Szifris eager to see Polonia Phoenix on the rise

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Scotland’s 2006 Commonwealth Games basketball team coach Toni Szifris is determined to make a real difference to Polonia Phoenix.

The club was founded by his father, Boris, in the 1950s and they have their first game of 2016 at Holyrood High School tomorrow, 3.15pm.

Back in their early days they were plain Polonia in acknowledgement of the Polish origins of a coach who did much to introduce basketball to the east of Scotland.

More than one revival later the current Polonia Phoenix is primarily a women’s club, though moves are afoot to revive the male section.

Toni Szifris only came on board after the start of this season but already the team are feeling more confident and Szifris, who successfully coached both the City of Edinburgh Kings and Kool Kats and the sadly now defunct East Lothian Peregrines men’s national league side, believes he can already see improvement.

Tomorrow Polonia, who have won three games and lost eight to lie sixth in the table, are at home in the Scottish Women’s League to St Mirren, who have won twice and lost six to lie eighth out of ten.

Szifis believes this is a must-win game for a team with a real mixture of youth and experience, typified by mother and daughter Les and Kerri Jackson and also including Scottish caps Julie Ritchie, Lynsey Campbell and Seona Paxton.

“It’s time for us to push on,” he says.

Unbeaten Edinburgh University women are practising twice a day for six days in a row as they prepare for their clash with champions Edinburgh Kool Kats at Portobello High on Monday night (7.50pm).The students won their first capital derby by a remarkable 50 points.

Meanwhile, Scottish men’s champions Falkirk Fury are refusing to accept their chances of retaining their league title are slim.

Though out of the Scottish Cup, they are still only on three league defeats and lie third equal with Edinburgh University behind leaders Boroughmuir Blaze and second-placed Glasgow University.

Tonight (8.00pm) they host Dunfermline Reign at the Mariner Centre in a game which they should win convincingly.