Basketball: Scantlebury's England role makes up for league fears

ONE DAY after being named the new England coach, Peter Scantlebury may be forced to give up the BBL Championship title tonight if his club, Sheffield Sharks, lose to Chester Jets and Brighton Bears pick up two points against Leicester Riders.

Scantlebury, 40, won 131 caps and is the BBL's all-time top points-scorer. He had been England's assistant to Laszlo Nemeth since 1999 and said: "For many years I had hoped to be in this position. My basketball career is going in the direction I had always hoped it would."

The BBL title, though, is not going in his direction. Even if Sharks beat Chester tonight and Milton Keynes tomorrow, the title seems destined to go to Brighton for the first time in 11 years, since the franchise was based at Worthing.

In the English Basketball League, Plymouth Raiders already have the First Division title won and tonight face Reading Rockets, who clinched the runners-up spot last weekend.

Ware Rebels need one more win to clinch their place in the play-offs, but are without their coach Jon Burnell, who has been banned after his ejection in the recent win over Teesside Mohawks. The Ware manager, Mark Clark, the former England women's coach, returns to sideline duties against Worthing Thunder, who are bidding for a top-four finish and home advantage in the quarter-finals.

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