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Peers' men fired up to bite the Bullets

AFTER waiting 17 years to win their first major trophy, Chester Jets are just one game away from snatching their second piece of silverware in nine months.

AFTER waiting 17 years to win their first major trophy, Chester Jets are just one game away from snatching their second piece of silverware in nine months.

In the past couple of years, Jets head coach Robbie Peers has transformed the team into one of the dominant forces in the game.

Jets had a 10-26 record in Peers first season as coach in 1998/99, but currently stand top of the Northern Conference with 11 wins from 13 games.

They have also qualified for the knockout stages of the BBL Trophy, the competition they won to break their duck last year, but Sunday's cup final is their immediate priority.

Jets face Birmingham Bullets in the ntl:home National Cup final at the Sheffield Arena (2.30) and it will be the first time the two sides have met in serious competition this season.

Peers said: "The final is firmly in the front of my mind. I've seen them play three times in the space of 10 days and we're going to have to perform because they're in a rich vein of form. They're competitive, play hard and have both size and balance.

"We shouldn't be frightened to say this is a big game, because it's huge. We want to win another piece of silverware this season and I don't give a monkeys which. Let's just win one and we'll take it from there because we've never been to this cup final before."

The game comes on the back of what was by far the most successful year on the court in Jets' history and Peers is delighted with the continued evolution of his improving squad.

He said: "It was an incredible year, absolutely fabulous. We performed to a level this club hadn't seen before and signed players who we never thought we could have. At the end of last season we worked hard, with a real focus to build on what we achieved.

"Once you lose the hunger and the desire then you're in trouble, but we're just starting."

But Peers admits to suffering a downbeat festive period after Jets were beaten by Northern Conference title rivals Sheffield Sharks four days before Christmas. It was Jets first home loss of the campaign and ended an 11-match winning run. He said: "I can't stand losing, I sulk and throw the dummy out of my pram. I've watched the tape of the game six times and I still can't believe how we lost. But that's sport and things like that happen. What I don't like is people who say that it was the kick up the pants my team needed. Don't be disrespectful to my players, they are competitive professionals. When they lose I can still look them in the eye. Are they going to win every game? No."

New Zealand international captain Pero Cameron, who skippered Jets to glory in last season's BBL Trophy final, is concentrating on making sure he's in the right frame of mind for the game.

He said: "Our ultimate goal is to win titles, so it will be great if we can win the big games."

Jets have faired poorly in head-to-heads, winning just seven out of the 35 meetings between the two sides and losing the first 15 encounters.

The match is being screened live on the ITV Sport Channel, but tickets are available on the BBL website at www.bbl.org.uk Tickets for the All Star game at Newcastle on Sunday week (4pm), when Peers coaches a Northern team including four of his own players, are £8 for adults and £5 for children. They are available on 0845 345 7890 or on line at www.bbl.org.uk


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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