Author Archives: Paul French

Ex TEVC Opposite Robert Poole is Player of the Week

Since leaving TEVC to study in USA at Mount Olive Robert has been going from strength to strength. He is one of the senior star players in the league and is helping Mount Olive build an impressive run of wins.    

Recently, the league named Robert the player of the week. Well done Robert; keep it up. Full details are through the link below.


Quiz Night

On 7th November we held our Family Quiz Night.

It was a great night with our traditional supper, games, raffle and of course the Quiz. The “Chamber’s” table took a strategically central position in the hall and played their joker card to perfection scoring a maximum score, including bonus point. Very impressive indeed and this helped them secure the win, frist prize and the cup.

Chambers' Table

Mark Storkey performed admirably as quiz master keeping on top of a sometimes troublesome microphone. Steph Storkey ensured all the answers were marked correctly including the joker rounds. Many thanks to them and also Tom Storkey for helping with the music round.

Darren Lewis acted as MC and despite the best intentions of Dan Sach, kept the house in order. Darren also presided over the infamous card game presenting the £25 first prize to one lucky young winner.

At the end of the evening, Darren called out the raffle winners. Thanks to everyone’s generousity there were many winners and happy faces at the end of the evening. That includes Wayne, the Premises manager, as we were able to clear the hall a few minutes early!


Improving Blaze vs Manchester Marvels and Black Country

With a disappointing result and performance the previous week against Manchester Marvels, Team Essex knew this weekend’s double header was extremely important.

On the Saturday, Team Essex once again faced Manchester Marvels. This time it was Blaze 07.11 (2) Team Essex who pulled away in the first set with some much improved defending and blocking, as Essex were reading Manchester’s attackers. Then, when Essex had the ball they were clinical in offence, with Laurence Russell attacking with confidence and looking unstoppable. With constant pressure from the service line Essex were always in control of the set and took it comfortably 25-14. This was due to some good confident play from Essex and maybe a hint of complacency from Manchester.

Blaze 07.11 (4)

In the second set Team Essex once again got off to a strong start and has pulled out a 4 point lead. Then in the mid-teens a series of errors in decision making and attacking allowed Manchester back into the set, who gained confidence and went on to take the it 25-17.

In the third and fourth set both teams were playing some great defence creating some spectacular rallies. Team Essex took the third set 25-18 and Manchester replied winning the fourth 25-19 taking it into a decider. Strong vocal support from the home team was maintained throughout the match.


In the fifth Manchester was soon 4-1 up due to some poor passing and defence by Essex. Then Manchester went through a similar patch and had to call a time out with Essex 5-4 up. At the change of ends it was still anyone’s game with Manchester leading 8-7. Manchester then managed to secure the first match point at 14-12. A confident swing from Kieran Good then put Essex within one point but Manchester hit off the block to take the set and match.

MVP: Matt Ketley

On the Sunday Essex faced Black Country who had beaten one of the league favourites in Tendring on the Saturday. Essex got off to a terrific start with targeted and powerful serving from Kieran Good giving Essex a 9-1 lead and getting one of Black Country’s players subbed off early in the match. From this position the two teams traded points and Essex took the set 25-18.

Blaze 07.111 (3)

The second set was closer with Black Country having the slight point advantage in the twenties. Essex managed to fight back from set point down to take the set 26-24 after two aces again from Good.

The third set followed a similar pattern to the second, again with Black Country slightly ahead in the twenties. Then some ill-discipline from one of the Black Country’s players resulted in a red card and shifted the momentum to Essex who took the set 26-24 giving them a 3-0 victory.

This was a vast improvement from the previous week and the only thing missing was the second win.

Manchester Marvels vs Essex Blaze

Team Essex Blaze made the long trip north to face newly promoted Manchester Marvels. Missing their coaching staff and 3 members of the squad due to international duty, Team Essex knew they had a hard challenge ahead of them.

The first set started terribly for Essex. The team could not set up an effective attack and soon found themselves 9-0 down. Essex then managed to settle and traded points with Manchester but ultimately was unable to overcome the large deficit losing the set 25-17.

