England take on Scotland
27th May 2017
In a weekend of home international volleyballing action, England's men's and women's teams took on their Scottish counterparts at Sports Central, home to Super 8 side Team Northumbria. The matches represent the first time that England teams have played in full internationals on English soil since 2007, when England's men beat Scotland 3-1 in Sheffield. The last women's match was a year earlier when Iceland were defeated 3-0 in Dorking.
The men and women played twice each; once on Saturday and once on Sunday.
Match #1: England Women 1 - 3 Scotland Women (25-22, 20-25, 20-25, 18-25)
Scotland's women claimed the spoils in the opening match of the international series, coming from behind to register a 3-1 win over England's women. England were always in control of the opening set, jumping out to an early 10-6 lead and never giving up that lead as they closed out a 25-22 win.
England's strong showing continued into the 2nd set and at 17-14 up, a two set lead seemed on the cards. However, Scotland suddenly surged back into the game, taking 11 of the next 14 points to claim what looked like an unlikely set victory to square the match.
Scotland repeated the trick in the 3rd set, winning a run of points just when it mattered most. The two sides traded blows to the point where Scotland led 20-19. However, the visitors then took five of the next six to move into a 2-1 set lead. With momentum firmly behind them, the Scots opened up the first sizeable lead of the whole match in the 4th. At 12-6 and then 17-8 up, the Scots were always in control and had enough in hand to see off a late England rally. They took the set to 18 for a hard-fought 3-1 win.
Match #2: England Men 3 - 0 Scotland Men (25-20, 25-22, 25-17)
England's men ensured that England got a win on the board in their opening match of the international series, in a pulsating win over Scotland men 3-0. The match began in a tight and tense fashion as both teams felt each other out. England opened a lead thanks to some powerful hitting, led by Adam Bradbury, and despite Scotland’s best attempts to level, they came up short as England saw out the set.
Scotland were fast out of the blocks in set 2, opening a 6-2 lead, before Darius Setsoafia demonstrated the strength of his serving as England came back to lead 8-6 at the first technical timeout. For the remainder of the set England would take a few points lead, only to be pegged back by the Scots. Ieuan Lamb saw the England team over the line in the second set with a huge hit off the block.
The third set started in confused fashion as both teams struggled to find their rhythm after a mix up with rotations. Scotland managed to come out the better as they led 9-8. England managed to put the confusion behind them, as they started to hit their marks, and powered away from the Scots, leading 20-14, then 23-16, before seeing out the set.
Match #3: England Women 3 - 0 Scotland Women (26-24, 25-25, 25-18)
In the second match in the series, the atmosphere was tense from the start. Scotland women edged a close opening exchange. England didn’t panic and through consistent hits from Eva Borrowdale and an ace serve from Molly van Essen England were back in the set. Scotland had the first set point, but England didn’t let this phase them as they capitalised on an error. Paige Fullerton saw out the set with a perfectly executed hit.
In the second set, Paige carried on where she left off in the 1st, helping to build an England lead. Hitting errors brought Scotland back into the match before a series of Grace Lazard aces saw England build a strong position from which they saw out the set.
The pressure of losing the first two sets, didn’t seem to be getting to Scotland as they started strongly in the third set. England struggled to get into the match until Grace Lazard landed a few big hits. Strong serving from Molly van Essen and Ellie Cranch, supported by some towering blocks from Holly Bentley saw England take the set.
Match #3 Golden Set: England Women 0 - 1 Scotland Women (11-15)
With England taking the 2nd match in the series, and drawing it level at 1 match a piece, it all came down to a one set shoot-out to take the Series. Scotland started the quicker, and never let up, as they took the set and the Series.
Match #4: England Men 3 - 1 Scotland Men (25-17, 21-25, 25-12, 25-21)
England set a high tempo as they reached the first technical timeout with a lead of 8-5. Scotland rallied as they fought back to 10-10. Strong hits from Darius Setsoafia, George Wainwright and Adam Bradbury helped England steadily build a lead from which they went on to take the set.
The second set started with a series of errors from both sides, before England built a small lead with hits from Ieuan Lamb and Jack Williams. Scotland applied pressure on England, forcing too many errors for England to be close at the business end of the set.
After a disappointing third set, England bounced back in dominant fashion as they opened up a 9-point lead, through a number of aces from George Wainwright and Ieuan Lamb. Huge hits from Darius Setsoafia and Jack Williams helped England see out the set.
England once again built an early lead in the fourth set, through a combination of great defensive work from Ryan Heath and some powerful hits from a few the team. England were obviously nervous going into the final stages as they left four Scotland points go unanswered. Team Captain Adam Bradbury steadied the ship as he put in the final hit that saw a relieved England over the line.
The result saw England men clinch the series 2-0.
Check out photos for all matches via https://www.facebook.com/volleyballphotos