Basketball: Derby buck losing trend to lift hopes

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AFTER nine successive defeats, the prospect of pay cuts spurred the Derby Bucks to two victories in four days and resurrected their hopes of qualifying for the play- off quarter-finals at the end of the Carlsberg League First Division campaign, writes Duncan Hooper.

A recent 40-point drubbing from Leicester City Riders earned Derby's players the warning that they would be short-changed until they climbed away from the three relegation places.

The midweek win over Manchester Giants, followed by a 102-92 victory at Birmingham Bullets on Saturday, leaves the Bucks one place clear of the relegation places in ninth position, but a comfortable six points ahead of Cheshire Jets.

The leaders, Thames Valley Tigers, opened a two-point lead with a 97-74 victory at Oldham on Saturday and by beating London 86-75 last night. Worthing Bears stayed second with a 90-80 win over third-placed London on Saturday.