Cherwell and Richmond claim U16 National Cups
28th April 2019
The Under 16 National Cup Finals saw Oxford Students/Cherwell produce a remarkable turnaround to take the boys' title, which Richmond added yet another accolade to their weekend with the U16 girls' title.
Cherwell are champions
Oxford Students/Cherwell came back from two sets down to take a brilliant win in the boys' competition.
The opening set was a real war of attrition with the sides going almost point for point until 21-21. Black Country then put a run of three points together that gave them the initiative and they maintained the impetus to seal the set 25-22. The second set followed a similar vein with the teams swapping the lead until 22-22 and an impressive run of serves from Black Country's Dan Howe saw them take the second 25-22.
Although Black Country had the lead, it had been hard fought and Cherwell had shown signs of getting into their groove. The third set seemed to put the comeback into motion when after a slow start, Cherwell went into the first time out in the lead. Thuan Van Romoli was hitting his spikes and captain Zeph Goriely was starting to stamp his authority on the game too. From there, Cherwell really put their foot down and were scoring with ease. From 22-17 up, they raced to put a set on the board winning the next three points unanswered.
Cherwell had all the momentum and the fourth followed a similar pattern as they established a healthy cushion and never gave Black Country a chance to come back. The second set was taken 25-18 and it was to be a shootout for the cup.
The decider started in an even fashion as the teams saw it to 6-6. Cherwell then gained the edge of a lead that they never relinquished. Goriely hit some vital points including serving out the match, while outside Jamie Raff was impressive as he had been all match. When Cherwell got ahead at the crucial stage they saw the finish line and got home in the fifth 15-11.
It was a brilliant comeback from Cherwell in a superb game where Black Country pushed them all the way.
MVP was Jamie Raff. For the full match stats, click here.
Richmond add another gold
The girls' final threw up less surprises as the imperious Richmond underlined how they do such a brilliant job at nurturing young talent. Richmond took the U16 girls title in straight sets against a spirited Graveney & Malory Eagles team.
Richmond came out the traps in blistering form, storming to a 10-2 advantage. Chloe Danno was blocking well, while Maddie Monteiro put together a brilliant run of serves. Graveney worked their way into the rest of the set but couldn't get near to recovering the deficit and Richmond took the first set 25-14 after more impressive serving from Monteiro and Canevari.
The second set started in much tighter fashion as Graveney began to find some fluidity but as the set reached the middle stage, Richmond kicked on again. They raced on to win the second set 25-16 as they were wonderfully lead by captain Katie Keefe who was the top points scorer in the match.
In testament to Graveney, they never gave up and continued to battle it out in the third. They notched their best set tally of the contest, eventually losing out 25-23.
It was a third gold medal of the weekend out of a possible three for Richmond as they lifted the U16 Girls' National Cup.
MVP was Richmond's inspirational captain Katie Keefe. For the full match stats, click here.