Match Report: Taunton Tigers Mens Team — 4 December 2011

Taunton Tigers vs Canary Wharf Baltic Staff

An injury ravaged Tigers side stunned league leaders, Canary Wharf with a win which was as exciting as it was unexpected, in the circumstances. Without a number of regular starters (including some late withdrawals) this looked like being a tough assignment for a team that had lost its last two contests, but they showed what character and strength in depth this club has.

The visitors arrived for the game late but seized control from the off, surging out to a 5 – 16 lead behind three 3-point shots. Long-range efforts from Harry Turner and George Scarborough kept Tigers within touching distance, but they were still 5 points back at the first break.

Half way through the second quarter the table-toppers seemed to be cruising to a predictable victory. With clinical shooting they were able to take full advantage of a number of turnovers and they stretched the lead to 15 points. The home crowd could see little prospect of their inexperienced side mounting any sort of comeback, but gradually the tide turned. It began with a vital 7 – 2 run to close out the half, but really gathered momentum in the 3rd quarter.

Canary Wharf stretched the lead out to 10 points (36 – 46) but Taunton changed the complexion of the contest with a 14 – 3 burst that gave them the lead for the first time since the opening minute. The sequence started with a triple from Kev Anderson and ended with 2 free-throws from Turner to make it 51 – 50. The visitors' shooting touch appeared to have deserted them, but they showed their class by bouncing back and immediately regaining the lead (50 – 56). Coach Matt Nolan must have wondered at this point whether his side had it in them to come back again, but he needn't have worried. The inspirational Turner and Adam Rickwood combined for 10 of the next 12 points scored in the match to make it 60 – 58. In the final seconds of the period Turner missed the second of two free-throws, but Anderson grabbed the vital rebound and pushed the lead to 4 as the buzzer sounded.

The final quarter was a real test of nerve for the home side, after their opponents quickly tied the game up at 62 all. Tigers showed great character down the stretch edging ahead 4 more times, but Canary Wharf would not be shaken off and drew level each time. With less than a minute to go the contest was all square again at 76 apiece, but with one last effort Rickwood, who was teetering on 4 fouls and suffering from cramp, put his side decisively ahead. Appropriately, Turner sealed a magnificent win which shows how much strength in depth this club has.

Harry Turner (34 points) and Adam Rickwood (23) stepped up and showed great leadership, but this was an outstanding team performance. Under 18s players Hayden Allen and Callum Pincombe fully justified the faith that Nolan showed in them, while Mike Sebire and Ben Williams did all the vital work that doesn't always show up in the stats.

Leading Tigers Scorers:Harry Turner 34; Adam Rickwood 23; Kev Anderson 8

Final Score: Taunton Tigers 80 – 76 Canary Wharf Baltic Staff