Taunton Tigers earned themselves a third round tie to National Division 1 side Coventry Crusaders in the Men's National Cup with a 106 – 78 demolition of Plymouth Raiders II over the weekend. Raiders II who also play in National division 2 were fastest out of the blocks and soon opened up a 10 point lead 23 – 13 late in the first quarter.
Taunton Tigers came out for the 2nd quarter however with their ‘warrior’ faces and quickly imposed themselves on the game. The legendary defensive intensity returned to frustrate Plymouth who boasted 2 former Tigers, in Spearman and Clifford. It was then the Tigers offence that started to fire as Taunton created inside and outside opportunities. Anderson and Jones started driving to hoop whilst Joe Andrews began his shooting exhibition with five 3-pointers in the first half. The Tigers went not on to score 37 points in the 2nd quarter and go in 53 – 42 at the half.
The second half saw Taunton steadily extend their lead with Paul Yabsley (20 points) becoming more and more influential and Joe Saunders (13 points) adding three 3-pointers. The star of the show however was Joe Andrews who had a terrific all-round game. Coach Ronnie Heath was convinced it was his best game yet for Taunton,
“Joseph has hit 33 points and above plenty of times before, but he has not controlled a game and lead his team-mates quite as well before. His defence was also immense. He really is beginning to understand what this game is all about.”
The result was a welcome boost after falling 75 – 65 to Bristol in the Patron's cup the day before. The huge west county outfit were just physically too strong for Taunton who still miss three inside players due to injury. Tigers showed some great flashes but were strangled by the ‘Flyers’ and were unable to gain enough possession throughout the game.
As the Tigers early impressive results stack up so do the injury casualties. Paul Yabsley has broken his hand and he joins, Kevin Anderson (broken nose), Lee Riviello (broken foot) and Tad Gray (Glandular Fever) on the long term ‘freak’ injury list.