Cheshire Phoenix produced a valiant display to push Durham Wildcats to the wire in their BBL clash on Sunday.

The home side opened up a 21-11 lead midway through the first quarter but Phoenix produced a 10-2 scoring blitz to close the gap to three points.

The Wildcats pulled out to a 56-39 lead but again Phoenix fought back to trim the deficit to 12 points at half-time.

Durham took charge in the third quarter to move 17 points clear but Cheshire captain Chez Marks sparked yet another rally as the visitors battled back to trail by nine at the buzzer.

The final stanza saw Marks and Alif Bland pull Phoenix to within two of the Wildcats before the home side pulled eight points clear with just 2.33 left on the clock.

Phoenix dug deep once more and a Marks free throw made it 98-96 with 23 seconds remaining. However, Durham breathed a sigh of relief when they managed to secure a vital win from the foul line.

Ralph Bucci, the BBL Player of the Month for December, lead Durham Wildcats with 23 points, tied with Keith Page.

But Marks led all players in scoring with 29 points after another impressive performance.

The result leaves Phoenix in eighth place and the final playoff berth in the BBL table on 14 points from 18 games. London Lions are in seventh, also on 14 points, with Glasgow Rocks sixth on 18 points.

Phoenix are being chased by Sheffield Sharks and Manchester Giants, who are just two points behind them in ninth and tenth, with the Sharks holding two games in hand. Durham are 11th on ten points.

By Andy Jowett