Basketball: Gayle rides back into Leicester in time to take on Sheffield Sharks

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The Independent Online
Garnet Gayle exchanged obscurity for the TV limelight yesterday when he signed for Leicester City Riders for the second time in his career, in time to play in tomorrow's televised Budweiser League game at his at former club, Sheffield Sharks.

Gayle, 33 next month, returned to his Nottingham birthplace this season to play National League basketball for the Knights, after spells with Manchester Giants and Derby Storm last season left him without a Budweiser club for the new campaign.

Riders signed a sponsorship deal this week and their coach, Bob Donewald, said: "Garnet is a confident man who fits in with the maturity of players we already have like James Havrilla, Billy Singleton and Gene Waldron. Garnet brings fire to the team and some defence. His personality is important. He's a winner and we need that."

He made his original Leicester debut in November 1987 and had four seasons with the Granby Halls club. Gayle spent two seasons with the Sheffield Forgers in the National League before they graduated to the Budweiser competition in 1994 to become the Sharks.

The hopes of the England coach, Laszlo Nemeth, of having league games postponed prior to the European Championship round beginning on 26 November have been dashed by another TV game, Sheffield's visit to Exide London Towers on the previous Sunday.

Several players from that game will be in Nemeth's 12-man squad, who assemble that night in London before leaving for a friendly in Germany the following day en route to the opening Championship game in Denmark on the Wednesday.

A meeting between the English Basketball Association and the League failed to resolve the conflict of interests. Mark Hannen, of the EBA, said: "We both recognise the need to help the national team but it was too late in this instance because of the TV considerations."