Match Report: Taunton Tigers Mens Team — 21 November 2010

Taunton Tigers vs Swindon Sonics

This was the classic ‘game of two halves’. In the first, the Tigers probably gave their hosts far too much respect and just couldn't get any offence going. As a result they found themselves 15 points down. To their huge credit, though, they came out for the second half and put on a display of character, determination, power and skill which so nearly turned the game on its head.

In a close start Tigers had several good looks at the basket, but their shots just wouldn't fall, and they were restricted to just 4 points (from Henry Mansfield and Dom Maher) in the first quarter. Swindon's offence (which had put up 72 points against Plymouth in the first match of the day) were also struggling against a high tempo defence. They did, though, manage to open up a 10 – 4 lead with the help of 5 points from the foul-line.

The second quarter followed a very similar pattern as again Tigers were only able to score 4 points (this time from David Grenfell and Kester Duncan). Swindon closed out the half with a 7 – 0 run to make it 23 – 8 and there looked to be no way back for the visitors.

Whatever words of wisdom Matt Nolan passed on to his players at the break worked and it was a completely different team that came out for the 3rd quarter. They upped the pace of every element of their play, and their new-found intensity was matched by assurance and intelligence. After 10 turnovers in quarter 1, Tigers coughed up none in this period.

They also found ways to score. Duncan started things off, Grenfell followed up (with 6 points in the quarter), Nathan Webb kept it going, Sam Jackson and Mansfield were successful with free-throws, and Spencer Gormley (4 points in the period) epitomised Tigers growing confidence with a behind the back-dribble on his way to a lay-up. Taunton won the period 15 – 13 and had proved to themselves that they could compete.

It was still 36 – 23 going into the final period and the outcome seemed a formality. Fortunately, Tigers had different ideas and they put in an incredible defensive display that brought them right back into the game; in the entire 7 minutes of play, they didn't allow Swindon a single point. Cheered on by the traditionally vocal Tigers away support, the lads clawed their way closer and closer to their opponents. 4 points from Duncan made it 27 – 36, and further scores from Grenfell and Gormley squeezed the gap to just 5 points with about 2 minutes to play. In a frantic final passage of play Taunton pressed hard for those last few points, but Sonics just managed to hold out.

Final Score: Taunton Tigers 31 – 36 Swindon Sonics

Leading Tigers Scorers: Grenfell 10, Duncan 8, Gormley 4