Grand Prix IV
Kettering welcomed back the Sitting Grand Prix series for the 2nd time, playing host to GP number 4. A slightly delayed start didn’t affect the teams as the first 2 tier 1 games got underway at a high tempo. The first game saw top against bottom from GP3, with East London Lynx taking on Simpsons. The result was the same, but saw an improved score line for Simpsons of 25-16 and 25-14. In match 2, current series leaders Eagles and Gators registered their first victory of the day against Essex Pirates. Lincoln Imps’ first game of the day was against Eagles & Gators, playing their 2nd. Imps took a set to warm up properly, but after losing the first to 8, they pushed a lot closer and were unlucky not to take the game to a 3rd set, losing the 25-22. Essex Pirates lost their 2nd game of the day, although the 27-29 score line in the 2nd set suggests it could have gone for them on another day.
Game 5 was one of the matches of the day, with Simpsons taking on Essex Pirates. The game went into a 3rd set after scores of 16-25, 25-13 (Simpsons winning the 1st set). It was neck and neck all the way, with Simpsons just gaining the advantage at the end and winning 15-13. East London Lynx had a very comfortable victory against Lincoln Imps who couldn’t quite find the form they’d shown against Eagles & Gators. The big match of the day with the 1st and 2nd placed teams in the series didn’t disappoint, with Eagles & Gators winning a very close 1st set 26-24 against East London Lynx. They carried their momentum into the 2nd set, taking the game 25-15. Simpsons were also involved in the only other 3 set match of the day, this time against Lincoln Imps, however the result was the same, with Simpsons taking the decisive set 15-11. Imps failed to register a victory in their final game, however another close 2nd set loss, 28-30, showed they have the potential to turn the results round on another day. Eagles completed their 100% win record, beating Simpsons 25-11 25-14 in the final tier 1 match of this GP.
In tier 2, FDSW Celtic Dragons were a late withdrawal, leaving 4 teams to battle for promotion. After finishing 2nd in the previous GP, Loughborough Lions managed to continue their good run, beating Kent Wyvern in 3 sets. On the opposite court, Battleback won a closely fought encounter with Portsmouth, edging both sets 25-23, 25-21. Portsmouth turned the tables in their next 2 games, beating Kent Wyvern in 2 sets and bringing Loughborough Lions good run to an end, also in 2 sets. Battleback joined Portsmouth on 2 wins after defeating Kent Wyvern with a fairly comfortable victory. They went on to top the group, beating Loughborough Lions in their final game, 25-8, 25-20.
The MVP’s were Darryl Tring (Lincoln Imps) for Tier 1, and Mike Stoneman (Portsmouth) for Tier 2.