5 teams which show why non-NVL teams love the National Cup
3rd July 2018
Like all the best cup competitions, the National Cup is never short of giant killings. Teams from outside of the National Volleyball League often save their best performances of the season for volleyball’s showpiece competition.
From reaching a national final to hosting the English champions, last year’s heroics from non-NVL teams were proof of why it is worth teams outside the national league entering the competition.
If you’re a non-NVL team wanting to enter the deadline has been extended to Monday 9th July. To enter download the entry form and return in by Monday.
The story of these five non-NVL team and their giant-killing antics from last season’s National Cup are proof of why you definitely should!
Hosting the English Champions – Wapping Wildcats
Volleyball is a sport enjoyed by thousands in this country, but not many will ever be able to say they got the chance to play against the reigning English champions. That’s exactly what the London League’s Wapping Wildcats got to do in last year’s men’s national cup.
In a remarkable run, they earned the right to face IBB Polonia London – the reigning National Cup and Super 8s champions - in the quarter finals. The Wildcats clearly relished the opportunity too. After losing the first set 25-11, Wapping took Polonia to the wire in the second set, eventually being edged out 25-23. Polonia completed a straight sets victory, but Wapping gained another 16 points and underlined how the deserved the share the court with some of the country’s best players.
That was just the peak of thrilling run in the competition. Wapping had already gained the scalp of a Super 8s team in the previous round when they downed Team Essex Blaze in a superb comeback victory. When the Blaze went two sets up the result looked a formality, but Wildcats showed their spirit and stamina to respond by taking the next two. In the decider, Wildcats showed nerves of steel as it went to the wire and they took it 15-13. This piece of club history came after Wapping had already recorded wins over NVL Div 3 side Newmarket VC and fellow non-NVL team Lionhearts Predators in the previous rounds.
Making the main event – Polonia IMKA
The National Cup gives every team a double shot at glory. Teams eliminated in the early rounds, enter the Shield. The competition is a great breeding ground for cup upsets and gives non-NVL a genuine chance of reaching a national final – just as Polonia IMKA from the London League did last year.
After defeat to Super 8s side London Orcas in the National Cup, Polonia IMKA almost completed the fairy-tale in the Shield. Dulwich Tuskers, NVL Div 1 team New Forest Ladies and Division 2 South side Dartford were all brushed aside as they made the semi-final. One step away from the biggest showpiece event in the calendar – the National Cup Finals day.
In the semi-final, IMKA faced Team Essex Trinity from the National League Division 1. A final appearance was never in doubt. A dominant display saw Polonia IMKA win 25-12, 25-21, 25-11.
The final was a brilliant occasion, streamed live on the Volleyball England Facebook page, Polonia faced Division 1 promotion winners Sheffield Hallam. As Super League teams cannot enter the Shield, this was almost as tough as it could get for IMKA. However, they when the teams met on the court, there was nothing to choose between the two teams.
IMKA took the first set, only for Hallam to reassert themselves to take the next two. IMKA forced a deciding set by winning the fourth 25-20. In a classic Shield final, the fifth set was an exhilarating with every point a pressure situation. IMKA took it the distance but were squeezed out by the excellent Hallam side 15-13. Although it wasn’t the movie script ending, IMKA had achieved admiration, respect and volleyball memories that will last a lifetime.
A show of force – UK Armed Forces Ladies
There was a quarter final appearance for the UK Armed Forces Ladies (UKAF) team in the women’s Shield.
After defeating fellow non-NVL team Wombourne V.C. in straight sets, the ladies from the forces went on to prove their talent by causing two cup upsets against Division 2 teams. A stunning fightback from two sets down saw UKAF defeat Newcastle Staffs. They showed their nerve as well as their skill to win the match in the fifth 15-13, when they could have been forgiven for letting nerves set in with it being so close.
Round three saw UKAF face opposition from higher up the league as they faced Division 2 North’s Coventry and Warwick Riga who finished third last season. This time UKAF took the initiative and chalked the first two sets to 21 and 22 points. When Riga clawed back the third, UKAF’s steely mentality came to the fore again as they didn’t let their opponents gain more momentum as they blew them away 25-12 in the final set.
Their incredible run came to an end in the next round against DARKSTAR Derbyshire, who finished third in Division 2 North, in a straight sets defeat. It’s no surprise though that UKAF have already registered for this year’s National Cup – expect them to cause some more upsets!
Maidenhead VC and Marske Phoenix
Non-NVL teams doing well the National Cup and Shield is no fluke or rarity. Last season, the Men’s Shield saw two teams from outside the National League reach round three. Markse Phoenix from Teesside defeated Division 3 North opposition on their run, beating Hull Thunder 25-13, 25-14, 25-17.
It took the champions of the Men’s Division 3 North to halt Markse progress as Miners Doncaster beat them in straight sets in the next round.
While Maidenhead VC claimed the scalp of Men’s Division 3 South side South Hants in straight sets in round two after defeating London Bears in the opening round.
There is still time for non-NVL teams to enter this season’s National Cup, with teams eliminated in the early rounds entering the Shield, as the deadline for entries has been extended. You could make memories of your own! All teams need to do is complete the entry form and return in by Monday 9th July.