Basketball: Edinburgh Kool Kats eye their sixth Scottish Cup

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Although Holders Edinburgh Kool Kats go into tomorrow’s Scottish Women’s Cup final against Glasgow Rocks as the slight underdogs on account of their recent league loss, coach Graham Gunn remains confident they can cope with their Cumbernauld-based rivals.

“They have a height advantage but if we keep it tight in defence we should be ok,” said Gunn.

Rowan Bell, Kats’ top scorer, has a big role to play at both ends of the court, while Tracey Phillips is another vital player in her utility forward role. Hannah Peacock, 17 just last week, keeps her place and could do much to relieve the pressure on Bell.

But perhaps looking forward to the occasion more than anyone will be Lauren Walker, back from eight years teaching in the Netherlands and desperate to win a second Cup medal to add to the one she won in 2003.

Kats have won the cup five times, the first time in 1994 at the then-new Ainslie Park Sports Centre.

Victories in 2003, 2006, 2009 and last year have certainly improved their success rate and last year’s Scottish Cup and League double was as convincing as it was deserved. The most significant happening since last March, however, has been the departure of Charlotte King to other shores and the loss of her athleticism, rebounding and shooting has been keenly felt.

’Muir back on final stage

Whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup final derby at the Pleasance (11am) between Boroughmuir Blaze and Edinburgh Kings for the Cadet Men’s trophy, a little bit of sporting history will be made.

It will be the first time that ’Muir have reached this under-16 final and the first time since 1978, when their juniors were losing finalists for the under-18 trophy, that any Boroughmuir team have made a national cup final.

The club who once dominated the Scottish, and indeed for a time British senior men’s scene – they won the Scottish Cup nine times in a row, the last time in 1976 – are in the midst of a revival and victory tomorrow would be a further boost for an outfit now proudly operating out of their own facilities at the Crags Sports Centre.

However, coach Adrian Flynn and his team will go into tomorrow’s game as the slight underdogs against a Steven Dickson-coached Kings side who are still unbeaten this season and lead the Scottish Cadet Men’s League, with Blaze back in fourth place on four defeats.

Blaze are well capable of an upset and will take heart from the fact the only head-to-head so far saw them make Kings work hard for a 55-52 away win. The league return is due at Portobello on February 25.

St Mirren target an upset

St MIRREN men’s coach Stuart Glass hopes last weekend’s 104-71 league defeat from Edinburgh Kings at Portobello proves to be a wake-up call as he prepares his team for tomorrow’s senior men’s final against firm favourites Falkirk Fury (3.30pm). “Although we’ve lost twice to Falkirk, both have been four-point games with a minute to go,” he said. “We chased those games and it didn’t work out – but it will this week.

“We’ve been in the final three times in the last four years so there’s no excuse for stage fright.”

Women’s role for Gordon

Ian GORDON has been appointed coach to the Scottish senior women’s team for this year’s Euro C Tournament in Macedonia in July.

Gordon, the experienced and widely-respected former MIM Livingston men’s coach, said: “I’m looking forward to it. I really believe we can be competitive and I’m hoping to get access to all the players who are in the USA, although I realise we won’t be able to use anyone who is in the GB Olympic squad which means we probably won’t have Rose (Anderson).”