Battle Of The Unbeaten Teams
Sunday 20th November brought Blaze’s 3rd game of the season. Their opponents were the only other unbeaten team in Division 1, Leeds. Unfortunately, libero Mahlon fell ill the morning of the game so did not travel with the squad on the long journey north. However, this gave the new, star signing Chester Searle his first run out as Libero for the team.
Blaze started strongly with some big early hits through both wings, powering their way to the first technical with an 8-4 lead. Leeds fought back through some strong attacks themselves and forced a tight finish to the 1st set. Blaze fortunately had enough fire power to finish of the set 25-21.
The 2nd set started in familiar fashion to the 1st and Blaze quickly reached the first technical time-out. Captain Kieran Good showing the rest of the team where the gaps in Leeds defence. The 2nd technical time-out arrived quickly with a 16-12 lead for Blaze. The lead began to shrink with Leeds really improving their play and getting some strong blocks. With the score locked at 22-22, Tension in the game was high with both teams not wanting to make the mistake that could potentially lose the set. So the Blaze middles decided to step up and take control. The experienced James Bernardi with some very tough serving combined with the athleticism of Daniel Northfield getting some crucial blocks and getting the winning hit, ending the set 25-23
The momentum that Leeds got at the end set helped them race into an early lead in the 3rd set. With Leeds winning at the first technical 6-8. Leeds carried their lead all the way to the second technical. Some great rallies were seen with both teams playing amazing defence. Leeds extended their lead to 18-22. Time-out called from Coach BK and some words of wisdom shared inspired Blaze to fight back to 23-23. Blaze then managed to get their first match point of the game through another hit from Kieran Good. Unfortunately a breakdown in communication in Blaze’s defence saved Leeds for now. It continued like this for another 4 points with Blaze losing 2 more match points. Until setter Cameron Rhodes delivered 2 more perfect sets to Tobias French on the wing to win the set 29-27 and the match 3-0.
Blaze are now the only undefeated team in Men’s Division 1 and will look to continue this run on the 11th December at home against Cardiff Celts.
MVP – Kieran Good