Saturday the 8th of October brought the 1st game of the season for Blaze, despite travelling all the way north to play Newcastle Staffs, confidence was sky high. With the new recruits Tobias French, Cameron Rhodes and Chester Searle impressing in pre-season, the team were looking to them to continue the great form showed by the team at the end of last season.

With Captain Kieran Good missing the game, all the team had to dig deep to win against an experienced Newcastle Staffs. The team started strongly racing into an early lead reaching the first technical time-out with the score 8-2. Unfortunately, Newcastle made a large come back and lead all the way before taking the set 20-25.

The 2nd set seemed to bring the best in Cameron Rhodes, the former Staffs player ran his offence with precision and speed and gave all his hitters the best opportunity to put the ball away, with middle Daniel Northfield standing out. Blaze took control right from the off and with Stuart Coussins and Michael Pagalos swinging intelligently through the outside, Staffs couldn’t cope with firepower Blaze had to offer and Essex managed to take the 2nd set 25-20.

With the momentum with Blaze, they started strongly again. Despite a minor blip in the middle of the set. BK made some smart substitutions, bringing on Chester Searle to stabilise the serve receive and bring some impressive defensive pick-ups. Junior player Ashley Toomey also made an appearance at the end of the 3rd set to see Blaze over the finish line and ran the offence to victory, winning the 3rd set 25-19.

Being 2-1 up, Blaze fully expected to finish off the job. And like the previous 3 sets, ran off to an early lead. With a 7 point lead over Staffs, Blaze thought they the set was theirs. But staffs made a very big comeback bringing it back to 19-19. Time-out from BK allowed the team to re-focus and raced to a 4th set and game victory, 25-21.

BK said afterwards “Going to game I had nothing but hope that the team would execute. They did exactly that and made the game very competitive.”


MVP = Tobias French

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