Basketball: Sharks fans fearful of towering London

Sheffield Sharks' fans are restless after successive home British Basketball League defeats against fellow title-contenders, and they fear more of the same when London Towers visit Ponds Forge tomorrow.

Sheffield Sharks' fans are restless after successive home British Basketball League defeats against fellow title-contenders, and they fear more of the same when London Towers visit Ponds Forge tomorrow.

Joint leaders Brighton Bears, the defending champions, and Chester Jets are two points ahead of the Sharks and the Towers, with Newcastle Eagles two points further behind going into this weekend.

Sharks will again be without the injured 6ft 8in England international Richard Windle and fans are impatient for coach Peter Scantlebury to fill his vacant import slot with an American centre of at least Windle's height before the 31 January deadline.

Towers arrive on the back of a five-game winning streak since the Sharks beat them 76-72 at Crystal Palace. The Towers' coach, Robbie Peers, said: "They deserved to beat us last time. They scored at will and I was really disappointed with our defence."

In the England Basketball League Division One tonight, third-placed Manchester Magic are at home to second-placed London United.

United are the only unbeaten side in the division, one win behind the leaders Sheffield Arrows with two games in hand, while Magic have an 8-2 record.

Magic coach Jeff Jones believes he is yet to see the best of his side, which has been rebuilt after several players secured American college scholarships. "We don'thit top form until Christmas," he said.

Leaders Arrows should beat the basement side Kingston Wildcats, despite the loss of rebounding machine Ryan Blankson who has not returned to the club after Christmas.

In the English Basketball League, Essex and Herts Leopards have signed the American point guard, Brandon Kephart, who makes his debut against Coventry Crusaders in place of the retired Hayden Herrin.

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