Tigers suffered a setback in their first game back after the Christmas break, against an extremely hard working Newham side. In a game in which neither side really got into their stride offensively, if Tigers had been just a little more ruthless from the free-throw line, they might well have forced the contest their way.
The visitors from East London played a high tempo defensive game throughout, consistently putting pressure on Taunton's possession with full-court presses and double-teams. Inevitably, fouls resulted and the home side went to the line 30 times, but they only managed to sink 14 of those shots. In a tight game, that might have been the difference.
Tigers edged the first quarter 16 – 15, before Newham made a decisive run in the second behind excellent shooting from range. With Tigers' inside defenders, Tad Gray and Mike Sebire, denying penetration to the basket, Neptunes were forced into trying their luck from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, they sank 5 triples on the way to 30 points in the period and a commanding 29 – 45 lead.
It would have been easy for Taunton to fold at that point, but they came out even more determined for the second half. Again, it was defence that was their strength. In the whole of the second half Newham were held to just 24 points, and the question was whether Tigers could score enough themselves to turn the contest around.
George Scarborough got the third quarter underway with a long 2 which sparked an 9 – 2 run, in which Gray netted 5. Tigers were back within striking distance, although they couldn't make further in-roads until the final quarter. At the start of the fourth they were still 11 points adrift but, with 5 minutes to go, Joe Randall hit two successive 3-pointers to cut the deficit to just 5 (56 – 61). Then, after a Newham free-throw, 2 points from Adam Rickwood edged his side to within 4. That was, though, as close as they could get, and the visitors saw out the final few minutes.
Gray was, rightly, named Tigers' MVP having grabbed 13 rebounds to go with his 11 points.