Blaze won their first competitive match of the season at their new home venue at the University of Essex. Blaze played with swagger and easily revenged the cup defeat to London Baks two years ago.
The cup match started well for Blaze with Cameron serving an ace, excellent blocking in the middle and a clever roll shot from Michael into an empty court.
Unfortunately, at 8-3, Cameron fell badly on an ankle and had to leave the court. On came Ashley and exemplified Blaze’s strength in depth. Blaze reception was working well giving Ashley plenty of opportunity to execute the coach BK’s game plan.
TEVC raced to a 16-8 lead from a perfect pass from libero Mahlon, set and once again, clean hit winner from Alex.
London Baks, newly promoted to Div 2, had arrived with minimal squad of 8 and even at this early stage there seems little they can do to stem the tide. It was clear there’s was quite a difference in ability.
London Baks defence stayed determined though, forcing TEVC to win the set the right way. Such is the strength of the squad at 21-10, our new opposite Sonny Chaney was introduced. His first touch was a dominating block to the 1m line.
Blaze relaxed, reduced their error count and exerted their authority to ease away to win the 1st set comfortably at 25-11.
Set 2 started with Cameron back on and Jermaine Miles making his first appearance. Like Sonny, his first contribution was a block to the 1m line. Jermaine then delivered a clean roll shot winner into open court and followed this up with another block. Sonny, Jermaine and Alex in the front line created a formidable defence.
However, whilst Blaze led 8-4 lead at the first break. This became a scrappy set with few rallies. Blaze are either hitting winners or losing the points through errors. Blaze won 25-15.
Set 3 started with England Junior star Joe Polumbo in the line up. Joe started his service run with an ace and, despite his young age, looked assured in the middle. Dan came on at the next rotation and demonstrated why Blaze won Div 1 last year dominating the middle with clever placement and clean hitting.
Blaze led 16-7 at the break and whilst Baks never really let their heads drop, they were unable to change the momentum of the match and were seriously “outgunned”. Alex effectively sealed the match for Blaze with a run of 7 penetrating float serves. Blaze took set 3 at a canter, 25-8.
Coach BK was able to rotate the squad and give all his players a competitive game. Useful preparation towards the start of the Super 8 NVL season.
Watch out for Blaze’s new kit. It will debut in their first NVL match next week in Newcastle.