Basketball: Scantlebury leaves Eagles

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND'S Peter Scantlebury discovered yesterday that being the record holder for international caps could not guarantee a place in his club's line-up and left the Newcastle Eagles.

Scantlebury, the former captain, will turn 35 just before England's European Championship game against Denmark in Birmingham, and lack of court time with the Eagles brought disagreement with the coach, Craig Lynch, to a head this week. Scantlebury, who holds 124 caps, said: "We weren't seeing eye to eye and tried to sort it out at the end of last season, but things haven't improved.

"I've been playing well in practice but not getting the chance to show what I can do in games. You can't expect to keep your place in the national team if you can't do that in your club side.

"It's the coach's decision that I leave, not mine, but I've got to be positive now and move on. My wife, Jackie, works in Newcastle and although this isn't the easiest place to commute from I'll go anywhere to show what I can do in the league."

Lynch said: "I know Peter felt he was not getting a shot at what he needed on the team. He was behind Chris Fite and Ian Whyte in the rotation and now we've signed Chris Webber and have Scott Wilkie coming back from injury, so it wasn't going to improve."

Scantlebury's plight is typical in the Budweiser League where most clubs include five Americans, a situation that squeezes out English players and has forced leading internationals such as Steve Bucknall, Roger Huggins and Neville Austin to play on the Continent.

England's 24-man provisional squad for the European Championships includes 13 players based on the Continent.