Essex Pirates head coach Tim Lewis still believes the second-year franchise is on the right track despite their record this season slumping to a miserable 0-26.

Over 1,000 fans crammed into the Southend Leisure & Tennis Centre to witness the visit of Newcastle Eagles on Saturday night in the team’s second sell-out in a row.

Despite being bottom of the BBL standings, Lewis – also a part-owner – is fiercely proud of what the club is achieving – and what potential remains.

“I think we have done a good job both in the community with schools and families as well as creative marketing to make this happen,” he said.

“Year one was always about establishing the franchise while the second year was about growing the club and becoming sustainable.

“We had identified year three as a play-off year and if you consider where we would be if we put two or three superstar Americans in our teams like just about every other team in the league then I think we could be a top four team.”

Lewis’ homegrown side remains on track to finish with the worst record in the BBL history despite recent improvements, and several threats at breaking their duck including a narrow miss at Cheshire on Sunday.

But another two losses – against Mersey and Milton Keynes – would equal the BBL record of 31 consecutive losses in all competitions.

“It’s not that I don’t care about our record, nobody likes losing of course but we are using English players and giving them an opportunity,” Lewis added. “What we are slowly building here takes a lot of hard work but I am really happy that everyone believes in what we are trying to do and are backing us by coming through the door.”

PJ frustrated with Wolves

Worcester Wolves coach Paul James has branded his side as the BBL’s biggest under-achievers after their latest loss in Glasgow left them scrambling to make the play-offs.

Worcester have failed to match hype (Ville Vuorinen)

Touted for a top four finish, Wolves slump has led James to pick up Mike Creppy and Sam Cricelli in recent weeks to boost their hopes.

And James – who is effectively being forced to re-apply for his job this week following a restructuring at the University of Worcester – is frustrated by his players’ efforts.

“We are under-achieving,” he said.

“We have good points as a team but too often we think with our hearts, not our heads.

“And we’re not going to win many games like that.”

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