Taunton Tigers crashed out of the National Shield on Sunday to a very powerful Glamorgan Gladiators team. Tigers (who play in Division 4 of the National League) fought all the way, but they just could not hold the Welsh side which is currently 3rd in Division 3.
Taunton didn't make it easy for themselves with a very slow start to the game on both offense and defence. Although Mike Sebire worked his way to 8 early points, with some determined inside play, the team could only muster 16 points in the first quarter. At the other end of the court, Glamorgan were scoring apparently at will, mixing dominating low-post play with impressive outside shooting, and they held a daunting 16-29 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Tigers started to fight their way back into the match after the break, though. Adam Rickwood came alive to score 9 points in the first 3 minutes of the period and, just as importantly, Tad Gray put in a great defensive stint against Gladiators 6′6″ American centre, Joe Womack. The deficit had been cut to just 8 points (38 – 46) at the half-way stage.
The comeback continued in the early stages of the second half. Scores from Rickwood, Gray, Kev Anderson, Joe Mills, Alistair Bird and Dan Howe saw Taunton pull back to within 3 points (54 – 57) and they looked well-placed to go on and win the game. Unfortunately, the increase in Tigers' defensive intensity resulted in fouls starting to mount up alarmingly. Glamorgan took full advantage of the opportunities this presented and they punished the home side ruthlessly from the foul-line. Sinking 12 of 12 free-throws, they opened up the lead again to 59 – 69 at the end of the third quarter.
Taunton were unable to bounce back again in the fourth quarter, and the visitors secured their win with relative ease.
Coach, Gary Carter, was clearly disappointed with the outcome,
“We should not be losing games like this. As a team we understand that there is a lot of work to do and the intensity of our play at both ends has to increase if we are to have a successful season.”