Basketball: Edinburgh Kings and University face tough ties

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Edinburgh Kings and Edinburgh University both face tricky tests in the Scottish Basketball League this weekend while Edinburgh University women and Polonia Phoenix have a repeat clash, this time in the Scottish Cup.

Kings travel to the Mariner Sports Centre on Sunday to play champions Falkirk Fury for the first time this season, again without veteran centre Simon Flockhart, who is on holiday in Florida and also missed last Saturday’s home win over Troon Tornadoes.

Fury, however, are likely to be without both their big men, Roni Gordon and Stuart McKay, so there is another chance for Kings’ Matt Kruczynski to take advantage of their absence and stake his claims for a starting five spot.

If Kings, who will also be without Niall Mackle, do go down, they will aim at the very least to keep the scores tight in the hope they can turn it round in the second half of the season.

Boroughmuir Blaze, who beat Kings at Portobello last month, should pick up more points at the expense of Dunfermline Reign at the Crags SC tomorrow (3.20pm).

Edinburgh University men play fellow league newcomers Tayside Musketeers for the first time this season at the Pleasance on Sunday (3.40pm), both coaches desperate for victory.

Tayside have the better record so far, lying third with two wins and one defeat to Edinburgh’s seventh place with one win and two losses.

“This is an important game for both teams as, being the two newcomers, we can expect the spotlight to be firmly on us,” said Edinburgh coach Danny Costello, who may be without two of his starters, Jac St John and Cyril Weaver.

Tayside coach John Anton agrees: “This is a benchmark game.”

Edinburgh University women got the better of Polonia Phoenix in their debut league game last Sunday but the stakes are possibly higher this Sunday when they meet again in the first round of the Scottish Cup at Holyrood High (3pm).

Phoenix could be significantly stronger this time with coach Stewart Harris, Seona Paxton and Amelia Rossi all back.

But the students’ new American point guard Sheila Dixon proved with her amazing “triple double” that she is half a team on her own and will no doubt be earmarked for some close marking.