photograph Newcastle Knights Crowned Patrons Cup Champions

The Newcastle Knights won their first trophy of the year after beating a divisional rival in the 2017 Patron’s Cup Final.  

The Newcastle University men’s basketball 1s side defeated Kent Crusaders, 77-65 in the final, played in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. In the semi-finals, the Knights edged another Division 2 side, Nottingham Hoods: 81-75.

Ian Hewitt, Director of Basketball and Men's Head Coach, Newcastle University, said: “We are delighted to add the Patron's Cup to our National Basketball League (NBL) silverware.  We knew this season was going to be a challenge with stepping up to a new league and having a big turnaround in personnel but the lads have come in and done a fantastic job and are playing great basketball. I am glad they got rewarded for that. Congratulations to Richard Austin on his finals MVP as well!

“This year has been a real challenge with such a change in personnel but the team is hugely talented and have bought in to our philosophy. This is our third national final in the National Basketball League (NBL) in three years and demonstrates what we are striving for here. We want to be the best Russell Group University Basketball programme and continue to give young developing players that opportunity to develop here and gain a world-class degree.”

The reigning NBL champions have recruited big to ensure they stay top of the league. American NCAA College graduates Irving Eggleston and Richard Austin joined the Knights, as well as budding talents from all over the UK.

Forward Alei Wol moved from London to play for Coach Hewitt and study at Newcastle University. The Economics and Business Management student said: “We know the Kent Crusaders well, they are a really good side and a hard team to beat. However, we worked hard to prepare for the match against them.”

The 19-years-old added: “It’s exciting playing for the Knights. The key to our success is playing and growing together as a team.”

Currently sitting atop the Division 2 Men’s table, with an 18-2 record, the Knights are looking to build on their success in recent campaigns. Last year they clocked an impressive 10-0 BUCS record, while claiming their second NBL title in a row. The 19-1 NBL winning record, preceded by a 39-game winning streak starting in previous year’s campaign, cemented the Knights as a powerhouse in college basketball, only two season after entering the NBL.

The Patrons' Cup is played for by all men's Division 2 teams on a similar basis to the NBL Trophy.

Ivan Lazarov 

published on: 3rd March 2017