With the Scottish League already shaping up to be a three-horse race, unbeaten champions Edinburgh Kings will face one of their toughest challenges of the season away to St Mirren at the Lagoon Sports Centre, Paisley tonight (8pm).
Due to a quirk of the fixture list, this is the first time the two teams have met so far and Saints may present something of an unknown quantity, especially their new signing Craig Stamp, a 6ft 7in former Durham player who impressed when representing Scottish Universities in the Four Nations Championships in Northern Ireland last April.
Their only defeat has been to Falkirk Fury and they share second place with Fury, who have also lost once to Kings.
Saints coach Stuart Glass believes his team, who have been racking up some convincing wins in points terms, are developing nicely: “I’m looking forward to playing the Kings for the first time this season with a strengthened line-up,” he said today. “We’ve also got ex-Dunfermline guard Kieran Lynch as a back-up and we’ve been playing well in recent weeks.”
Glass knows however that Saints have under-performed on more than one big occasion against the Capital stars in the past and cannot afford to do so again if they are to retain an interest in the destination of the title.
Even though Mike Kirkpatrick’s availability is patchy due to pressure of academic work, Kings are arguably stronger than last season, with the return of Lithuanian forward Audrius Ciapas after illness being a big plus.
As no Scottish League team, including Falkirk, have yet remotely threatened them this season it is hard to say how good they are, though they did show in their BBL cup-tie against Glasgow Rocks that they are capable of stepping up to another level.
Coach Doug Reilly commented: “Saints will be tough as they gave Falkirk a hard game and are picking up wins against everybody else but we’ll have Mike Kirkpatrick back after missing the Glasgow University game.”
In what is a real All Saints weekend for the Capital club, Kings junior and cadet men and Kool Kats senior, junior and cadette women are all away to St Mirren, while Boroughmuir Blaze men are away to Glasgow Rocks and the juniors to Glasgow Rens.
Polonia Phoenix senior, junior and cadette women are home to Falkirk Fury in a triple challenge, the juniors at Wester Hailes tonight (7.30pm), the seniors (3pm) and cadettes (1pm) on Sunday.