Newcastle Staffs Vs Blaze

Team Essex Volleyball Club Match Report
Newcastle Staffs Vs Blaze
Date: 21/09/13 Venue: Keele University

Day 1 brought an intriguing match against Newcastle Staffs (Staffs) which last season as playing in the Super 8 division. Unfortunately injury and other commitments meant Coach Darren and four players were unavailable. Step up then Sean Poole to coach the side and talented youngsters Ryan Poole and Matthew Ketley to bolster the squad. Blaze played brilliantly in parts but lost the match 2-3 (25-23, 22-25, 13-25, 25-22, 15-10).


Back Row: James Munro, Ryan Poole, Rob Poole, Jo Houlihan, William Ferrier, Sean Poole (coach.)
Front Row: Dan Northfield, Toby French, Mahlon King, Tom Storkey, Matthew Ketley.

The first set was not always top quality volleyball. Blaze looked a little slow and through high error count contributed to the loss of the set. Blaze burst into life in the second set but only after limping to 16-9 down at the second technical time out. Who knows what Coach Sean said but there followed some memorable pick-ups and plays. Notably, big Rob blocking, top hitting from James, another Toby ace to make it 20-23 followed up by solid passing, setting and two consecutive pipe hits to win the set 22-25. Fantastic stuff.

In set 3 Staffs wilted under the pressure from Blaze. Blaze was now playing well as a team and kept balls live that in the first set had found the floor. Mahlon’s presence was growing in the passing unit and Tom’s decision making and sets spot on. Blaze serving and hitting were now consistent and making the game look easy. 3 errors from Staff closed the set.

However, Blaze started set 4 badly and quickly fell behind 8-3. Service and handling errors from Blaze meant to gap widened slightly at the second technical time out 16-10. Staffs were now playing well with strong plays from both wings and with strong vocal support from the home crowd. But typically Blaze rallied again and closed to 23-21 before Staffs finally saw the set out.

In the 5th set Blaze once again started badly. Handling and passing errors meant they were 8-2 down in quick time. There was a mini recovery when Toby’s heavy serving helped narrow the gap back to 13-10 and supporters briefly wondered whether Blaze could grasp victory but it was
not to be.

Whilst the loss was disappointing Blaze showed their potential by outplaying an experienced and strong Staffs team for long periods of the game. With a bit more consistency Blaze could have won this match. They will have the opportunity to put matters right when they entertain Staffs
at Bowsells Sports Hall at 11.30am on 19th October 2013. Let’s get along to support them.

Congratulations to Toby French who was named Blaze MVP

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