Basketball: Crusaders' dilemma: Champions may not go up

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The Independent Online
COVENTRY CRUSADERS celebrate their First Division championship at home to Sheffield Forgers tonight while the Budweiser League stragglers, Oldham Celtics and Hemel Royals, enter what could be their final few weeks in the top flight, writes Duncan Hooper.

The Crusaders' co-owners and coaches, Dip Donaldson and Rob Bromfield, will consult Budweiser League clubs before deciding on promotion. Donaldson said: 'Our fans want us to go up, but (would) they come and watch us lose?'

Sheffield have no such misgivings. Having signed a five-year agreement with entertainment group Chrysalis and though they occupy the 12,000 seat Sheffield Arena, the Forgers will apply for special consideration to be promoted even if they do not finish as runners-up or win the play-offs.

Although there is no automatic relegation, the bottom three clubs are assessed at the end of the season as to whether they enhance the competition. Hemel and Oldham have just four wins between them.

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