National Cup sparks season off
17th September 2018
There was a brilliant weekend of National Cup action which raised the curtain on the 2018/19 volleyball season.
Teams set out on the road to winning English volleyball’s most prestigious knockout trophy and there was lots of interest for teams outside of the National Volleyball League. 18 non-NVL teams have entered this year’s competition and 14 had their first round ties in either the men’s or women’s competition this weekend.
The women’s National Cup
United Kingdom Armed Forces (UKAF) ladies produced the shock of the round as they defeated DARKSTAR Derbyshire of the women’s division 1. The teams had met in the quarter final of last year’s Shield competition with DARKSTAR recording a compelling three-set victory. This time out, UKAF turned the tables.
UKAF ladies gained revenge by taking the first set to15 points, before continuing to dominate and winning both of the next sets to 17 points. They will face NVL Div 1 opposition in the next round in the shape of the University of Nottingham.
The women’s competition was ripe for giant killings with two non-NVL teams from London advancing to round two.
Last year’s Shield finalists, Polonia IMKA advance to round two of the main competition with a comprehensive 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-12) win over Richmond VB2. They will look to keep up their knack of putting together good cup runs, as they take on Team Essex Trinity, who defeated Ipswich Ladies, in the next round.
Onyx London turned over Dartford of the women’s Division 2 south. After going a set up, Onyx were pegged back to 1-1. Instead of wilting, they wrestled back the momentum to take the next two sets and ensure another non-NVL team progressed through to the next round.
Rhinos – St Phillips were the other non-NVL team to advance this weekend as they benefitted from a forfeited match, meaning four non-NVL teams have progressed to round two. The second round sees the Super League teams enter the competition and is the last chance for defeated sides to enter into the Shield. It will also see a fifth non-NVL side enter the fray, as last year’s defending champions Team Northumbria – who withdrew from the Super League for this season – will be back to defend their title.
Non-NVL teams Barnsley Scorpions, Newburn Pink Panthers, Aylesbury, and Wombourne all slipped to defeat but will put in some battling displays which they will aim to build on as the enter the Women’s Shield.
For the full draw of the Women’s National Cup – click here.
The men’s National Cup
Favourites dominated in the opening round of the men’s cup as ULU London and Onyx London were the only two non-NVL teams to advance to the second round – thanks to their opposition forfeiting.
There is guaranteed to be one other non-NVL team joining them in the next round as London Lynx will play Rhinos VC in an all non-NVL opening round tie this Saturday. As with the women’s Cup, Team Northumbria are the reigning champions and despite withdrawing from the Super League for this season, will enter the competition in the second round as they aim to defend their trophy.
KS Osemka Ealing came desperately close to causing another upset as they went the distance against Newmarket VC. The non-NVL side took a two set lead but Newmarket forced their way back into the match and took the next two to level the affair. There was a nail-biting finish as Newmarket dug deep to edge the deciding set 16-14.
United Kingdom Armed Forces (UKAF) men came even closer to adding to non-NVL tally in round 2, as they played out a thriller against Melton Lions of the NVL Division 2 North. Having gone two sets down, UKAF showed tremendous spirit to power their way back and take the next two sets to 22 and 15 points. In the last set shootout, Lions stemmed the tide of momentum and an nick the win in an epic encounter in the last set by 17-15.
Markse Phoenix and Exeter Storm were the other two non-NVL teams that were in action this weekend and despite two battling performances, exited the competition but will be confident of advancing in the Shield.
For the full draw of the Men’s National Cup – click here.
Round two will see the Super League teams, as well as defending champions Team Northumbria, enter the competition and will take place on the weekend of October 6th and 7th.