Basketball: Campaign to save Tigers begins at full pelt with time running out

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The Independent Online

While the season draws breath before next Saturday's BBL play-off semi-finals in Birmingham,Thames Valley Tigers will be holding theirs and wonder whether they will have a team next season.

While the season draws breath before next Saturday's BBL play-off semi-finals in Birmingham,Thames Valley Tigers will be holding theirs and wonder whether they will have a team next season.

Owner John Nike's anticipated, but still dreaded, decision to withdraw funding has galvanised supporters into a 'Save Our Tigers' campaign. Tonight (7pm) Bracknell Sports Centre stages a Past Tigers v Present Tigers fixture, with the former Tigers line-up including current coach Paul James, Mick Bett, Mike Hayles, Renaldo Lawrence, Richard Scantlebury, Shawn Jamison and Nigel Lloyd.

Mike Davies, one of the co-ordinators of the scheme to keep Tigers in the BBL, said: "All revenue will go to the 'Save Our Tigers' fund, but if we don't manage to save the team the money will be put into local basketball development."

With the help of supporters, an eight-member steering group has already attracted £15,000 worth of sponsorship and services in kind for the team.

Davies said: "We aim to take the Tigers back to being a community club, with the development of grass roots basketball linking local Berkshire schools to the school of basketball already associated with the Tigers." The steering group will decide at the end of June whether the franchise is viable, while the BBL are still keen to persuade nearby Reading Rockets to step up from the second tier English Basketball League.

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