A hard fought win away to Liverpool 65 – 56, maintained the Taunton Tigers incredible 2007 record ahead of this weekend's tasty home double header against Bristol and NEWI Nets. The victory lifts Somerset's finest players to a lofty 3rd place in the National Men's Division 2.
With pre-season targets already met Coach Ronnie Heath has called a meeting with all players and staff this week to revaluate and set new goals. With a quarter final play-off spot virtually secured Taunton will surely set their sights on a top 4 finish, (and a favourable draw), with home fixtures against all the top teams over the coming weeks, on the horizon.
Bristol with a 15 – 2 record will provide Taunton with the sternest test on Saturday at Wellsprings. Ahmed at 6′10″ and Grainger 6′8″ have dominated recent games against the Tigers. With young guards Treasure and Street also lighting up the league they have gained momentum in their march towards Nat division 1.
However a large crowd promised at ‘Fort Wellsprings’ will anticipate a change of order in the battle of the south-west. The return of experienced forwards Richard and Kevin Anderson alongside powerhouse Paul Yabsley will give the Tigers an additional boost on the back of 4 straight league victories.
Taunton will be able to field a near full strength side for the weekend that includes a ‘four-pointer’ against North-West Wales on Sunday. Taunton lost by 9 points in the away fixture and must now prove they are worthy of their 3rd place against a team level on points.
The Liverpool game served to demonstrate Taunton increased maturity the Tigers were forced to grind out a result in a contest when they were not firing on all cylinders. Three-point and free throw percentages were at a season's low and as a consequence a real defensive effort was required to stay in the game. Liverpool however fought for every loose ball and Graham Jones and Matthew Nolan for Taunton had to work hard to maintain shape. It was not until 3 minutes from the end that Tigers took the lead through some inspirational play from Joe Andrews that saw him twice steal the ball and go coast to coast weaving and spinning for the score.
Outstanding Junior Jordan Seeley once again filled the bigger shoes of absent players to finish the game as highest scorer (16 points). Heath warned that all players would have to play at their best this weekend for Tigers to overcome two of the best teams in the league.
“We have already proved we can stand up at this level. Nobody doubts our talent and potential anymore, the question is whether we are ready mentally for the big games. Our knowledgeable home support has always lifted us for these challenges in the past and I know the players won't let them down in terms of commitment.”