Basketball: Polonia Phoenix quash talk of closure

Polonia Phoenix, who face Edinburgh Kool Kats in the play-offs, plan to have teams competing next season. Pic: Greg Macvean
Polonia Phoenix, who face Edinburgh Kool Kats in the play-offs, plan to have teams competing next season. Pic: Greg Macvean
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On the eve of the Scottish Women’s League play-offs, Scotland’s fourth-ranked team Polonia Phoenix have insisted they are not only still in business, but intend to challenge for top honours next season.

Phoenix, who play Edinburgh Kool Kats in the first semi-final of the Cash for Communities play-offs at the Edinburgh University Pleasance Sports Centre tomorrow (10.30am), held a club meeting this week to discuss ways of strengthening the coaching structure and developing their playing base.

“Despite rumours that we were going to fold or merge, I can assure players and parents that we will have all our teams next season,” said club secretary Julie Ritchie.

Head coach Stewart Harris is believed to have given an assurance, along with several other coaches, that he will continue for at least another two years.

The club, which has teams in senior, junior and cadette women’s national leagues, hopes to move from the Crags Sports Centre and is likely to play all home games at Gracemount Leisure Centre next season.

One of the oldest clubs in Scotland and founded by the late Boris Szifris, Polonia were founder members of the Scottish Women’s League and first winners in 1951. They went on to win the Scottish Cup six times in a row from 1977 and again in 1995, 97, 2002 and 2004 and they won the league as recently as last year.

They may not start their revival by beating Kool Kats tomorrow given that the City of Edinburgh side have already won the Scottish Cup and League and are bidding for a treble, but the happenings this week may have stiffened Polonia’s resolve.

Glasgow Rocks and St Mirren compete in the other semi-final and the final is on Sunday at 12.15pm, sandwiched between the Cash for Communities Under-14 Girls Cup at 10.30am and the Under-14 Boys Cup at 2.30pm, with the men’s play-off final at 4.15pm.

The men’s play-off semis are tonight with league and cup champions Falkirk Fury facing Glasgow University at 7pm and Edinburgh Kings at home to St Mirren at 9pm.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh University, already Scottish Universities champions and British Universities Trophy winners, have a chance to complete a treble by winning the Scottish Chairman’s Cup at the Pleasance tomorrow (7pm) against West Lothian Wolves.