Basketball: Derby's run stalled by travelling man

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The Independent Online
The Department of Employment and Education have refused the work permit application of the England coach, Laszlo Nemeth, the Hungarian who was to have taken over the reins at Derby Storm. That left Jeff Jones to carry on the club's mini-revival which was stalled by a controversial Budweiser League defeat at Manchester Giants on Saturday.

After Michael New's free throws put Manchester 74-73 ahead, Derby's Tony Windless scored with a lay-up with less than one second to play. The scoreboard changed to show Derby leading 75-74 and, Jones said: "Everyone assumed Tony was also going to get a free throw after being fouled by New."

Instead, the referee, Keith Bruce, wiped out Windless's basket and penalised him for a travelling violation. "It was a bad, poor decision," said Jones. "If Tony did travel it was only because he was barged by New."

Today, though, Derby are boosted by the return from America of DeRon Rutledge, who averaged 21 points and nine rebounds per game before being injured in October.

London Towers reopened their six-point lead on Saturday by inflicting a 20th consecutive league defeat on Watford Royals, by 101-87. Tony Holley's shot on the buzzer gave Thames Valley Tigers a 90-88 win over Birmingham Bullets, while Scott Wilkie's 23 points led Newcastle Eagles to their seventh consecutive win, by 93- 82 over Chester Jets.

- Richard Taylor