Billy as a giant spoon and a tub of Haagen-Dazs to know that he has this kind of solid offensive firepower on hand.

Last week’s win for the Rocks at home over Chester splits this season’s game tally at one apiece, Maurice Hampton leading the team past a determined Jets squad, 84-79.

Both teams seem fairly evenly matched at the point in the season, neither being able to shake the other. Expect a competitive and close match, every bit as exciting as last weeks encounter.
Jamie Barr

Vs. Newcastle Eagles

Rivalry is a funny old thing. It can extend from a geographical stand point, where the teams may not even play in the same league or division but harbour animosity towards each other because they happen to inhabit the same town.
It might be generational, the players having been raised to view the opposing team as their primary obstacle to glory, as their mothers and fathers did before them.
One of the most fun versions that crops up now and again is the “Alpha Dog” rivalry. This sees one team being universally insufferable to everyone, their success on the sports field leading to unpopularity even with people who might not even call themselves sports fans. Lastly, is the Enduring Rivalry. These are the ultimate matchups. Families are divided by them. People choose sides and never look back. Anybody who crosses the line is viewed as a traitor. These rivalries have a long tradition of ill-feeling on both sides and are draped in history. Fans and players on both sides get up whenever the teams play, no matter the records.

Anyone reading this, unless they have just stepped off the boat, have Rangers and Celtic almost inevitably come to mind. A smaller percentage may envisage Ali/Frazier, McEnroe/Borg,Yankees/Red Sox or if you’re a Chester Jets fan, Tom/Jerry.
It can bring the best out of its competitors, allowing them from somewhere to dig a little deeper to extend a rally, push to a third overtime, score a last minute try/touchdown/home run and ensure that the bitterness between the two doesn’t end here.
I suppose we should thank the Newcastle Eagles then? The entire Rocks lifespan, they and their band of fans (whose insistence on “wacky” slap-dash face painting and afro-wigs leave them looking like Coco the Clown hit the skids) has partaken in some of the BBL’s greatest games, each building anticipation for the next. The Rocks/Eagles fixture is easily the best attended of all regular season games and will continue to be. Not to say every Rocks clash isn’t exciting, but often riding sidecar to these derby contests are the behind the scenes antics of Eagles players that has contributed to the “good natured” ribbing that takes place. Who can forget Fabulous Flournoy, who not so long ago saw fit go Marvellous Marvin on Skouson Harker? Apparently Jeremy Hyatt offered Harker a lift to the hospital that night, but was politely declined. I would mention Charles Smith here, but ill be honest, that still stings a little.
So what of this season? Its great to see the Eagles securing a sponsor so respected, established and most importantly, stable as Northern Rock. It’s a great looking strip and I implore any Newcastle fan to immediately go to their nearest Northern Rock branch, remove ALL OF YOUR SAVINGS and proceed to purchase the aforementioned garment.
Finally, when choosing sponsors for your club it is important it reflects the values of its management and fans, is respected and well-liked. For instance, everybody loves sandwiches, right? Right. So I reacted with an undisclosed amount of surprise when I saw that this year the Eagles have appeared to have turned to none other than the Third Reich. You know what? Put down your Sub of the Day ™ for a second and make your own mind up (pictures below).

Have a great season, the team depends on you.

Jamie Barr

The newly unveiled logo
of the Newcastle Eagles

Above (CLICK TO EMBIGGEN!): A universally recognised symbol of oppression and persecution. And the logo.