Basketball: Capital quartet chasing senior cup final berths

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Capital clubs Edinburgh Kings, Boroughmuir Blaze, Edinburgh Kool Kats and Polonia Phoenix are bidding this weekend for a city monopoly of the season’s senior Scottish Cup finals.

In what arguably should have been the final, Kings, chasing their sixth Scottish Cup triumph in a row, line up at Portobello High tonight at 8pm in the first of the semi-finals against Falkirk Fury, their closest challengers for the Scottish League title.

Kings coach Doug Reilly, who hopes to have Edinburgh University star Mike Kirkpatrick back after exams, wants his team to be up from the start: “We need to be ready to play and not wait till the second-half like last time.”

Fury coach John Bunyan believes his side can turn the tables after losing their first clash in the league: “This is the first of three games against Kings that could decide the Cup, League and Play-off title and I believe there’s not a lot between the teams. We won the first and second quarters of our league game earlier in the season and tied the fourth.”

Fury will have Rocks guard Jonny Bunyan available to renew his close rivalry with Kings’ play-maker Lee Reilly but the clash of the big men will be equally important with Lithuanian Audrius Ciapas back to help home centre Simon Flockhart against the Fury twin towers Ronnie Gordon and Stuart MacKay.

As a pipe-opener, the City of Edinburgh club have lined up a mixed tournament for under-12s and under-14s at Portobello tonight beginning at 5pm, with the teams, who will each have guest coaches from the club, and their parents being invited to stay on as guests for the senior game. But in an unfortunate fixture clash Kool Kats cadettes have to play their national cup semi-final against Polonia Phoenix away at Wester Hailes tonight (7.30pm).

Blaze, nine times men’s trophy winners in the past, seek to get past St Mirren at Linwood Sports Centre tomorrow at 3.45pm and reach their first final of the 21st century.

It is a big task as Saints have twice beaten them in the league, but if the Blaze team show the same spirit as they demonstrated in decisively beating Dunfermline Reign last Saturday then they do have a chance.

Also in action tomorrow are Edinburgh Kool Kats who are away to Falkirk Fury in the first of the senior women’s semis at the Mariner Centre (2pm).

Winless Fury are propping up the league table but showed improved form against St Mirren last weekend.

Kats however should progress to meet the winners of the Glasgow Rocks v Polonia semi at St Maurice’s High, Cumbernauld on Sunday (3.20pm).

Phoenix have already beaten Rocks once this season in the league and have the height to combat the good big players in the home side but slipped up at home to Saints last weekend.

Polonia and Kats also meet in the junior women’s semi at WHEC on Sunday, though Phoenix coach Luis Romero will be without his two injured guards Joanne Forde and Hilary Wood.

There is no Capital interest in the junior men’s semis but Kings and Blaze are both through to the cadet last four.

Kings hosts Fury at Portobello tomorrow (11am) and Blaze entertain St Mirren at their new home venue at the Crags on Sunday (2.20pm), provided the venue is approved by Basketballscotland.