BASKETBALL:Tigers surge to third title again

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Thames Valley Tigers retained the Seven Up League Trophy at Birmingham's NEC last night, wrenching the title from Sheffield Sharks inside the final minute to win a stupendous final 74-69 in front of 4,000 fans.

Tigers' third successive trophy win was still in the balance with the scores tied on 69-69 after the lead had switched in the second half.

The crucial plays revolved around Sheffield's American, Todd Cauthorn, who collected his fourth and final fifth foul within seconds of each other. As he left the game to send Peter Scantlebury to the free throw line the game was slipping away from Sheffield.

Scantlebury scored with only his second shot to open a one-point lead, but after Roger Huggins missed from Sheffield's next offence it was Neville Austin who broke away to give the Tigers a three-point lead.

With time running out, Sheffield's outstanding individual, Garnet Gayle, missed with a desperate three point attempt. Steve Bucknall tookthe rebound, raced down to exchange passes with Austin before scoring the final basket.

Tigers' win broke a 17-game winning streak for the Sharks who reached this final in their first season.