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IBB Polonia London v Sheffield Hallam

7th May 2017

IBB Polonia London v Sheffield Hallam

CHAMPAGNE MOMENT!

IBB Polonia are the Men’s Super 8s champions!

They’ve done it – the double double! Polonia lift the Super 8 title to go with their cup title, for the second year running. Quite some achievement. But all credit to Sheffield for pushing them as hard as they have done – many observers were surprised to see them face Polonia in both competitions and they did it the hard way, dispatching top seeds Team Northumbria for the right to face Polonia today. And that third set win today meant Polonia had to fight their very hardest for their accolade.  

IBB Polonia 25-19 Sheffield Hallam

They saved one match point but Derek Guimond, who’s had a relatively quiet game thus far, piles through the middle and Sheffield have no answer. IBB Polonia take it 25-19.

IBB Polonia 24-18 Sheffield Hallam

Wainwright takes out the hoardings but to no avail as Polonia bring up championship point.

IBB Polonia 22-17 Sheffield Hallam

Ciortea through 2 – given wide by the line judge but overruled by ref Parsons. Howe is absolutely furious…. The strain is showing.

IBB Polonia 21-16 Sheffield Hallam

Substitution chaos. I could tell you a whole story about what just went on, but the truth is that I’m as in the dark as you. May well be a secret which stays between Howe and the refs. The cards come out in any case, and Sheffield have had a warning.

IBB Polonia 19-16 Sheffield Hallam

Carrington doesn’t half get some height when he jumps. But he’s not quite hitting his straps at the moment. Polonia are also making errors – another serve goes long and Ciortea fails to put away a tip. The gap’s closing people.

IBB Polonia 18-13 Sheffield Hallam

Davies-Chambers shows what Sheffield have got with a stunning hit from 2. Unfortunately for him, Polonia come back with one of their own which he shanks out the back of court. The ball collectors on that side of the arena are kept busy for the next few points as Polonia take charge of this set. But then, we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

IBB Polonia 11-9 Sheffield Hallam

Ouch! Hallam setter, Alex Calpin, takes a brutal hit to his shoulder. I wonder if these guys wake up tomorrow and look like they’ve just had a full on, PJ & Duncan style war of attrition on the paintball field? Can’t imagine they don’t look at least a little bruised.

IBB Polonia 8-4 Sheffield Hallam

The Polonia fans, who, let’s face it, are never quiet, have just cranked it up a gear. They seem more rattled by the set defeat than anyone. The flags are waving, the horns are blowing, the drums are drumming. It’s a standard Polonia match – but you’d rather have them in your corner than your opposition’s, that’s for sure!

IBB Polonia 4-3 Sheffield Hallam

Ciortea looks angry. And when he’s angry, he hits the ball even harder. I didn’t even realise that was possible until two minutes ago, but it is!

IBB Polonia 0-0 Sheffield Hallam

Well, that was exciting, breathless stuff. Who wants a bit more? Well, ok then.... Here we go!

IBB Polonia 26 – 28 Sheffield Hallam

Ciortea gets too clever and he’s blocked. Carrington serves in the net before Lamb takes it to set point again. Ciortea blocked!! Hallam are ALIVE!!!!!!!

IBB Polonia 25 – 25 Sheffield Hallam

Rotational error Polonia! Then Raynaud levels it!

IBB Polonia 24 – 24 Sheffield Hallam

Stoev serves long and Raynaud goes long.

IBB Polonia 23 – 21 Sheffield Hallam

Guimond misses his serve, Stoev hits a winner, Ciortea pounces from the right side. Edging closer.

IBB Polonia 20 - 20 Sheffield Hallam

LDC again! We’re all square.

IBB Polonia 20 - 18 Sheffield Hallam

Matt Howe comes up with a winner just when Hallam need it before LDC absolutely pulverises one from 2 and then follows up with a block. Polonia time out. Here we go…

IBB Polonia 16 - 13 Sheffield Hallam

This is drifting away from Hallam now but with the gap at just three, I guess you don’t write them off. Reserve setter Odysseas Adam is in for a rare appearance for Polonia and he opens up with an inviting ball which Stoev absolutely creams down the line. They’re nine points away…

IBB Polonia 11 - 7 Sheffield Hallam

LDC goes long from back row and it’s starting to look ragged from Sheffield. Captain Howe follows up with a hitting error of his own and Trenam calls time again. Sheffield are running out of chances here.

In other news, in the #logowars competition on Twitter, Weymouth – currently lagging New Forest in the popular vote – are trying to mobilise South Coast support from Lands End to Bournemouth. Like Sheffield, they seem to be up against it!

IBB Polonia 8 - 5 Sheffield Hallam

Make that six on the bounce. A crucial swing in momentum?

IBB Polonia 6 - 5 Sheffield Hallam

In the time it took me write the last update, Polonia won four on the bounce. Good time out work Coach Graban! Trenam now looks to work the same feat on his charges.

IBB Polonia 2 - 5 Sheffield Hallam

After dispatching the #1 seeds in the semi-finals, Hallam will have thought they had every chance this weekend. Yet they’re currently 5-0 down on aggregate this weekend. They’ve been close enough at times to say they deserve something from this. It would be some turnaround. They start well though, with Graban calling time as Sheffield go 5-2 up.

