Richmond and Tameside win U18 championships
28th April 2019
The Under 18 Championships provided the finale to the Cup Finals weekend 2019 - and they didn't disappoint!
Richmond men were absolute superb as they defeated Wessex to claim the men's U18 title. While in the women's U18 final, Tameside overcame Richmond in a pulsating five-set match to become national champions.
Tameside take title
The team from the north west set the early pace as they opened up a healty lead in the first set. Maria Forson and Beth Appleton-Jones were proving potent weapons and although Richmond managed to reduced the arrears, it was Appleton-Jones with another good hit who sealed the first set 25-22.
Richmond reversed the momentum in the second and began finding their rhythm. Led by captain Aurelia Braguglia they levelled up the scoreline to 1-1, dominating the second set 25-17.
In third, Tameside got back to their best and put huge pressure on Richmond to open up a lead of over 10 points. Olivia Harrison completed the inevitable when her spike re-established Tameside's lead at 2-1, by taking the third set 25-12.
If anyone thought that meant Richmond were going to get blown away, they were hugely mistaken as the women from the capital responded in kind in the fourth set, winning it by another big margin, 25-10 and forcing a fifth set decider for the title.
In the decisive set, Tameside were the more composed and made a great start as a run of serves from Maria Forson - who was brilliant throughout the match - gave Tameside a 6-2 lead. A mini-revival was thwarted as errors began to creep in and allowed Tameside to gain complete control gaining seven match points at 14-7 up. They missed a succession of chances but a well-placed tip from Forson gave them the final set 15-10.
It was testament to Richmond they played their part in a brilliant final and it was the only final this weekend in which they had been on the wrong end of the result.
Tameside were delighted though and played superbly for their victory and the U18 title.
Unsurprisingly, it was Tameside's Maria Forson who took the MVP award. For the full match stats, click here.
Richmond get gold
While their female counterparts narrowly missed out, Richmond men ensured another gold for the club as they took the men's U18 National Championships.
With a line-up featuring many players from the England talent pathway, Richmond produced a wonderful display of volleyball.
They set the tone in the first set opening up a lead and Wessex were struggling to cope with the huge hitting power of Ben Lucas and Jonathan Anderson. They rained down with huge hits and this added pressure on Wessex saw them make a few errors when they had opportunities of their own. The first set was sealed as Wessex put the ball into the net to give Richmond the opener 25-16.
Wessex battled superbly in the second matching the impressive Richmond to 10-10. The return of Ben Lucas to serve though gave Richmond the initiative as his booming serves led to them opening up a five point advantage. Farren, Green and Kuzmanov were all playing excellently too, while Jonathan Anderson's hitting was at times irrepressible. Richmond took the second set 25-18.
The third set had an air of inevitability about it and Richmond again dominated. While they were superb in attack, they were fantastic in defence too. Picking up what appeared to be lost causes throughout the team and Enrique Bello providing a solid foundation as the libero. Richmond opened up a 16-8 lead and from there they cruised to the championship, winning the set 25-16.
Wessex were spirited and showed moments of quality but Richmond had another level. Richmond won the Men's U18 Championships to make it a lucrative weekend for their club.
The MVP was the huge hitting Jonathan Anderson. For the full match stats, click here.