Basketball: Tigers ready to pounce on Cup holders Jets

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The Independent Online

Chester Jets will continue the defence of their National Cup with a semi-final against Thames Valley Tigers at Sheffield's Ponds Forge on Saturday 7 December. That contest will be the first of a double header, starting at 4pm and will be followed by London Towers against Brighton Bears at 6pm.

Chester Jets will continue the defence of their National Cup with a semi-final against Thames Valley Tigers at Sheffield's Ponds Forge on Saturday 7 December. That contest will be the first of a double header, starting at 4pm and will be followed by London Towers against Brighton Bears at 6pm.

The Jets won the Cup for the first time last season, the first stage in their clean sweep of all four domestic titles on offer – a feat they cannot repeat this season because the north-south conference system has been replaced by a single national league to decide the championship.

Tigers, who last won the Cup in 1998, are at home to Chester in a BBL Championship game tomorrow night and their assistant coach, Michael Hayles, scouted the Jets in their 98-94 quarter-final win over Birmingham Bullets on Saturday night.

The resurgent Bears, the only team unbeaten in any competition under their owner-coach Nick Nurse, have never played in the final, while Towers' last appearance was in 1996, when they defeated Sheffield Sharks to take the title.

Birmingham's Jekyll and Hyde season took another turn on Sunday night with a 91-82 defeat in Glasgow against Scottish Rocks, taking their winless start to the championship to seven games.

Yet the Bullets have won four out of six games in the Western Conference of the European Champions Cup and victory tonight over Mons (Bel) will maintain hopes of reaching the Pan European Round by taking one of two qualifying places from Group A.

Bullets hope to obtain international clearance for England guard Steve Hansell to play.

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