Basketball: Fight ends game after 30 seconds

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The Independent Online
CHESTER JETS' Budweiser League game with Derby Storm was abandoned after 30 seconds last night, when players from both teams invaded the court after a fight began between Chester's Sean Hartley and Derby's England international Yorick Williams.

The match officials Richard Stokes, a senior international referee, and John Mumford immediately abandoned the match at Chester's Northgate Arena.

This is the most serious incident in the history of competitions run either by the English Basketball Association since 1972 or the Budweiser League since 1987. The League's chief executive, Mike Smith, immediately announced a joint inquiry between the League and the EBA, the sport's governing body. Mr Smith said: "this is a very sad and serious occurrence. It is the first time an incident like this has happened in the history of the sport and the inquiry will examine every aspect of the circumstances surrounding it."

This uproar comes at the end of an already turbulent disciplinary week for Derby. Their coach, Bob Donewald, was fined pounds 300 and banned for two games on Tuesday for abusing officials at an earlier match. Donewald already faces another misconduct charge, which is due to be heard tomorrow, after his actions and those of one of his players was reported to police by Birmingham Bullets fans after their defeat at Derby last weekend.

This incident overshadowed all of the on-court action this weekend, in which Thames Valley Tigers produced the most surprising result. The Tigers rediscovered their bite on Saturday night, taking a sizeable chunk out of the healthy lead Sheffield Sharks had enjoyed at the top of the Budweiser League and re-opening the door for Manchester Giants.

The 6ft 9ins American Jason Siemon scored seven points to spark a 14- 2 Tigers run which gave them an astonishing 95-90 win after Terrell Myers gave Sheffield an 88-81 lead with three minutes to play.