Tough going for students

The need for Edinburgh University’s two teams to up their game if they are to retain their status and compete successfully in the Northern Premier Division of the British Universities Championships has again been in sharp evidence this season.

Competing against several teams who combine their university and scholarship players with their BBL or English National sides, Edinburgh men have struggled, though they did snatch a vital away win over Glasgow.

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Even with Mike Kirkpatrick in their ranks they went down 87-50 to Durham at the Pleasance this week, but coach Lee Pettett was encouraged. “They are getting better and it’s starting to come together,” said the Aussie, who praised former Perth Phoenix junior Ben Warrington for his recent improvement. Warrington, who plays alongside Pettett in the Boroughmuir Blaze national league side, was top scorer with 10 points.

Edinburgh women went down 105-50 at home to a formidable Durham side, who pressed continuously. But the Capital side never buckled and must have gained some encouragement for their away trip to Sheffield Hallam next Wednesday, a game which they really must win if they are to stay upstairs.

Coach Jim Mitchell could do worse than give more time to second year medic Fiona McCusker, a former national team player making a comeback. “I’ve really missed my basketball,” said the former Denny Devil.