Basketball: Bannister fails to save Jets

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Alan Bannister made an impressive return to English basketball last night, with a 21-point haul which included a trio of three-pointers, but the 7ft 5in centre could not save injury- ravaged Chester jets from a 124-102 Budweiser League defeat at Birmingham Bullets.

Bannister, who last played in England two seasons ago for Newcastle Eagles, returned this week after his Austrian club folded to answer an SOS from Chester's coach, Mike Burton. The former England international, reputed to be Britain's tallest-ever sportsman, was thrown straight into the front line last night.

Chester last season reached the League Trophy final and finished first in the league at the end of their most successful campaign. But this season they have been disrupted by injuries and last night were without the Americans Ricardo Leonard and Sean Bell, as well as Dave Gardiner.

Even so, for three quarters the Bullets made hard work of a victory which lifted them clear into second place, four points behind London Towers. Nigel Lloyd scored 31 points, 17 of which came in building a 28-22 first- quarter lead.

But, with Corey Jackson scoring 30 points, the Jets trailed only 51-50 at half-time and by 12 at the end of the third. It was all too much for the tiring Jets, however, and they fell away in the fourth after using just six players, including four who played all 40 minutes.