Sharks dodge the Bullets

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The Budweiser League champions, Sheffield Sharks, regained a grip on their best-of-three play-off quarter-final against Birmingham Bullets last night with a 65-55 victory at Ponds Forge.

Birmingham's Nigel Lloyd, the Barbadian who tormented Sharks in the Bullets' 85-81 victory in the series opener on Friday night, was shadowed throughout last night's game by Garnet Gayle, who held Lloyd to just three points in the first half. The series will be decided by next Sunday's game in Sheffield, with the winners qualifying for the play-off finals at Wembley on 29 and 30 April.

Thames Valley Tigers, runners-up to the Sharks, will also have to find Wembley the hard way after losing 89-79 at seventh-placed Worthing Bears, last season's Wembley winners. Colin Irish scored 16 points in the third quarter as the Bears outscored Thames Valley 30-11 to take a 69-59 lead into the final quarter.

Manchester Giants, who finished fourth in the League, will be confident of qualifying after a 112-108 overtime win at fifth-placed Doncaster Panthers, who will now have to win twice away to go through. Manchester's Trevor Gordon scored two free throws five seconds from time to force the extra period. London Towers are also in a strong position after a 92-77 win at London Leopards.