Edinburgh University fail to escape Premier drop

Both Edinburgh University men’s and women’s teams have crashed out of the Northern Premier Division of the British Universities Championship, finishing bottom of their leagues after their final games this week.

But they were scarcely meeting their opponents on a level playing field: Edinburgh men faced a Worcester Wolves team virtually unchanged from their BBL side, including the BBL Player of the Week Tommy Freeman, who was one of the four full scholarship players they had on view.

All credit then to Edinburgh then for making a fight of it, despite being without starting point guard Davy Rowan and their enigmatic vet student Michael Kirkpatrick, and having the temerity to lead for most of the first quarter, mainly due to tough defence and the driving play of Aaron Niemeyer, who was top scorer with 17 points.

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But once Worcester, who had the former Scottish and Edinburgh Kings junior guard Eoghan Dover in their ranks, found their rhythm there was little doubt about the outcome and they won 82-56.

Edinburgh women, who theoretically had to beat Sheffield Hallam by 19 to avoid the drop, began brilliantly leading 11-0.

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But then the Great Britain cap Helen Naylor, another semi-pro player who may not even make the London 2012 team, stepped in, sparking Sheffield to a 14-0 run.

Edinburgh added only four more points in the first half and eventually went down 73-42, while Naylor, who never seemed even remotely to be playing flat out, tallied 30 points.