And they're off!
11th September 2017
With the first flurry of fixtures played at the weekend, the National Volleyball League has officially started! Now the competition is underway, we will be previewing and reviewing the action throughout the season and telling some of the stories behind the league tables. So welcome to the first Monday Review of the season…
There were seven fixtures to kick off the opening weekend, with action in both the men’s and women’s game. Many sides in action were starting the season in new divisions, following promotions and relegations.
Southampton Volleyball Club Men 2 burst out the blocks in the Men’s Division 3 South (M3S) as they won their opening two leagues matches in one day! They defeated Cardiff Celts 2 and South Hants, as the three all played each other in a round robin of fixtures. Southampton didn’t even drop a set as they made the perfect start to life in M3S and look to bounce back from relegation from Men’s Division 2 South last term. In the other game, South Hants claimed a 3-0 victory over Cardiff, though the Celts can take heart that all three sets were closely fought.
Cambridge VC and Anglia Ruskin University also enjoyed a double victory of their own with both their men and women winning. The Cambridge ladies and New Forest Ladies had the honour of opening the NVL, as they battled it out in the competition’s very first match. New Forest took the first set but Cambridge showed resilience to win the next three, including a dominant 25-10 in the final set. With Cambridge ladies making their debut in the Women’s Division 1 after promotion from the second tier, the result bodes well for the rest of the campaign, as New Forest Ladies were no pushover in the division last season.
The men gave the afternoon a sense of symmetry for Cambridge as they also won by a 3-1 scoreline. They beat Team Essex Estonians in the Men’s Division 2 South and carried on last year’s fine form after gaining promotion from the third division.
In the Women’s Division 2 North, Telford Ladies defeated Leeds RGA VC in a clash between two new sides to the division, who last year won Division 3 Central and North titles respectively. The pair shared the opening two sets but Telford took the next and then the final set 26-24, as Leeds just couldn’t force a decider.
Finally, Oxford Ladies beat Cardiff Falcons 3-0 in the Women’s Division 2 South. Cardiff, who were promoted from the third division South West, will now have a better idea of the quality of the Division 2 South as Oxford Ladies look set to be fighting it out in the top half of the table this year, after finishing fourth in 2016/17.
CLUB/TEAM OF THE WEEK: It’s a very close call between Cambridge VC and Southampton Volleyball Club Men 2 for each of their double victories, but the south coast men edge it for such a positive response to last season's relegation.