The second set started in the same fashion as the first finished with both teams trading point until the teens. Essex then managed to pull 4 point ahead. This lead was maintained until the end of the set to level it up at 1-1, aided by some spectacular defence by Ian Bailey.

In the third set the pattern of play was similar with both teams regularly siding out. This time however it was Manchester that managed to pull ahead near the end of the set to take it 25-21.

In the fourth set Essex’s passing unit fell apart with Manchester applying pressure on the outside hitters and avoiding the libero Mahlon King who had been passing very well. This led to Essex going 7-0 down, a position from which they were unable to recover, losing the final set 25-17.

This was a tough defeat for the team as they know they didn’t turn up and perform. Something they will be looking to rectify next weekend as they face both Manchester and Black Country at home.

MVP: Mahlon King

Team Essex Blaze vs Coventry and Warwick Riga

Front Row: Dan Sach, Kieran Good, Chris Frost, Andy Saward, Mahlon King Back Row: Sean Poole (Asst. Coach), Laurence Russell, Matthew Ketley, Zac CHambers, James Bernardi, Ian Bailey, BK (coach)

Front Row: Ben Laing, Dan Sach, Kieran Good, Chris Frost, Andy Saward (Captain), Mahlon King
Back Row: Sean Poole (Asst. Coach), Laurence Russell, Matthew Ketley, Zac Chambers, James Bernardi, Ian Bailey, BK (Coach)

Team Essex Blaze kicked of their league campaign against Coventry and Warwick Riga. A team that last season beat Blaze 3-2 on both occasions they met. This coupled with a disappointing early exit from the cup two weeks prior meant that Essex were taking nothing for granted and expected a very tough match.

Essex started the game strongly, with the passing unit working effectively allowing young setter Matt Ketley to run the offence. With Warwick’s middles having to commit block on James Bernardi and Ian Bailey the wing hitters were often left with one man blocks allowing them to attack with great efficiency. With some good defensive pickups and the only real weakness and source of Warwick’s point being service errors Team Essex built a commanding lead by the first technical time out. Essex maintained their focus and with vocal support from bench and coaches extended their lead to comfortably win the first set 25-12.IMAG0219

The Second set started where the first set left off. With Dan Sach replacing Ketley in the setting position the distribution of ball and offence remained strong and Essex quickly built up a substantial lead. Around half way through the set Zak Chambers replaced Andy Saward through four. Warwick then upped their service pressure targeting Chambers and managed to get on a small run of points. The passing unit then managed to get on top of Warwick’s serve and were siding out consistently with some great offence from Kieran Good in particular. Essex then ran away with the set to win it 25-17.

The third set saw Chris Frost back from playing in France for a few years replacing Mahlon King, who had a very solid passing performance throughout the first two sets. Team Essex again built a lead early on with some great blocking led by Bernardi and Russell. Chambers extended the lead further by going on a long service run hitting mIMAG0222ultiple aces. Ben Laing replaced Russell for his Team Essex debut and brought bringing great energy to the team and put in a solid performance. Essex secured the 3-0 win with a set score of 25-14.


This was a strong team performance for Blaze as they played with great maturity despite being a relatively young team. The performance was clinical, with very few bad errors and everyone contributing positively. The team is now looking forward to their next match against Solent who have come down from the super 8s and also managed to secure a win in their first game of the season.

Coach BK quoted “I was both excited and anxious before Blaze’s first league match but the guys made it a very enjoyable experience. The whole squad showed good confidence, team work and most importantly good volleyball. We will go one game, one point at a time but today was was a very important first step and the team executed well.”


Early Cup Exit

Team Essex Men took on London Aces today in the first round of the cup. Ultimately it ended in disappointment for TEVC but the first run out of the season proved informative for our new Blaze coaches Branislav Kovac (BK) and Sean Poole. Last year, we lost 0-3 to Aces at the same stage but went on to reach the final of the plate competition. Who’s to say that won’t be repeated?

