Super 8s round-up: Malory on the march
5th December 2017
Men’s Super 8s
Malory Eagles extended their winning streak to four matches at the weekend by taking a five-set win over IBB Polonia London. Having lost their season opener to the imperious Team Northumbria, Eagles have won every match since. They only managed six wins in the whole of last season but have four victories from their opening five matches this year.
On Saturday, Malory had to do it the hard way against reigning English champions IBB Polonia London. Malory won the opening set, only to be pegged back as Polonia took the next two. The champions have endured a difficult season so far as they have struggled in defence of their crown, winning just one match so far. With a young, developing team, Polonia must have thought that they were about to turn a corner when leading 2 -1 in sets. However, Malory bounced back in the fourth, taking victory to 18 points and forcing the match to a deciding set. The Eagles had the momentum and edged the set 15-12 to maintain their superb run of form.
Malory lie second in the table and will be buoyant as they pursue a spot in the playoffs this year. Polonia meanwhile will continue to work hard to recover their season. Aspects of their game are improving and it will not be a surprise to see the champions climb the table sooner rather than later.
Team BU Wessex continued their return to form with a home victory over London Lynx 1. It was Wessex’s third victory of the season and the first time this year they have managed back-to-back wins.
It was Lynx who started the brighter though winning the first set 25 – 21. Wessex hit back in the second to win it comfortably 25 – 18. The third set was always going to prove crucial and it was Wessex who found that bit of extra quality to take it to 22 points. Lynx had gone to five sets in both of their other two Super 8s fixtures this season, but could not quite force the decider this time out.
Wessex squeezed victory in the fourth 26 – 24 to take the match and move up to third in the league. Having finished third in the league last year, Wessex endured a tough start to this campaign losing their opening three games. With both fixtures against title-favourites Team Northumbria now out the way though, Wessex will surely look to chase down another top three finish this year.
For Lynx, who are winless after three games, it looks as if they just need one victory to get their season going. They have matched their opponents in all their games but have been on the wrong end of three tight scorelines, including two five-set defeats.
Sheffield Hallam recorded a routine win over Team Essex Blaze, who are rooted to the bottom with four straight defeats so far.
Hallam roared out the blocks and quickly notched up the first set 25 – 8. It didn’t take them much longer to add the second, winning it to 13 points. Blaze fought back in the third making their opponents work much harder. Still Hallam wouldn’t be denied and made it a straight sets victory, taking the third to 22 points.
With a record of won two and lost two, Hallam sit in fifth position in the league. The men from the steel city reached the final of the Super 8s playoffs last year and are well poised to make an assault on the top end of the table to make the playoffs again in the current campaign.
Following promotion last year, Team Essex Blaze have found the step up in quality of the top tier difficult. Their defeat to Hallam was their most comprehensive loss of the season, as they had fought well in all their other games. They competed with Team Northumbria and were on the wrong end of the results in epic clashes with Wessex and Malory Eagles. They’ll be hoping that a confidence-boosting win is not too far away.
This weekend’s fixtures:
Saturday 9 December:
London Lynx 1 vs. IBB Polonia London 17:15 (University of East London)
Team Essex Blaze vs. Richmond Docklands 12:45 (Boswells School)
Women’s Super 8s
Polonia SideOut London notched up another victory as they continued their impressive start to the season. They travelled to TeamBU Wessex and came away with a straight sets victory.
The opening set was a close one with Polonia getting over the line to 23 points. Buoyed by getting a set on the board, Polonia raced away with the second. Dominating the set, they won it to just 12 points to set up a comfortable win.
Wessex did not roll over though. They rediscovered their form of the first set and made Polonia hustle harder for the match. The visitors took the third set to 22 points and made it four wins from their opening five games of the season. They occupy fourth position in the league and will have leapfrogging third-place London Orcas in their sights.
TeamBU Wessex remain second from bottom, and with over half of their league season played will be desperate to add to their solitary win so far this season.
This weekend’s fixtures:
Saturday 9 December:
Tendring VC Ladies vs. Pulsepoint London Orcas 12:45pm (Essex University Sports Centre)
Team Durham vs. Oxford Students 14:00 (Durham University Sport)
Sunday 10 December:
Polonia SideOut London vs. Birmingham Volleyball Club 1 15:00 (St Benedicts School)