Basketball: Edinburgh on steep curve

Edinburgh UNIVERSITY look like having a tough fight on their hands to keep their Northern Premier Division status in the British Universities League judging by their first outing this week at home at the Pleasance to Northumbria.

The Geordies, who have strong ties with BBL club Newcastle Eagles, won 87-48 without hitting any of the high spots that Durham for example attained when they visited this league last season.

Durham, several of whose players are also the core of the Durham Wildcats BBL team, have still to come as have another English team with a National League club core and several scholarship import players, Leeds Carnegie, who beat Glasgow 92-74 at the Kelvin Hall this week.

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No wonder Edinburgh coach Lee “Chopper” Pettett, the ex-Edinburgh Kings player now with Boroughmuir Blaze had an uphill battle on his hands with only one, Ian Black, of last year’s team who held their own in the division, still available.

To make matters worse an out-of-touch Black contributed a miserly two points to the home total and it was an American Eric Gross who top-scored with 12 points, former Perth Phoenix junior Ben Warrington, now also with Blaze, adding ten.

Blaze meanwhile face Strathclyde League side Renfrew in the Scottish Cup at St Thomas’s HS tomorrow at 12.20pm with high hopes of progressing to the next round.

Edinburgh University women have lost fewer players from last season’s successful line-up but coach Jim Mitchell, the former Scotland star whose daughter Alison is one of the mainstays of the side, will be hoping for a big improvement after they too went down to Northumbria 82-43 at home.