Mens Cup team RD 1 2015TEVC started the match slowly and was down 8-4 at the first technical. Things really didn’t improve thereafter with Aces being far more clinical at the net, taking the set 25-16.

Set 2 started well with TEVC showing more energy and kept their error count low. Also, they now had more penetration from the service line serving forcing numerous errors from the visitors. Dan Sach’s ace was a highlight. TEVC kept extending their lead and eventually took the set comfortably at 25-18.

The third set was nip and tuck with TEVC taking a more than useful lead when at 23-21 Aces took a time out. The break proved decisive as TEVC were unable to put away their opportunities and lost the set 23-25.

Set 4 saw Aces continue their solid form pulling out a 7 point lead. TEVC began the fight back and got within two points at one point but couldn’t overhaul Aces

The team was drawn from each of the mens teams with many players under 18. It was good to see our two young setters Matthew Ketley and Dan Sach, opposite Zac Chambers and middle Cameron Schultz representing the club so well.

Trinity March On

Congratulations to Team Essex Trinity on a well deserved win against the Army in the Shield Competition.

Unfortunately, Trinity took a while to warm up and lost the first set 25:21. However, they then picked up the pace and found their rhythm. With their “game face ” on they took control and finished worthy winners. The last three sets were won 15:25, 20:25 and 12:25.

Some of the highlights of the game were great pressure from the service line from Bohannan and Jaeger, convincing defence from Lambert and clever attacking options from Segnini. Well done team!

Trinity will be making a trip down to the West country on the 11th January 2015 to play Bath  Mavericks in the second round.


Estonians make it 6 – 0

High flying TEVC Estonians stretched their unbeaten run in the league today to six matches when comprehensively beating Leicester VC 3-0. The team looked good in the new kit and played well. Estonians are now only second on points to Birmingham who they play at Boswells on December 6. Definately one to watch.

Back Row: Michael Pagalos, Cameron Schutz, Stuart Coussins, Dave Fenech, Ian Bailey, Andrew Tuck Front Row:  James Bernardi, Matt Ketley, Tony Clarke (c), Mahlon King (l), Zac Chambers

Back Row: Michael Pagalos, Cameron Schutz, Stuart Coussins, Dave Fenech, Ian Bailey, Andrew Tuck
Front Row: James Bernardi, Matt Ketley, Tony Clarke (c), Mahlon King (l), Zac Chambers

There was a nervy start to proceedings with the first four points being errors. Then a service run by Tuck “steadied the ship” to take the score to 6 – 2 then 8 – 3 by the first break. Michael then stepped up to line and served strong to increase the lead in quick time to 12-4. Estonians were serving well and dominating in offence. This made life very difficult for Leicester and there were relatively few rallies. Cameron came on later in the set and immediatley killed the ball off a great set from Dave with his first touch. Further kills from Michael and Ian kept the score moving along helping Estonians win the set 25-14.

Leicester got frustrated and were awarded yellow and red cards. Consequently, Estonians started the second set with a 2-0 lead.  Whilst Leicester arguably played their best voleyball to hold the score to 8-5 at the first break it was not going to be good enough. Matt had come on for Dave and started a strong serving run and this was followed by another service run by Michael. Leicester’s passing unit were under pressure the whole set as there were very few serving errors. Strong offence was backed with enthusiastic defence. Estonians were up 22-11 and cruised to a 25-12 set win.

The third set started like the first two finished. Estonains were playing well as a team, defending and passing well. Matt had plenty of options setting but ones to Ian in the middle took the eye with clean hitting from Ian winning the points. From 16-7, Estonians eventually won the set 25 – 17.

This was a good result even with the team not at fuill strength (big John, Cameron, Kieran and Tom missing). There’s every chance Estonians can keep their unbeaten run going for some time yet.

Blaze turns up the Heat

Blaze started their 2014-5 campaign on Saturday 25th October playing away in Coventry vs Riga and followed this up with a home fixture vs Wessex Mens II.

