Great Britain men's Wheelchair Basketball team take stride towards BT Paralympic World Cup Trophy after edging thriller with Germany
about a year ago
Jon Pollock top-scored with an impressive 18 points as hosts Great Britain wheelchair basketball team saw off Germany 57-53 in a thrilling match on the first day of team action at the BT Paralympic World Cup.
Pollock, who was part of the team that took bronze at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, led from the front as GB justified their position as world number two and a real contender for a podium finish at this summer’s Games in London.
Great Britain, who led throughout the match, in truth deserved the win and while Pollock admits he felt his side could have scored more, he says the most important thing was developing fitness levels and understanding within the team.
“It was going to be tough. They’ve done their homework and we’ve done ours. It was a battle of attrition out there. Today we came out on top, which is a good thing."Jon Pollock
Pollock added: “The key is getting the fitness and getting used to playing together and I think we made strides in that department today. We would have liked to have scored more, there’s no doubt, but we won, which is all that matters.
“I'm not interested in personal points or anything like that, I'm only interested in how the team did with our objectives. I'm pretty sure we didn’t hit all of our targets, that’s why they came so close, but we’ve got lots of direction, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
Elsewhere it was a day of solid performances but frustration for the hosts.
Great Britain football 7-a-side coach Lyndon Lynch praised his teams “great” performance despite losing 4-2 to Brazil.
The hosts’ narrow loss to the Samba Boys out on the pitch was mirrored on the court as Great Britain’s women were unlucky to go down 36-49 to an inspired USA team.
Brazil’s footballers got off to the best possible start when midfielder Wanderson Oliveira put them in front after just six minutes, and despite Josh Beacham’s equaliser, the home side went into the break losing 2-1 after Yurig Robeiro scored on the stroke of half time.
Jose Guimaraes extended the lead after the break and hit another three minutes before full time, with Britain’s only goal in the second half coming ten minutes from time from Lynch’s man-of-the-match, Ibrahima Diallo.
Reflecting on the result, Lynch said: “Today all the players did well but Ibrahima had a great game. He is a very enthusiastic player and technically very good and the more players that we get like that it bodes well for us in the future as we look towards a great London 2012 and then beyond that for cerebral palsy sport.
“Today was great and part of our process towards the Paralympics this summer."Lyndon Lynch
Lynch added: "We are hoping to get in the top six teams at the Paralympics but my aspiration would be to get on that podium and win a medal.”
Lynch’s positivity was echoed by captain Matt Dimbylow, who believes his side should have won the contest and says if they tighten up a few areas then they’ll be a real force to contend with.
Dimbylow, said: “Being honest we should've won that game, I believe we created more chances than Brazil today and their goals came from mistakes by us. Hopefully now we can learn from those mistakes. I do think we played them off the park with our set-pieces and we just need to work on taking our opportunities in training.
“If we believe in ourselves like I know we do, then we can come back in any game, today just didn't go our way really."Matt Dimbylow
We're hoping to get them back in the final and show them what we can do and we're expecting to be in the final. The BT Paralympic World Cup gives us a great chance to show what we can do and hopefully shock the rest of the world and the top teams.”
Brazil midfielder Mateus Calvo was impressed with Great Britain’s performance, but believes the result was settled by his team’s pace and penetration.
Calvo said: “I have never played against GB before and they proved to be a very strong side. But, we are a very young and fast team and were able to clinch the win in the end.”
Earlier in the day, Republic of Ireland showed their Paralympic Games credentials with an impressive 3-1 win over the USA.
A double from midfielder Luke Evans and a second half strike from substitute Peter Cotter was enough to see of the USA, despite a consolation from forward Rene Renteria.
On the wheelchair basketball court, a remarkable leading-score performance from Amy Conroy (23 points), was not enough to guide her Great Britain team to victory against a unrelenting USA side.
The two sides looked equally matched after the first quarter, with it finishing 12-13 to the visitors, but the USA, led by Becca Murray and Natalie Schneider, who scored 20 and 10 respectively, gradually pulled away to take the spoils.
While disappointed with the result, Conroy was optimistic about the rest of the tournament and promised fans at Manchester Regional Arena a great performance tomorrow.
Conroy said: "It was disappointing to lose today, but the opposition came out fighting and they just performed better than us. They were aggressive from the start and quick and we need to be more like that. We will be better tomorrow and make sure we bring everything we have got."
Reflecting on her side’s first appearance at the BT Paralympic World Cup, USA’s Sarah Castle said: "This is our first time here at the BT Paralympic World Cup and that was a great first game. We need to tweak a few things but it’s a great start to the tournament against a great side who are young and fast."
It was a successful first day on the court all round from the USA, as the men’s team saw off Japan 46-76 in a high-scoring battle.
Josh Turek, Nate Hinze and Jason Nelmes all notched double-figure hauls for the USA side, with the latter scoring 22 points, while Hiroaki Kozai top scored with 15 for Japan.
USA burst out of the blocks and immediately took charge of the game, something head coach Jim Glatch will undoubtedly have been impressed with.
Great Britain’s men’s team kicked off the evening competition and were 30-28 up against Germany at half time.
The BT Paralympic World Cup is the largest annual international multi-sport competition in elite disability sport. BT is entering its fourth year as title sponsor, upholding its strong commitment to disability sport in the UK that stretches back over twenty years.
Manchester has committed for the eighth consecutive year to hosting elite international athletes competing across Wheelchair Basketball, Athletics and Football 7-a-side. In addition, Boccia will once again be represented, with an international match being staged during the competition.
The 2012 BT Paralympic World Cup will once again be broadcast by Channel 4. For more information about Channel 4’s Paralympic coverage, visit: www.channel4.com/paralympics.
The BT Paralympic World Cup is sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) and supported by ParalympicsGB, BT and Manchester City Council.
Tickets for the BT Paralympic World Cup are on sale. For more information visit: www.btparalympicworldcup.com
The event schedule for the rest of the week see the Manchester Regional Arena host Wheelchair Basketball and Football 7-a-side on 23-26 May and the Boccia match on 24 May.
Lee Pearson has recently appeared in a new series of 90-second programmes on Channel 4. Catch his 'Lone Rider' programme tonight on Channel 4 at 19:55. The films are produced in conjunction with BT. Channel 4 is the host broadcaster for the a London 2012 Paralympics Games. BT is the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.