Manchester Marvels vs Essex Blaze
Team Essex Blaze made the long trip north to face newly promoted Manchester Marvels. Missing their coaching staff and 3 members of the squad due to international duty, Team Essex knew they had a hard challenge ahead of them.
The first set started terribly for Essex. The team could not set up an effective attack and soon found themselves 9-0 down. Essex then managed to settle and traded points with Manchester but ultimately was unable to overcome the large deficit losing the set 25-17.
The second set started in the same fashion as the first finished with both teams trading point until the teens. Essex then managed to pull 4 point ahead. This lead was maintained until the end of the set to level it up at 1-1, aided by some spectacular defence by Ian Bailey.
In the third set the pattern of play was similar with both teams regularly siding out. This time however it was Manchester that managed to pull ahead near the end of the set to take it 25-21.
In the fourth set Essex’s passing unit fell apart with Manchester applying pressure on the outside hitters and avoiding the libero Mahlon King who had been passing very well. This led to Essex going 7-0 down, a position from which they were unable to recover, losing the final set 25-17.
This was a tough defeat for the team as they know they didn’t turn up and perform. Something they will be looking to rectify next weekend as they face both Manchester and Black Country at home.
MVP: Mahlon King