75 travelling fans saw Taunton Tigers overcome Birmingham Athletics in the semi-final of the National Play-offs last weekend. Their reward is a trip to the Newcastle this weekend to play before the BBL semi-finals in the 11,500 seater Metro Radio Arena.
Their opponents Northumbria also travelled to Birmingham to scout the Tigers ahead of the showcase final, but they only saw glimpses of the incredible form that has taken the Tigers to new heights, in a tense game that had the ‘Athletics’ fighting for their lives.
With a 17 point lead from the first leg Taunton fully expected Birmingham to come out with all guns firing. However with the travelling fans noise effectively turning the game into a home team atmosphere, Tigers fought fire with fire an opened up a 12 – 5 early lead. The Midlanders though would never lie down and they reduced the deficit to 2 points by the end of the first period and had gained a three point lead by the half.
The Anderson Brothers re-established an offensive base for Taunton. Richard (16 points) and Kevin (14 points) used footwork and fakes to score inside and whilst Tigers remained scoreless from the 3-point line, Yabsley and Seeley began to get to the hoop for easy baskets.
Taunton largely controlled the game in the second half but the incredible travelling support had to bite their nails down to stretch as a surge from Birmingham took them 7 points ahead. Tigers regained composure to stem the flow and were happy in the end with a 82 – 75 point loss that saw them comfortably through on aggregate.
Captain Graham Jones was slightly disappointed with the loss but remained positive afterwards,
“It wasn't pretty at times but we got the job done. Northumbria are clearly the other form team, but we have looked at their DVDs and we have nothing to fear. We are travelling to Newcastle with the expectation of bringing the Trophy back to Somerset.”
The players fly out Friday night with the supporters coach going early Saturday morning.