Men's Weekend Review
2nd October 2017
All the action from the Men’s NVL divisions outside the Super 8s...
Men’s Division 1
The league got underway with three games at the weekend. Having had two close contests last season, it was no surprise to see Leeds RGA VC versus Cardiff Celts 1 go the distance. The Yorkshiremen will be delighted that this time they came out on top winning the golden set 15-12, particularly as Cardiff Celts did the double over them last season.
After enduring a tough season which saw them winless and relegated from the Super 8s last year, Southampton Volleyball Club Mens 1 will be delighted to taste victory in their opening game against Black Country Men 1. After being hammered 25-13 in the first set, Southampton would have been worried about slipping straight back into the losing habit. Instead, they showed tremendous snatch victory 27-25 in the second set and took the next two and the match.
Newly-promoted London Aces suffered defeat after stepping up in class at the hands of Newcastle Staffs. Newcastle raced into a two set lead (to 17 and 14 points) but the Aces did well to respond a win the third. However, Newcastle close out the match in the fourth set with a 25-17 margin.
Men’s Division 2 North
Two promoted teams went head-to-head as Norwich Spikers hosted University of Nottingham Volleyball Men. Nottingham struck the first blow winning the first set, only for the Spikers to peg them back winning the next two. A golden set was needed after Nottingham took the fourth and Spikers denied them the comeback, forcing victory 15-12 when it mattered.
The other game in the division was also a five-setter. Polska Przychodnia beat Manchester Marvels 1, who had been relegated last season from Division 1. At 2-1 down, Marvels took the game to a golden set forcing a win in the fourth by 26-24. That seemed to take the steam out of them though, as Polska convincingly won the decider 15-8. Polska showed that stamina will be one of their key assets as it was the second week running they have come through in five sets. They maintained their perfect record, and while only a handful of games have been played in the league, they will be pleased to be sitting on top of the pile.
Men’s Division 2 South
Early pacesetter and one of the favourites for promotion having finished third last year, New Forest endured a mixed weekend. They lost in straight sets to Team Essex Estonians, who seemed to have become a bit of the bogey side for the New Forest men. While the Estonians finished way behind in the league last year, they did achieve the double over New Forest.
New Forest shrugged off the result though and were back on court the following day to claim an dominant victory of Exeter Storm, who have lost both their opening games.
In the other game in the division, Bristol VC 1 won the battle of last year’s third tier champions, beating London Baks 3-0.
Men’s Division 3 North
It was an action-packed weekend with nine games taking place and showed that with new teams, returning teams, and last year’s form teams the league could be one of the most intriguing in the NVL. In a triangle of matches, Newcastle Staffs 2, Hull Thunder, and Stockport Volleyball Club all faced off. Stockport claim two victories, both by a 3-1 scoreline, to shoot to second in the league. It capped a memorable day as Stockport were playing their first ever NVL fixtures. They will be confident of matching anybody in the division and enjoying a strong first season.
Hull Thunder got their first victory beating Newcastle 2. Hull will now look to gain some momentum and get into the form which saw them just pipped to second place last year on points difference.
Haughton Darlington made the perfect return to life in the NVL gaining victories over Manchester Marvels 2 and Nottingham Rockets 2. The Marvels and the Rockets were both in the bottom three last year so it made be a few more games before we see just how good Darlington can be. The Marvels 2 and Rockets 2 also faced off, with the Marvels snatching the tightest of wins, 16-14 in a golden set decider.
Elsewhere York, Miners Doncaster, and Blyth Valley, who finished 4th, 5th, and 6th respectively in the league last year, played a round robin of games. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they shared one victory apiece. Miners, who look set to be title challengers this year having already notched two victories, defeated York in three sets, but also went down to Blyth in three. After a tight first set, York overpowered Blyth to also win 3-0.
Miners have 3 wins out of four and have pulled away at the top having played more games. Stockport and Haughton are the chasing pack, but going on last year, expect Hull to have something to say about that, as it is still very early days.
Men’s Division 3 Central
Following on from an outstanding win over Division 1 in the National Cup, Tamworth Spartans men continued a dream start to the season with victory in their first ever NVL match. They needed that Spartan spirit as they were 2-1 down. They retrieved the match by winning the fourth set 25-22 and claiming a landmark win 15-11 in the golden set.
After a seven-year hiatus, Stowmarket returned to the NVL with a bang. They beat Lincoln Cannons and Black Country Men 2 to be the early league leaders. Having finished third in the previous campaign, Black Country Men struggled on their opening day, also being defeated by Lincoln Cannons.
Men’s Division 3 South
Richmond VB showed they are gunning for the champions’ crown with four wins out of four. They defeated Wiltshire Mavericks and Cheltenham & Gloucester both by 3-1 scorelines. The young side will take some stopping. Cheltenham & Gloucester beat the Mavericks in third game of the triangle format.
South Hants will aim to battle Richmond all the way, and recorded two victories of their own this weekend. Dartford and Cardiff Celts 2 were both defeated in straight sets, including one epic that went 30-28 against the Celts. Dartford defeated the Celts in other game in the triangle to get their first victory of the season.
In the final triangle of matches in the league, Team Bristol, Surrey Spikers, and Guildford Men played each other. Team Bristol, who finished third in the South West division last year, won both their games and early signs are they will be in top four sides come the end of the year. Guildford Men battled to a five set success over Surrey Spikers to get their opening win.
The division is already starting to take shape but the interesting thing will be which teams can emerge from the middle pack, who have played less games, to challenge at the top.
Team of the week: Southampton Volleyball Club Mens 1. Last year was a difficult season and it can be hard to keep levels of motivation up. So to get back to winning ways in the first game of this year is testament to the spirit and determination at the club. Experience gained last season will help them bounce back to a good campaign this year.