Tigers set-off on their trip to Coventry in optimistic mood, following the previous week's away win over London Leopards. Having already beaten the Crusaders twice in their two National Trophy games early in the season and in the home league match back in November, Taunton were the pre-game favourites.
You can watch the full game video here or View it on Vimeo. The match report continues below.
After a tentative start, Tigers began to edge ahead mid-way through the opening session with Chris Page demonstrating his all-round abilities in picking-up 10 of his 37 game points in the quarter. Kev Anderson and Simon Kearney also played key roles as Tigers gained a 6 point lead by the first break.
A strong start to the 2nd period by the home side saw them come back to level the scores by the 3rd minute and then gain a 5 point advantage by the 7th. However, this proved to be the only time they were ahead as the visitors showed their character to stage a come back of their own. Tigers finished the quarter with a 9 – 2 run. Coventry's only points in that spell came from the free-throw line, while 3 pointers from Page and Kearney enabled Tigers to go into the locker room with a slender 34 – 36 advantage.
A more determined start to the 2nd half saw Taunton begin to show their dominance. They went on a 11 – 2 run and an Adam Rickwood 3 pointer in the 8th minute stretched their lead to 15 points. Crusaders again fought back with a 6 – 0 run, but a Rickwood inside score off an offensive rebound in the closing seconds of the quarter enabled Tigers to finish with an 11 point platform going into the final break with the scores at 53 – 64.
Taunton kept their concentration in the 4th quarter and Paul Yabsley led the way at both ends of the court as they totally controlled the final session. A 3 pointer from in the corner by Tim Clifford sparked a 13 – 2 run which closed the game out and secured a comfortable 25 point win.
After the match, Taunton's satisfied Head Coach Tom Kambouris said,
“To beat any team 4 times in one season is difficult. The first three games against Coventry were much closer, so to put them away the way we did in the third quarter was a testament to our preparedness and our ongoing improvement.”
Off the court new local Sports Masseur, Emma Smith, who has a treatment room at the Tigers' lair — otherwise known as Wellsprings Leisure Centre — has recently joined the team to support the continued success on the court. The players' fitness and conditioning will be a key factor in the closing weeks of the season as they battle for a place in the play-offs.