SCOTTISH basketball champions Edinburgh Kings will meet their biggest test so far and possibly their biggest test of the entire season when they face Falkirk Fury before an almost certain full house at the Mariner Sports Centre tonight (8pm).
But many club members will be forced to miss it as, in another unfortunate fixture clash, Kings’ sister team Edinburgh Kool Kats host Scottish women’s champions Glasgow Rocks at Portobello High tonight (8pm).
Both men’s teams are unbeaten with an identical record so far, played eight, won eight and, though Kings coach Doug Reilly insisted: “Whatever happens tonight neither team can win the title,” it is also true that a Kings victory would give them an enormous boost with a home game to come at Portobello in the second half of the season as well as a likely Scottish Cup semi-final clash.
Kings stalwart centre Simon Flockhart, who recently married Fury player Kim Bunyan, will for the first time be facing his father-in-law – Falkirk coach John Bunyan – and two brothers-in-law Keith and Jonny.
But his wife, who is still an active Fury team member, will be the one with the hardest split loyalty.
His son-in-law apart, coach Bunyan singles out Latvian guard-forward Edgars Rekis as the player Fury fear most in the visiting line-up.
“I think if there is one person we’d prefer them to be without it would be Rekis – recent history has shown they struggle without him.”
Rekis on his part picks out the younger Bunyan as the key player for Fury: “Despite their height they rely more on their playmaker than anyone else in the side.
“Hopefully we can give the fans a good game and keep our unbeaten record.”
Kings will be back to full strength with the return of Pete Lyons after injury.
Kool Kats coach Ben Gunn meanwhile is facing a mini crisis with the loss of Nicola McBrierty, who has left for Dubai, and Irish cap Shauna O’Connor taking ill and missing Tuesday training. “Hopefully no one else goes down,” he said.
Rocks and Polonia Phoenix are joint top of the women’s league having played six and won five while Kats have played five and won four so are still right in the mix.
Polonia are away to Tayside Musketeers at Arbroath tomorrow (5.20pm) while the Rocks play again at Falkirk tomorrow (5.40pm).
In another fixture clash tonight Pentland Star are at home to St Mirren at Holy Rood High (8.20pm).
Ex-Scotland boss denies coaching return
Former Scotland, Edinburgh Kings and East Lothian Peregrines coach Toni Szifris has denied rumours that he is back coaching.
Szifris, who steered Scotland men into sixth place in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 and then stepped down from all coaching, has confirmed that he was approached about coaching the Lothian &
“I never heard anything more,” he said today.
Beaten in the final of last year’s British Police Championships in London in a controversial finish, the local lawmen are now joint top of the Lothian first division with the Edinburgh Kings local team whom they play at Meadowbank next Thursday (7.15pm).
In the police ranks are the Flockhart brothers, Campbell, who was in the 2006 Scotland team, and Grant.