Basketball: Byrd on song after Brown ban

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The Independent Online
ALTON BYRD'S connection with the play-off finals goes back to 1980, but he probably owes his place in this weekend's Carlsberg Championships at Wembley Arena to the big mouth of his Guildford Kings team-mate, Karl Brown, writes Duncan Hooper.

After Guildford lost their first play-off quarter-final at Birmingham two weeks ago, their coach, Kevin Cadle, omitted Byrd from the next two matches in the series, which the Kings won to reach Wembley. But Brown's haranguing of the officials after that first defeat earned him a two-game ban and ruled him out of the finals.

'We're slower up the floor when Alton plays and we'll miss Karl's defence,' Cadle said, 'but what Alton gives us is the control to defend a narrow lead over the last few minutes.' He also gives them a passing game, which will delight his team- mates, Lorenzo Duncan, Trevor Gordon and Martin Henlan.

Byrd made his debut 13 years ago with Crystal Palace and this weekend marks his sixth championship finals.