Brits battle in opener
Great Britain lost 56- 44 against United States in their 2012 opener
Last Updated: September 6, 2012 10:58am
Great Britain produced a battling performance at the Basketball Arena on Wednesday afternoon - but it was not enough to prevent an opening game defeat against reigning Paralympic wheelchair rugby champions United States.
Britain, inspired by free-scoring star man Aaron Phipps, captain and scholar Steve Brown and workaholic David Anthony, led 13-11 after the first quarter.
However, they struggled to contain America's slick, impressive movement off the ball, and once the gold medal favourites went ahead early in the second quarter they gradually pulled away.
Britain, fourth at the last Paralympics in 2008, have remaining Pool A games against France on Thursday and then Japan on Friday, when victories in both should secure a semi-final spot.
Wheelchair rugby, known as murderball when it was invented in 1977 due to the ferocity of collisions between players, did not disappoint a capacity crowd on its London Paralympics debut.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson was among a crowd often left wincing by the hits as both teams looked to lay down a gold medal marker.
Brown scored the tournament's first goal, and his team rapidly followed the skipper's example during an opening quarter high on energy and endeavour.
Britain shaded it by two goals, staying ahead throughout, and America did not go ahead in the match until almost three minutes of the second quarter had elapsed.
The defending champions eased through the gears, opening up a five-goal advantage with the brilliant Chuck Aoki in commanding form, even though goal machine Phipps maintained a prolific strike-rate.
America took a 41-32 lead into the final quarter, and that was too big a margin for Britain to have any realistic chance of staging a successful fight-back.