Basketball: Sharks fall victim as Chester win

SHEFFIELD SHARKS lost the chance of clinching the Budweiser League title with a scarcely believable 84-81 defeat at Chester Jets. Following Saturday's 81-65 win over Newcastle Eagles, Sheffield only needed to win last night to be clear of Manchester Giants. Now the title will be settled when the teams meet in their final game of the regular season in Manchester on Friday.

The Jets opened last night's game with a 10-0 run, then edged the first quarter 26-23 after a three-pointer from Greg Meldrum. Sheffield regained control with an 11-0 run to open a 47-38 half-time lead before the Jets jolted them.

Runs of 13-2 and 8-0 gave them a 64-63 lead at the end of the third and in the closing seconds, two free-throws from Prentice McGruder gave them an 84-80 lead before Todd Cawthorn scored a free-throw. Team-mates Travis Conlan and Iain McKinney both failed with desperate three-point attempts.

Manchester kept up the pressure on Saturday with a 98-86 win over Birmingham, but scarcely could have hoped that Chester would save their title ambitions.