Oaklands Wolves starting to make real noise in WBBL as blackout mode stuns Eagles

PUBLISHED: 12:10 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 06 March 2019

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

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A record and noisy crowd for Oaklands Wolves spurred the team on to an important 77-66 win over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL.

Roya Rustamzada in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANORoya Rustamzada in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

The St Albans-based basketball club put on a special ‘blackout’ event, with the squad wearing their dark away kit for the game at Oaklands College and all those arriving in black getting in for just £1.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

The venture worked too as the Wolfpack leapt further up the table, aiding their pursuit of a play-off place.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

And such was the amount of noise and support they gave, head coach Lee Ryan said he found it difficult to focus at times.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

He said: “It was awesome. We had over 100 people there and the crowd were mega, they made a real difference.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“There was a real buzz, I had to really focus in terms of keeping my concentration during the game.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“Lizzie Harrison was excellent putting the thing together, the crowd turned out and everybody looked good in the kit.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“We’ll be doing more of them for sure.”

Anneke Schluter in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOAnneke Schluter in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

The game itself lived up to the occasion with Oaklands holding their Geordie opponents for the first three quarters before blowing them away in the fourth, Roya Rustamzada leading the charge with a total of 25 points.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

It all means that Wolves are now seventh, level on points with the Eagles in sixth.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

Ryan said: “We knew the importance of the game and had been talking about it all week.

Roya Rustamzada in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANORoya Rustamzada in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“We had a disappointing performance away to them earlier in the season where it was another one of those that we let slid.

Tia Freeman in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOTia Freeman in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“But we knew we had to solidify our place and the players since the Trophy break have really embraced the idea of us getting into the play-offs.”

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

And worryingly for the rest of the league, Ryan believes his side can get even better.

Lizzy Harrison in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOLizzy Harrison in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

He said: “Its six wins in seven now in the league so we’re in a good way and playing really well.

Megan Pritchard in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOMegan Pritchard in action for Oaklands Wolves against Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“Raquel Navarro-Martinez coming in has helped us like we thought it would with our rotation and that has settled us down.

A record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOA record crowd roared Oaklands Wolves to victory over Newcastle Eagles in the WBBL in a special 'blackout' game. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“But having her come in means Roya’s playing in her true position and her confidence is sky-high right now.

“The team in general are gelling and the energy is flawless.

“But we had our ups and downs and we’re not the finished product which is still a good sign at this stage of the season.”

Elsewhere in the club the club’s D2 women also winning, beating Solent Kestels 56-42 while the U14 Girls picked up a 63-46 success over Haringey Angels.

However, there was no joy for the U14 Boys who lost 83-60 to London Youngblood Lions, the U16 Boys who went down 79-71 to Reading Rockets or the U16 Girls, who were defeated 73-66 against Sheffield Hatters.

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