 

IBB Polonia 25 - 18 Sheffield Hallam

Timeouts are supposed to reinvigorate but Sheffield lost four on the bounce after having a chat with the coach. Set point. Stoev stuffs the serve in the net but Raynaud saves his blushes next time around with a hit off the block. Polonia just one set away now.

IBB Polonia 20 - 17 Sheffield Hallam

Trading points here. Hallam could have done without a couple of needless serve errors but they’re still in there, swinging. Howe hits one off Smith’s head but the big middle picks up the next point. Time out Sheffield.

IBB Polonia 16 - 13 Sheffield Hallam

A bit of controversy as Hallam are incensed at a ball being called down when they claim to have kept it up. They fire back with a winner from the outside before Leon Davies-Chambers (I’m going to call him LDC from now on) scores from 2. Polonia grab one more though and head to the technical 16-13 in front.

IBB Polonia 13 - 10 Sheffield Hallam

Ciortea just missed one from back row. And got blocked on another. I think the world may be about to come to an end. Hallam follow up with a winner to close to 12-9 before Kisielewicz follows Calpin’s lead from the previous set with a sneaky setter throw-down. The gap’s closing though; told you it would!

IBB Polonia 8 - 2 Sheffield Hallam

I no longer worry about Hallam going six points down and looking disjointed. They’re probably just waiting for another ten minutes to start playing properly. They’ll be back again, you watch…

IBB Polonia 3 - 0 Sheffield Hallam

With my novice coaching hat on, this is where I say, “nothing’s changed, fellas” if I’m Coach Trenam. Hallam still need to win four sets to become the Super 8 champions – and they’re certainly showing signs of being able to go toe to toe with Polonia. They just need to do it more consistently. And as if to prove it, Polonia leap into a 3-0 lead.

 

IBB Polonia 25 - 23 Sheffield Hallam

Could have saved myself some time and effort and simply cut and pasted from yesterday’s match report. An amazing defensive point – 3 or 4 blocks in it – saw Sheffield constantly on the back foot but still they claimed it to level at 23 all. But what do you in such a spot if you’re Polonia? You call for Captain Ciortea, of course. Two big hits from 2 and he gets his side over the line. Crazy last ten minutes.

IBB Polonia 23 - 22 Sheffield Hallam

Madness. Hallam have won six on the bounce as Coach Graban again hits the time out buzzer. He must be pulling his hair out. Ohh…..

IBB Polonia 23 - 20 Sheffield Hallam

Groundhog Day. Polonia have again got complacent and blown a lead. It was eight; it’s now three – and Sheffield haven’t even had to work for it that hard. Time out Polonia.

IBB Polonia 21 - 13 Sheffield Hallam

“Meeester Smith” is a popular Polonia chant and it may be coming out soon. The big middle combines with Stoev to block out Davies-Chambers again before putting one away almost unopposed through the middle. Maybe they didn’t see him coming. Polonia in cruise control here.

IBB Polonia 16 – 10 Sheffield Hallam

Alex Calpin closes it to 9-13 with a lovely second ball attack for Hallam. I reckon that’s the first one I’ve seen all weekend. I guess when you have so much firepower around you as a setter, you just don’t bother going it alone. Guile wins that one though. Sheffield get closer but can’t cling on; they’re still six down at the technical.

IBB Polonia 12 – 6 Sheffield Hallam

Just like yesterday, Polonia have surged out in front, forcing Trenam into a second timeout. Like yesterday though, will they showboat and let Sheffield back in? How they let their big lead slip yesterday might have been the only big discussion point at this morning’s team meeting.

IBB Polonia 8 – 2 Sheffield Hallam

It doesn’t get any better for Sheffield. With the drums going and flags flying, this is like a Polonia home game. They’ve started in top gear. A big block from Stoev and Nicholson shuts down Davies-Chambers and they’re up by six.

IBB Polonia 5 – 1 Sheffield Hallam

Hallam need to start better than this. Howe wins the opening point but it’s downhill from there. A Howe serve receive error, a Wainwright handling error and a Ciortea smash and it’s 5-1 in the blink of an eye. Time out Sheffield.

15:45 Team line-ups are in. Polonia will serve, starting with Ciortea (capt), Raynaud, Smith, Nicholson, Stoev, Kisielewicz and Ignaczak (L). Sheffield open up with Howe (capt), Wainwright, Carrington, Lamb, Calpin, Davies-Chambers and Baker (L). Let’s do this!

15:37 Almost ready to get started here so let’s give a quick mention to the refs. Peter Parsons will be on the stand, ably assisted by second ref Alex Dimitrov. Good luck keeping up with this one gents!

15:30 Training balls are being pounded into the floor all round the National Volleyball Centre – which can only mean one thing; the men are warming up for the second leg of the Men’s Super 8 Play-off.

IBB Polonia London go into this one as favourites after the #2 seeds shut out the #4 seeds, Sheffield Hallam, 3-0 in yesterday’s first leg. The record books will show that Sheffield were within two points in both the first and third sets but that rather flattered them.

Polonia were dominant for most of the match and a repeat performance today will see them crowned Super 8 champs for the second year running. Combine that with back-to-back Cup wins – and they’re on for a “double-double”. Can Coach Trenam’s men stop them?

In even more important news, New Forest are currently handing out a bit of a beating to Weymouth in #logowars over on the Volleyball England Twitter page. In the quest for the country’s best club logo, a stag’s skull and a seagull on a coastal skyline are vying for supremacy as we speak. Vote now!

IBB Polonia London v Sheffield Hallam