Basketball: Leopards' trip to the foxhole

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The Independent Online
GREATER London Leopards and Birmingham Bullets must fight their way out of the Budweiser League's equivalent of the trenches tonight, as they take their battle for the championship into the final week of the regular season.

The Leaders and defending champions, Leopards, are away to Derby Storm at the Moorways Leisure Centre and Bullets face Thames Valley Tigers at the Bracknell Leisure Centre, certainly the two most cramped, raucous and intimidating venues in the League.

The Leopards coach, Billy Mims, has described Moorways as a "loud foxhole" is a compliment. "It's one of the toughest dens to play in and try and sneak a win. They have tremendous home support." Adding to his worries is a spectacular run of form for the coach, Jeff Jones, and the Storm as they push for a place in the play-offs. "We're playing tougher now," Jones said, "and smarter down the stretch. The players have a target and they see it's achievable."

Bullets, two points behind Leopards but with a game in hand, cannot afford another defeat. But Bracknell is a demanding venue against a Tigers team still trying for a top four finish. "Playing on their floor has to be one of the toughest road trips in the League," said the Bullets coach, Mike Finger.