TEVC Blaze October 2014

Front Row: Stuart Coussins, Dan Northfield, Mahlon King, Rees Warren, Kieran Good, Matthew Ketley (missing)

Standing: Darren Lewis (Coach), Michael Palago, Laurence Russell, Cameron Rhodes, Sam Thompson, Luke French, Andy Saward (Captain), Joe Houlihan

Coventry Riga had been relegated from Super 8 last season and had had a slow start to 2014-5 with 2 losses. However this was Blaze’s first competitive outing and there were numerous new players to gel together.

RIGA warm up Oct 14

The match ultimately ended in defeat 3-2 (15-13 in the 5th) for Blaze and carried a great deal of frustration. Whilst the lads played well in parts – indeed well enough to win the total points tally     109 -101 we made too many unforced errors at important times to maintain pressure throughout the match. We must now look forward to the return fixture.

Congratulations to Laurence in being named MVP


Whilst the loss against Riga felt like a game we should have won the match against Wessex turned out to be quite the opposite. Wessex had won their first 4 games in the league and were the “in form” team. The previous day they dispatched Tendring 1-3, a team that had nearly qualified for super 8 last season.

Sam started the match serving some strong penetrating serves and helped create a 8-4 lead. Blaze were benefitting from a solid passing unit and winning points across all areas of the net after the first round of serving Sam came back to the line 13-8 up. Andy Saward then took up the serving dominance taking Blaze to an incredible 25-10 score. Blaze showed real penetration from the service line and attack putting Wessex under sustained pressure. Joe Houlihan and Laurence featured highly, claiming multiple kill shots.

Wessex stepped back on court in Set 2 determined to take the game to Blaze. They cut out their errors and improved the quality of their setting and hitting. Wessex were 6-11 up and showing why they were the league leaders. However, Laurence then stepped up with 2 cross court winners. Sam then came back to the sevice line once again and applied pressure to the Wessex passing unit. Whilst Sam was intrumental in helping turn the score around to 16-12, the whole team was clinical in executing the game plan and keeping Wessex under pressure. Whilst Wessex then fought back strongly to draw level at 20-20, two consecutive clean winning hits from Luke and Andy ensured we took the set 26-24 for a 2-0 lead.

At 2-0 up Blaze was in a very good place but Set 3 started badly with performance levels dropping. We were 3-10 down before Luke fired in some penetrating serves including two aces and forced a Wessex time out at 8-10. Some great blocking kept Blaze in the set to 18-18 against a rejuvenuated Wessex. Wessex were however able to maintain their high level and eventually run out Set 3 20-25 winners.

Set 4 started as Set 1 did with Sam setting the tone with strong serving and forcing Wessex on the back foot early on. An 8-6 lead extended to 16-10 following, once again, excellent defensive play by Blaze. Blaze looked unbeatable at this point and eased the lead quickly to IMG_20141026_13141320-12 as Wessex increased their number of errors. A mini revival from Wessex was stopped by an impressive block by Sam. Blaze took the last set 25-17.


Sam took MVP hours but all the team played their part in achieving an excellent result. This is better start to the season than last year and there are two more matches within the next 9 days so let’s hope Blaze can continue their good form.



Mini Diggers Club

The TEVC Mini Diggers club kicked off successfully on the 8th September. Ably led by our first team coaches Darren and Rachel, about 40 youngsters (aged between 8-12) a week 6-7pm on Mondays, enjoy the excellent opportunity to learn volleyball skills at their own pace. The club is well supported and going really well. The training also complements other sports Mini Diggers may be pursuing.

However, looking forward, we hope many will get “hooked” on volleyball and continue in the sport for years to come. This arrangement is mutually beneficial with Boswells Academy, as many come from local Junior schools that are in the Boswells catchment area.

This week marked a milestone as it was the first week Mini Diggers could earn the right to wear the Mini Diggers club vest. Congratulations to them and all the other Mini Diggers who follow. No prizes for spotting Mahlon!Mini Diggers Oct 2014

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