PARALYMPICS: Great Britain through to semi-finals

Great Britain's Simon Munn  is challenged by the defence.
Great Britain's Simon Munn is challenged by the defence.
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JON Pollock booked his place in Thursday wheelchair basketball semi-finals - but knows the world’s best player is blocking his path to a shot at gold.

Great Britain have won bronze at the last two Games but are hitting form after a slow start to the tournament, edging past in-form Turkey 75-70 in a closely-fought quarter-final.

Canada - who beat Great Britain 70-54 in the group stages - are next up and their star man Patrick Anderson, who scored 29 points in that match, is the big threat.

But Pollock - who contributed 15 points including three three pointers - insisted the hosts had nothing to fear after their fourth straight win.

“We’ve been in semi-finals before and hopefully this time we’ll get that win,” said Pollock, who won bronze in Beijing and Athens and has now appeared in four consecutive Paralympic semi-finals.

“We’ve got two games to make history for ourselves. The whole country is watching and we’re determined to make them proud.

“On the warm up court I felt good. When I got the chance I decided to let it rain and it seemed to worked.

“I’ve not missed a semi-final yet in my career and confidence is streaming high right now.”

And Pollock, who hopes to go into coaching when he concludes his 20 year career, has his own thoughts for dealing with Anderson.

“I’d just leave him and see if he can score all 60 points and I’d block everyone else out,” he added.

“We’ve got plans for him. We addressed it after we lost in the group game. If we turn up as a team, we can stick it to them.”

Coach Murray Treseder is delighted with the spirit his team have shown since their opening defeats to Germany and Canada.

And he believes his side are now the form team in the tournament, dubbing the partisan crowd at the North Greenwich Arena as their ‘sixth man’.

“Turkey are a great team who we’ve been struggling to beat recently but we executed our plan perfectly,” he said.

“It’s a hell of a win for us and we’re getting better and better as this tournament goes on.

“We had a poor game against Canada and we know we are better than that and we’re looking forward to proving it.

“Anderson is a world-class player and he was dominant in that game. But he’s had the occasional poor game in the past and when he does they struggle.

“We need to contain him but we can’t let other players get away for us, so it will be a big challenge.

“There is no pressure on us, this is just a tremendous opportunity for the guys to play in front of their home fans at their home Paralympics. It won’t happen again so I hope they seize it.”

In particular Treseder hailed the contribution of Sheffield Steelers player and top scorer Terry Bywater, who scored four consecutive late free throws to ease the pressure, and veteran Pollock.

“Terry is a true professional and the ball is in good hands with him,” he added.

“It’s been a long 17 months for Jon Pollock coming back after a serious injury. Maybe that bit of rest has been good for him because he had a big influence in that game.

“It bodes really well for the semi-finals that both of those players are doing so well.”

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