Blaze take on the Danes

Saturday 8th March 2014 11.30am. The stage was set for an epic match at the Boswells Academy. Blaze had played poorly against Danes earlier in the year losing 0-3 and wanted to put that right. Unfortunately, big Rob Poole had to pull out of the match with a back injury and others were either carrying an injury or just recovering from one. Even so, it was shock to see the lads lose 0-3 (9-25, 18-25, 26-28).

Coach Darren Lewis changed the normal Blaze rotation to try in set 1 to compensate for Rob’s absence and injury worries. However Blaze barely flickered in the first set going 2-8 then 6-16 down in quick time. A time out by Blaze at 6-20 just delayed the inevitable. It could only get better for Blaze.

The home supporters cheered at the first real sparks from Blaze at the start of the 2nd set. Blaze deservedly took an early lead 6-5 following a fast reverse set by Tom. Danes then had a run of points off their best punch server and took control to lead 9-16. Blaze once again had trouble making effective blocks. Jack Watson then lead a mini comeback from the service line forcing Danes to take a time out at 13-19. However Blaze continued to dominate this part of the match closing to 16-19 with clinical middle play by James Bernardi. However Danes then rallied themselves and closed out the set comfortably 18-25.

The 3rd set proved to be the best of the tie. Blaze reception finally started to make give Sam some setting options. There were fine kills from both wings and through the middle. Blaze led 8-7. Then James hit a brace of clean winners from the middle to take the score to 16-14. An ace from Toby pushed Blaze lead up to 19-16. However, as before Blaze faltered when they should have pushed home their advantage. A time out at 19-18 tried to halt the tide turning but Danes pressed further and took the lead at 21-22. At 23-24 James stepped up to the service line and got one to land on the net and dribble over. Did this mean the gods were smiling on Blaze? Next point Jack set Toby from well in the back court to win the point and create a set point. Danes then maintained a great defensive performance to pull level. Blaze had further chances to take the set but just couldn’t get the ball down. It was an exciting set but ultimately disappointing end for the home supporters.

With only five games left to play this season, there is a real dog fight in the relegation zone. The table below shows the teams in the bottom half of the league. The bottom two will be automatically relegated; third from bottom will be in a pay off. Any three of six could be relegated. Blaze have still the play Lynx, Northumbria and Birmingham at home so maintaining Div 1 status is still in Blaze hands. Come on lads!

Position            Team                Played           Won                Lost               Points
6
London Lynx 2
12
6
6
24
7
Northumbria / Middlesbrough Academy
16
4
12
24
8
Birmingham
14
4
10
22
9
Essex Blaze
13
4
9
21
10
City of Bristol
13
4
9
21

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