Durham win the Men's National Cup 2019!
27th April 2019
Durham Palatinates won the Men's National Cup in a fantastic encounter against IBB Polonia London.
Polonia were looking to add the National Cup to their Super League title but Durham produced a stirring comeback to deny them and lift the National Cup themselves.
It was Polonia who started the better, opening up a gap in the middle of the first set to lead 20-14. Seain Cook's slingshot spiking was doing damage before on-court captain Rupert Scott served out the set, finishing off with a blistering ace, 25-14.
Durham response to a setback was to become a theme of the match and they came out the blocks sharper in the second. Eduardo Zardo and Ben Cohen were finding their range and Durham were scoring more freely. They played more fluid volleyball and kept finding a way to stay in front before opening up a five-point lead at 22-17. Polonia worked hard to claw it back but Durham were not to be denied and took the second 25-21.
With the match delicately poised at 1-1, the opening part of the third set was nip and tuck before Polonia gained a slight edge 8-6 at the time out. The Super League champions came back out in riveting form. Ivanov and Cook's hitting continued to be ruthless and Durham started to miss their shots under pressure. Polonia were completely in the ascendency and took a 16-8 lead into the second time out. The rest of the set became a formality with Polonia showing the depth and quality of their squad. They notched the second set 25-15.
Durham refused to give it up and produced a stirring display of their own in the fourth. Kevin Owens was like a wall in the block and captain Tage-Taye was in superb scoring form for Durham. The team from the north east stormed into the lead and kept the momentum up throughout the set. They lead 16-10 at the second time out and maintained the gap to win the fourth 25-19.
The decider was a cagey to start with Cook gaining early parity for Polonia. But it was Durham who went into the first time out ahead thanks to some sensational blocking from Owens, Eduardo Zardo and Madison Hayden. Polonia were finding it difficult to score past the block and Durham had worn them down. When a final serve from Owens was not returned it sealed the set 15-7 and marked a truly spectacular Durham display. They lifted the National Cup in front of the Kettering crowd.
MVP was Durham's man mountain Kevin Owens. For the full match stats, click here.