ESSEX Leopards will look to continue their best ever start to a league season when they travel to Newcastle to face Team Northumbria on Saturday.

The Big Cats remain second in NBL Division One with a 9-1 record following Sunday’s 70-61 victory over Manchester Magic at the Brentwood Centre, sitting one win behind Derby Trailblazers.

In a tight game against Manchester, the Big Cats never trailed after Lawrence Brown had given them a 6- 5 lead after just two minutes.

Courtney Van Beest sent them into the first break with an 18-12 lead and although Magic pulled to within two points in the second period, a Ladi Brown trey gave the home team a 32-26 half-time lead.

The home side went into the final break with a 47-43 lead, but that was as close as the visitors came as the Leopards opened the fourth period with a Lukas Winegarner jump shot and a dunk from Van Beest before the Big Cats saw out the remainder of the game.