Taunton Tigers convincingly won the battle of the big cats, beating Cornwall Cougars 118 –44 in Round 1 of the National Cup. The victory sets up a mouth watering clash against local rivals Plymouth Raiders on Oct 22nd in round 2. By the seventh minute Tigers had opened up a twenty point lead against the Cornish visitors and eventually finished the quarter 32 –9 ahead. Taunton have traditionally eased off in such situations but on Saturday they demonstrated a new ruthlessness in their character never letting up against the Cougars, 2 divisions below in National Div 4.
Richard Anderson bullied his way to 26 points against the physically smaller Cornwall outfit whilst Dan Howe continued his pre-season improvement contributing on the break with some breathtaking trademark ‘street’ finishes. Cornwall never stopped working and all their players showed flashes of real quality but they could not maintain any rhythm against a very slick and incredibly quick Tigers team. It was Tauntons pressure defence that was the biggest gap between the teams, as they consistently turn over the ball and ran in points at the other end.
Michael Sebire had a fantastic game for home team playing out of position with long term injury and illness keeping Riviello and Gray out of the early line-ups. It was also an opportunity for Alistair Bird to show his incredible shooting range. Two long-range 3 pointers from ‘Down Town’ by the Birdman in the 3rd quarter had the visitors scratching their head.
The players' feet are firmly on the ground however in advance of their first real test against Tamar next week in the Patrons Cup, a competition reserved for only National Division 2 teams. Head Coach Ronnie Heath was quick to dismiss suggestions that they would be underdogs for the tie.
“Tamar are more experienced at this level but our team are the best prepared ever. The neutrals can suggest they are favourites but I like the attitude of my players right now and if you ask any of them, they we tell you we will win in front of our home supporters. Anyone who doubts us should get to the game next week!”