Chester join jet set

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Top English players used to turn their backs on Chester Jets, but now their coach, Mike Burton, need not worry. The flood of Americans allowed in "post-Bosman" has seen Chester recruit five and now they are joint leaders of the Budweiser League.

Burton said: "We always found it difficult to recruit top English players to Chester. We knew the league's decision to go from two to five Americans would help us."

The key acquisition last week was former Newcastle Eagle Russ Saunders, the league's all-time leading scorer. Last season the Jets won just eight league games. Now they have won five out of six and as co-leaders London Towers and Sheffield Sharks have a free weekend, Chester will open a clear lead by beating London Leopards tomorrow.

In midweek Chester beat Sheffield for the second time this season, having never beaten them before. But Burton bristles at the suggestion that anyone should be surprised. "We're a good team with good players. When we beat Newcastle last week it was put down to them having an off night and us being lucky. Let people go on thinking like that, it suits me."

Apart from former Birmingham Bullet Billy Singleton, Burton recruited Hilliary Scott, Nigel Palmer and Ricardo Leonard from Irish clubs. Burton said: "They could see the new arenas over here and the crowd base and wanted the chance to step up to the next level."