Wheelchair rugby: Team GB slip to defeat in opening 'murderball' match

Great Britain 44 United States 56

Great Britain produced a battling performance at the Basketball Arena - but it was not enough to prevent an opening game defeat against reigning Paralympic wheelchair rugby champions the United States.

Britain, inspired by free-scoring star man Aaron Phipps, captain Steve Brown and workaholic David Anthony, led 13-11 after the first quarter.

But 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 tomorrow 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 fightback.

Reflecting on the defeat, Brown said: "United States are the number one team in the world, but I am so proud of my players.

"The atmosphere was something else today, and we drew from that as players.

"In so many areas we matched up. Player for player, there is very little difference.

"They are a very well-oiled machine and they have played together for a long, long time."

United States coach James Gumbert paid tribute to the British performance.

"We played a quality opponent today.

"They came out and threw everything in the tool-bag at us, and we had to go back and find another tool-bag.

"They are a quality team and they put on a quality performance. They played as champions."

PA

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits