Taunton Tigers had to work hard when they travelled away to Bognor Pirates this weekend to finish eventual 66 – 58 winners and maintain their momentum towards the National Play-offs. Bognor came out aggressively in the first quarter to open up an early 17 – 4 lead whilst the Tigers struggled to find any form from outside the key. Coach Heath tried seven different players in the shooting spots but reached the half with only Joe Andrews making a shot from distance.
Understandably the Pirates already excited about the possibility of stealing a surprise win filled the zone and actively encouraged the Tigers to keep shooting. A more pragmatic approach from Taunton was needed. Firstly Taunton concentrated on shutting out Bognor's key men and successfully stemmed the Pirates scoring flow, whilst beginning to get some easy scores following forced turnovers by their guards. The half finished at 35 – 33 to the home side but the seaside support had already quietened as the momentum was clearly already swinging back towards Taunton.
Captain Nolan controlled the second half and was happy to do what was needed for a win, as he explained afterwards,
“We know it wasn't pretty but sometimes you have to win ugly rather than lose.”
The second half saw Tigers pound the ball inside relentlessly. Paul Yabsley was more than happy to accept the physical work and he wore the Pirates down on his way to the 22 points and the MVP award.
Rich Anderson and Graham Jones maintained the defensive intensity whilst the effective Kevin Anderson supported Yabsley inside offensively scoring 14 personal points to ensure there was no late comeback.
In the strange world of sport, most will remember the game as the only time that centre Dave Bullock has not scored in during his 18 years with the club! Tigers hope to revert back to their more familiar and exciting expensive game when they entertain Solent Stars at this Sunday 4.00pm at Wellsprings.