Five years after their last venture “upstairs,” Capital basketball aces Edinburgh Kings have been given another chance to test themselves against professional opposition when they play the Glasgow Rocks in the first round of the BBL Cup at the end of this month.
The BBL announced today that the City of Edinburgh club have accepted an invitation to play in the competition, following the withdrawal of Essex Pirates from all BBL competition. The Scottish public will now get a rare opportunity to see the top two teams in the country when the Kings take on the Rocks in the first round at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on Sunday, October 30.
The Kings are top of the Scottish League with an unblemished 4-0 record, having also won the Scottish title in eight of the last nine seasons.
Last time Kings appeared in BBL competition was in 2006 when they featured in a preliminary group of the BBL trophy along with Newcastle Eagles, the then Scottish Rocks and Scottish League rivals Troon Tornadoes, finishing third in the group beating Troon but losing heavily to Eagles (109-57) and the Rocks (103-59).
Clearly a target this time will be to get much closer to their professional rivals who have a new-look side this season and have still to register a win.
Top scorer for the Capital side on that last occasion was Simon Flockhart with 17 points and the big centre cannot wait to have another crack at them: “I’m really looking forward to the game, it’ll be a great opportunity for us as the top “amateur” team in Scotland to go up against the pros, having personally turned down offers from the Rocks on two occasions in the past.
“I’ve played against them a couple of times for club and country and had strong games and it would be nice to cause an upset. But we’ve nothing to fear and, if we go out and play our game the way we know we can, who knows what can happen, I don’t think they can afford to take us lightly.”
Kings coaches are certainly up for the challenge: “We’re delighted to get this opportunity,” said Head coach Doug Reilly.
“The players and coaching staff are eagerly looking forward to pitting ourselves against the Glasgow Rocks, in a game that will be an excellent test of our abilities.”
Rocks seem equally keen with general manager Daniel Bajwoluk, saying: “We’re genuinely thrilled at the prospect. The Kings are the team to beat in the Scottish National League, and it will be interesting to see how the two premier Scottish teams fair against one another.”
One of the few teams to have played both the Rocks and Kings this season are Stirling Knights who hosted the Rocks in a friendly at the Peak Centre recently, losing 94-50 after being put to the sword 87-52 by the Kings in the league.
“It should be a good game and Kings will give them a good test,” said Knights coach Pete Duncan.