Grand Prix V
20th February 2012
The final grand prix of the 2011-2012 series was held at Stoke Mandeville. The teams arrived eager to get going as this was their last chance to pick up points to go towards the final league standings.
Eagles & Gators were the first winners of the day in Tier 1, beating Simpsons 25-21, 25-12. They were soon followed by the 2nd placed team in the league, East London Lynx, who beat Essex Pirates in straight sets. Simpsons once again found themselves a set and down 10-3 in their 2nd match against East London lynx, however 6 straight points saw them bring the score back to 10-9. They couldn’t carry their momentum though and lost the set to 14. The next opponents to challenge the league leaders were Battleback, but they couldn’t improve on Simpsons scores and also lost in straight sets.
In the first match after the lunch break, East London Lynx were up against Battleback. They were pushed all the way, and at one point looked as though they may lose the 2nd set, but they closed it out 25-22. The Pirates registered their first win of the day against Simpsons, beating them in 2 sets 25-23, 25-14. Lynx’s final game of the day was against rivals Eagles & Gators. On this occasion, Eagles & Gators proved too strong, winning in straight sets 19 and 14, confirming their position at the top of the league after 5 grand prix’s. Battleback beat Essex Pirates and Simpsons to ensure they left with two wins from the final GP.
In Tier 2, newcomers Gravesend Diggers started well against Kent Wyvern, getting a credible 18 in the first set. The 2nd set saw further improvement as they pushed Kent all the way, narrowly missing out on winning the set 26-28. Portsmouth’s first game of the day was a 3 setter against Loughborough Lions. Portsmouth came out on top, winning the 3rd 16-14. Gravesend Diggers didn’t fair as well in their 2nd game against Portsmouth, losing 15 and 17, and then lost their next game to a Loughborough Lions team who were beginning to find some form. Lincoln Imps, who sat off the first round of games, got off to a winning start against Kent Wyvern with a 2 set victory and followed that up with another win against Portsmouth. They completed a hatrick of victories against a Lions side who were disappointed not to take the game to a decider, and then beat Gravesend Diggers who, despite not winning any games, gave a good account of themselves.
The MVP’s on the day were Jess O’Brien for Tier 1 and David Umule for Tier 2.
Congratulations to Eagles & Gators and East London Lynx who will be competing in the Tier 1 Final and Essex Pirates and Portsmouth who will compete in the Tier 2 Final, both to be played at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering on 14th April.