Basketball: Sheffield on course

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Sheffield Sharks opened up a six-point lead in the Budweiser League with an 80-62 win at Manchester Giants, while Doncaster Panthers helped their title bid by beating Thames Valley Tigers, the defending champions, 86-84.

Jim Brandon, the Sheffield coach, was determined that his players should have a complete break over the holiday period. "I knew I risked my players losing a little fitness during their lay-off, but they needed a long rest to get back their mental freshness," he said of the theory behind his apparent generosity.

London Leopards joined Thames Valley Tigers in second place by carving out a hard-fought 73-69 victory at Worthing Bears, despite being deprived of the services of their England international, Karl Brown, who sat out the match as he began a two-game suspension.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 28