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Basketball: Anger after Bullets ship 100 points once more.

Byline: RICHARD TAYLOR

B'HAM BULLETS 79 CHESTER JETS 110

BULLETS owner Craig Bown should refund every supporter who spent their hardearned cash on attending last night's collapse against the Jets at the Aston Events Centre.

Beaten 114-82 at home to Sheffield Sharks last Saturday and 111-79 at Newcastle Eagles on Wednesday, the Bullets have now lost three in a row with a combined deficit of 95 points.

The fans are bemused, their feelings summed up by this posting on the supporters' website: 'We can handle a loss from a team that tries but not caring and not bothering is not being a Bullet.'

And a member of the club's staff, posted: 'I've always been wary of being too critical for fear of undermining the players. Sadly, with the performance over the last few games it would appear that they too have given up.

'I can no longer muster the enthusiasm to support the club home and away. Like the rest of the staff, players, coach and countless fans I'm afraid I've been gradually worn down. Its just not enjoyable any more.'

While Bown pursues his dream of building a new arena, the unavoidable question is whether anyone in Birmingham will be left with enough interest in BBL basketball to go and watch a team play there.

Bullets play-off hopes have all but disappeared, especially with eighth-placed Milton Keynes Lions beating London Towers 75-73 last night.

When Bullets face Lions today, the Bletchley Leisure Centre will be 'The Last Chance Saloon'.

Last night Bullets faced a Chester team without the BBL's leading scorer, Kenny Gregory. He has averaged over 24 points a game, but the Jets hardly missed him.

They led 26-13 at the end of the first quarter and 63-32 at half-time. Jets biggest lead was 77-34, as John McCord with 30 points, Calvin Davis, 28, and Todd Cauthorn, 18, led their scorers.

Bullets were again without Sullivan Phillips, recovering from a broken hand, although in terms of points production his absence hardly compares with Chester's loss of Gregory.

But what Bullets have crucially missed these past weeks is Phillips' spirit, determination - qualities that in recent games have been most evident in Kevin Griffin and the English rookie trio of Rikki Prince, Richard Onions and Neil Nesbit. Lions coach Nigel Lloyd, captain of the last Bullets team to reach the Play-offs final, can finally rip the heart out of this season's hopes when the teams clash at Bletchley today (4pm).

The Lions went into the weekend in eighth spot - the last qualifying slot for the quarter-finals - and if results go their way this weekend Lloyd's team will qualify ahead of the Bullets and the Essex Leopards. Lloyd, who led the 'Famous Five' under coach Mike Finger to the 2000 final against Manchester Giants, said: 'I like our chances of qualifying better than the other two, because we are ahead of them. 'As long as we play hard and we accept the challenge I think we will be OK.

'I have positive vibes coming from the guys that we are capable of doing it. We will go out and give it our best.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2003
Words:522
Previous Article:HOCKEY: Eager Lions hungry to bite Bullets says Lloyd.
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