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Basketball: Tigers' world challenge

MICK BETT, the Thames Valley Tigers coach, treated last season's world invitation club competition - the Russell Athletic tournament - as an extended training session to bring his players back on track after Christmas, writes Duncan Hooper. The Tigers responded by beating CSKA Moscow in the final, then two weeks later won the club's first domestic title for four years in the League Trophy final.

With his team due to face Manchester Giants in the League Trophy final on 16 January, Bett takes the same low-key approach to this year's tournament, which begins today at Crystal Palace. 'The motivation at last year's tournament was to get in shape,' Bett said. 'Winning was a bonus and I have the same view this time.'

Manchester and Worthing also play at the Russell tournament, where London Towers complete the quartet of English men's clubs at the event. Tonight London face the Bulgarians, Levski Sofia, and Thames Valley play Basket Flyers, of Vienna.