Basketball: Bullets back with a bang

Mike Finger, the Birmingham Bullets coach, is ready with a vote of thanks for the Newcastle Eagles coach Craig Lynch. Two successive Eagles victories at Wembley over London Towers have dragged the Budweiser League leaders back into the chasing pack, and the destination of the title is no longer firmly within the grasp of Kevin Cadle's team.

Finger has most reason to be grateful. The return from injury of key player Tony Dorsey actually marked a slump in the team's performances, as three defeats out of four saw the Bullets lose ground on the leaders. "It was inevitable," Finger, a 31-year-old from Iowa, said. "When Tony was out the players stepped up to take extra responsibility. When he returned there was a tendency to give him the ball and stand back and watch."

After a 12-point victory at winless Watford Royals, the balance returned to Birmingham's offence with Monday's 113-99 win over Leicester City Riders. Now they face their most important weekend so far.

Tomorrow they meet Tigers in the League, then seek to overturn a four- point deficit against Newcastle in the second leg of their League Trophy quarter-final on Saturday. Both games are at the National Indoor Arena.

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