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 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.
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.
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.