An emphatic 94 – 64 away win against Plymouth Raiders II in the Patron's cup, a league cup for National Division 2, has set up a mouth watering fixture against Kent Crusaders this weekend at Wellsprings. With the top two teams in the North and South progressing through to the semi-finals a home win against Kent would leave Taunton just one game away from a major final.
A win for Kent at home to Bristol however now means that should they beat the Tigers this weekend they will leap frog Taunton leaving both teams on two wins but with Kent winning the head to head. A big crowd is expected at Wellsprings for the rearranged tip-off time of 6.30pm on Saturday as the Tigers aim to beat Kent for the first time. In their previous two meetings Kent has won by 10 points, but Coach Heath is convinced that the developing Tigers are ready for a new milestone.
“Kent has a very similar set up to us. They have a developing club with passionate fans and a well coached deep team. However whilst we respect them we no longer fear them and have the belief necessary to make the next step this weekend.”
The squad will be buoyed by one of their best performance yet last weekend in Plymouth. The game was much closer than the score-line suggests, with the Raiders getting within 8 points during the 3rd quarter.
The Plymouth team boasts some considerable up and coming talent and are well organised and coached by Lee Robinson. With former Tiger's players Clifford and Spearman in their ranks Plymouth were always going challenge at the guard spot. Indeed Wakenena (15 points) and Spearman (12 points) were constant threats throughout the game.
From the start Richard Anderson (28 points) dominated inside, maintaining his impressive form this season contributing to a 22 – 13 lead by the end of the first quarter. Tigers managed to soak up some serious full-court pressure form the raiders before imposing themselves to lead 49 – 31.
The intense and abrasive Matt Nolan began imposing himself on the game during the second half allowing Joe Andrews (15 points) to capitalise on steals. But the Raiders never gave up and forced Taunton to weather a storm that left Plymouth within touching distance.
It was the immense Paul Yabsley (13 points, 8 assists) who managed to steady the ship. Whilst still not fully fit following injury and illness he provided the platform using his brawn and brain to allow the Tigers to ease away to a comfortable win in the end.