Basketball: The Saints are coming to challenge Capital clubs

THE British Universities Home Nations Games, otherwise known as BUGS, is to go ahead in Nottingham from April 16 to 19 and the Scottish Universities have wasted no time in arranging trials. Eighteen women will attend their first get-together at Holyrood HS and a men’s trial is fixed for Dundee University on Sunday from 11am-2pm.

Among the players staking a strong claim for a first SU vest are Edinburgh’s Aaron Neimeyer and Ben Warrington, who were prominent in the Capital side’s display away to Northumbria this week.

Though Edinburgh lost 83-70, they had the score back to six points at half-time after losing 14 in a row.

Neimeyer top-scored with 20 points.

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BOROUGHMUIR Blaze should be ready to reduce the visiting Scottish Rocks to rubble at the Crags Sports Centre tomorrow judging by their recent displays.

A narrow five point away defeat to Troon Tornadoes last Friday certainly suggests they should take care of the team who, until last Saturday, were bottom of the table.

Rocks beat Dunfermline Reign 92-76 at Dunfermline however, so are clearly no push-overs away from home.

Blaze have former Scottish internationalist Kevin Anderson back in their line-up after a calf injury kept him out for months and, though the former Kings shooting star is still far from fully fit, he is capable of producing a game-winning salvo of three-pointers.

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THE SAINTS will come marching in with a veritable army this weekend, as no fewer than six St Mirren teams arrive in the Capital to challenge the City of Edinburgh at Portobello High School.

First up will be the senior men tonight, in a game which could be crucial to Edinburgh Kings’ hopes of retaining their Scottish League title.

St Mirren are the only team to have beaten them in the league so far and, if they win tomorrow, apart from the satisfaction of avenging that defeat, Kings will reflect that few of their remaining opponents have managed to come close to them in the first half of the season and that their slender lead at the top might be enough.

Kings’ 79-61 home win over Falkirk Fury last Saturday, means that they have beaten Fury in both their league games and, even if Saints were to win tonight, Kings would need to lose again for Fury to take the title.

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Kings’ coach Doug Reilly, who was naturally delighted with his side’s display against Fury, is now looking to consolidate: “We’ll be looking to maintain this level of performance for the rest of the season,” he said, which means they will again have to stay out of foul trouble — especially big men Simon Flockhart and Ed Rekis.

But Saints, who will have their last outing before the Scottish Cup Final against Falkirk at the Pleasance a week tomorrow, will certainly be up for the challenge and in Nic Collins have one of the most effective centres in the country, while Scottish Universities forward Craig Stamp has bolstered an already big line-up which includes Dave Johnstone.

Edinburgh Kool Kats will also have their last game before their Scottish cup final, against the Glasgow Rocks a week on Sunday, when they face St Mirren at Portobello tomorrow.

Having beaten their visitors twice already this season Kats will certainly be favourites, but coach Graham Gunn will be looking for a convincing display to instil some confidence before the bigger test.

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Starting centre Rowan Bell, who was unwell and missed last Saturday’s home win over Fury, comes back into the side but junior centre Hannah Peacock, promoted to help out in the rebounding chores, did well enough to retain her place tomorrow.

Peacock may have to put in a double shift however, with the Kats youth sides both in action beforehand against top-of-the-league Saints teams, the cadettes at 11am and the juniors at 1pm.

The most confident home team will probably be coach Stephen Dickson’s unbeaten cadet men, who face the visitors at 5pm in what is another pre-cup final test while coach Jim Wright’s juniors have the toughest task against unbeaten counterparts at 7pm.