Great Britain’s Wheelchair Basketball Stars Get Off The Mark.
Two games in for both sides and both countries were still looking for their first victory in the competition. In Great Britain’s case the excellent work they had made in the opening match against Germany had been to no avail as they lost narrowly in extra time. It was perhaps the added exertion on the body of the British players that saw the team crash valiantly again in the second game against Canada in the North Greenwich Arena.
To lose one game on the way to winning Olympic gold is easily recoverable, to lose two, the ask becomes harder as oppositions sense the weakness in the team’s ability, if either side were too their third game, you can pretty much be sure that that would be that as far as dreams were concerned.
The opening quarter though should put any worries that fans of The Bulldogs may have felt building in the unquestionable support of their heroes, and in particular the indomitable spirit of Terry Bywater who racked up nine quick points for the home team before many in the crowd had time to put down their pre-match cups of tea.
The first quarter was as close to domination as you can get, the British team were playing with more swagger and although Columbia are no Germany, they still can be a test for any team wishing to be crowned as champions. A healthy 12 point lead was established by The Bulldogs and went into the second quarter 25-13.
The second quarter saw the fine display by the British team continue as they racked up the pressure on their Columbian opponents. The 12 point lead was extended to 25 and unlike the German team who opened up their group games against the British and saw their lead diminish almost instantly after half time, it looked doubtful with the way the British team, especially Bywater, Hall and Sagar were playing, that the home team would be in any danger come the second half.
The second half started in pretty much the same way as Great Britain were awarded a free throw for a rather ugly challenge, Orogbemi made sure of the first but couldn’t quite make the second as it hit every part of the rim but stubbornly wouldn’t go down. That aside the third quarter for the most part was a cagey affair with neither side giving away too much with keeping possession the key. That said the Bulldogs with Finbow running quite a tight ship at the back were better able to make the most of any advantage gained and further enhanced the lead going into the final quarter to 32 points.
It has to be said that the main difference between the teams was that of accuracy, certainly Great Britain’s was far superior as the stats pointed out. Great Britain may have performed an awful lot better against Germany in the opening game that really should come as no surprise. However, the manner of this victory against the qualifiers from the American section shouldn’t be ignored. Their highest points total of the tournament so far coupled with the tenacity and mental strength to come back from the disappointment of losing to Canada should be relished. Peter Finbow should also get plaudits for his dogged display in the match which saw him also get a basket towards the end of the match, something he certainly deserved for his excellent performance.
The couple of minutes saw the lead stretch further as the match ended up 81-41, an excellent result for the home side.
With a win finally under the Bulldogs belts, the next few games would be paramount if Great Britain was to progress to the quarter finals and Poland would surely offer a much more interesting and skilful battle.
Choudhry, Highcock, Sealy, Munn, Pollock, Jama, Byrne, Sagar, Finbow, Hall, Orogbemi.
Coach: Murray Treseder.
Columbia Gapacho, Alzate, Rios Roa, Sanz Londono, Garcia, Leep Ipema, Hernadez, Chaparro, Diaz Torres, Hawkins.
Coach: Jose Tapias Patron.
Man of the match: Finbow (Great Britain)
Final Score Great Britain 81 – 41 Columbia.
Turkey 65- 60 Italy
United States 91-29 South Africa
Japan 49-64 Germany
Ian D. Hall