The Weekend Review
25th September 2017
We catch up with the best of the weekend's action...
Men’s Division 2 North
Chosen as the ‘Pick of the weekend’ in the weekend preview, Melton Lions vs. Polska Przychodnia Intervolley Manchester lived up to its billing as a titanic clash. As was the case the last time these two met, the match was a five-set thriller. Polska won the opener but the Lions levelled and after forcing a 28-26 victory took the third and a 2-1 lead. Polska were resilient and won the fourth, ensuring the game went to a golden set decider. The tightest of victories was snatched as Polska took the set 16-14, to complete a brilliant comeback. As the only game played in the division so far, these two occupy to top slots and both will be relishing the return fixture.
Men’s Division 2 South
There were two games in the division this weekend. As predicted, New Forest provided too stern test for Cambridge VC and Anglia Ruskin University, as the Forest boys took a straight sets win. The opener was a tight affair (26-24) and if it had gone the other way it could have been a very different game. But New Forest, who came third in the division last season, confirmed themselves as a quality team again this campaign with victory.
In the other game, City Bristol defeated Exeter Storm 3-1. Having done the double over Exeter last year, Bristol were favourites going into the game but had to work very hard for the win with two of the set victories coming against 25 and 27 points.
Men’s Division 3 North
Miners Doncaster made a dream start to the season defeating Newcastle Staffs and Manchester Marvels in a round robin of fixtures. They only dropped one set to Staffs and still managed to score 27 points in that one! Staffs took the spoils against the Marvels in their game, and will be pleased to record their first victory following relegation last year.
Men’s Division 3 South
With an average age of less than 16, including a 13-year-old, Richmond VB had what was thought to be one of the youngest line-ups in NVL history but proved they have a very bright future with victory over the Wiltshire Mavericks. In an almost symmetrical game, both sides won and lost a set by two identical score lines (25-23 and 25-15). That resulted in a golden set decider which Richmond showed maturity way beyond their cheers to win 15-10 and take home the points.
Men’s National Cup
There were no shocks as Loughborough Students, Blyth Valley and London Baks all secured safe passage to the second round. Despite going down to Blyth Valley, non-NVL side Markse Phoenix put in a creditable display, losing to 20, 26, and 19, and will take a lot of heart as they enter the shield.
Women’s Division 1
Malory Eagles underlined their credentials as potentially one of the division’s best sides with a dominant win over Herts VC (to 16,14,12). The Eagles finished third in the division last year and should have their sights on promotion this time round.
Team South Wales, who were demoted from the Super 8s, last season began life outside the elite with a five-set victory over New Forest Ladies. It marks a fresh start for the Team South Wales as it was only their third league victory in nearly a year. They will look to get into the winning habit and displayed great character to take victory in this one. Having twice been pegged back to take it into a golden set, the welsh girls didn’t buckle and dominated the decider to claim the win by a 15-7 scoreline.
Women’s Division 2 North
Winning is certainly a habit as the University of Nottingham Volleyball Women demonstrated. After 17 victories and promotion last year from the third tier, Nottingham took their great vein of form into the new campaign with a straight sets defeat of Newcastle Staffs Ladies.
Women’s Division 2 South
South Hants found the division a step up in quality following promotion as they suffered back to back defeats. Ashcombe Dorking 1 beat them in straight sets, while London Inter Women, who were also stepping up from the third tier, also downed them in three. London were dominant in the match and look as if they could be a threat to some of the more established teams at this level.
Reading Aces look to have improved this year defeating Oxford Ladies 3-1 in their first game, despite Oxford finishing higher in the league last year. The Aces will be hoping to kick on and look to break into the top four this season.
Sussex Dolphins tasted defeat in their first match. After promotion from the third tier they encountered Birmingham Volleyball Club 2. Brum are one of the early favourites for promotion having finished third last season. The Dolphins will have been pleased to have taken the opening set but were comfortably beaten in the next three.
Women’s Division 3 North
The ‘pick of the weekend’ saw Hull Thunder, York Falcons and Wirral Wasps all face off. Strong favourites York, who finished third in the league last season, defeated both in a round robin of games. York will expect to be near the summit this year. For Hull Thunder it was a landmark weekend, with them making their NVL debut. They ensured it was a weekend to savour as they also gained their first ever NVL victory, beating Wirral Wasps 3-1. In a fairly even contest the Thunder just had that extra quality, but for the Wirral they still have plenty to build on.
Women’s Division 3 Central
Black Country VC beat Nottingham Rockets 3-1 which gives their season early impetus. Meanwhile both sides were due to face RAF Hawks, but the Hawks forfeited both fixtures. This was the first round of fixtures in the division and it will be interesting where these teams will find themselves after the rest of the division start to play regularly – it is suspected that the Rockets and Black Country will be in the middle of the pack.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
There were many contenders this week but getting your first NVL win is a historic moment for any club. So Hull Thunder ladies are the team of the week after getting their first win over Wirral Wasps. The Thunder can take a lot of confidence from the weekend and have an ideal platform for a positive debut season.