Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Relegation Triangular - Bulls stay in Division 1 next season !

Good afternoon !

Here we are, the day after...
About 48 hours ago we secured our position in Division 1 against Basingstoke & Reading Aces. Here is a brief summary of how it went.

1st Game - Oxford Bulls Vs. Basingstoke
We were all on time for this game & had a good warm-up session. We realized on arrival that Basingstoke probably had been struggling to get their players but we received the instructions from our coaches to not pay attention to this & to play all points strongly.

The 1st set started quite well for us. You won't get all the details this time as I don't have the score sheets, but I remember that we got a slight advance quite early in the set. Vaidas was in a particular good form, earning once again his nickname "Big Bertha". The good side of this was to hear Reading Aces commenting every time his was killing powerfully the points. We finished the 1st set quite in the lead.
For the second set we had for instruction to stick to the same level of playing but try some more variations around attacks. However we did not... Basingstoke took a small lead & forced Maite to take the 1st timeout. It was not a big advance (4 points) but it was enough to shake us a bit. At this point, Vaidas & Marcin were not as successful as in the 1st set even though the team was holding on. Things started to change when we started scoring more points by variating our attacks & we caught back with Basingstoke, forcing them to take their timeouts this time. If I remember correctly we entered the 20 zone together but we reached 25 before them (again I have not the score in mind but I know we won).
It looks like Simon Delavalle got MVP for his very effective blocks & his ability to take the block with him, opening a boulevard for our power spikers & making their kills even more impressive !

2nd Game - Basingstoke Vs. Reading Aces
Not a lot to say apart from the overall winner: Reading Aces. They won in 2 sets straight. Our thoughts go to the Basingstoke player who injured his knee after a bad landing. We hope that it is not a serious injury & that he will be back on his feet quickly. It is never nice to have an injured player during a game.

3rd Game & Relegation Decider - Oxford Bulls Vs. Reading Aces
This one was the big one. It would be the game deciding who would be in Division 1 next year. No pressure. A good warm-up & then we were in. A few changes in the line up & here we go. I could develop on how amazing we were, on how we were struck by transcendence or other bulls*** but the truth is that we played well. The defense was in place, giving good passes to our setter, the setter was making good decisions, the middles were getting the block with them & the spikers were killing the points. The first set was quickly finished to our advantage.
No change for the line up on the second set. A very similar second set to our previous game, we allowed Reading Aces to take the lead a little bit, we then managed to refocus, caught back . And then a good succession of pressured serves sent us +4 points ahead. And there was no coming back from this!
Marcin got MVP for this game with good serving & annoying attacks.

And this is how we made sure to be once again in Division 1 next year, where we will play against Oxford University for the 1st time.

It is with sadness that we have to announce that it was the last game with Vaidas with us, but he will be always remember as our "Big Bertha" literally powering through the enemy lines. He will now on play in London.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Eagles start the season

The BVA Division 1 Ladies started out against a strong and stoic Basingstoke side for the first match of the year. Although the Eagles were slow to start, they did challenge the somewhat grumbly Basingstoke side losing in two sets 20-25 and 22-25. These games were more positive than the score reflects as after a sluggish start, the team really started gelling well--much in help to some good position and ball placement guidance from stand-in coach, and injured Eagles player, Maite Braud. Despite some service errors, highlights included some great attacks, including good use of the back row, consistent and reliable setting and a fantastic series of successful blocks by Giulia.  Shame about the score but I reckon this Eagles squad will fare better in a rematch... bring it on!

Written by Lauren Tucker, Izzy's mum and voluntary Eagles bench warmer/last resort sub : )

First win secured for Ladies 1!

The ladies went out with full enthusiasm and everyone gave their best efforts to take the win against Dartford in 3 straight sets! Special mentions to Nela for her awesome debut as Middle and match MVP! Martina as outside and thanks to Zaira for playing so confidently with us at short notice.

On paper, it wasn’t looking promising for Ladies 1 on Super Sunday… 5 players plus an emergency draft from the Oxford Falcons went onto court with no subs and 1/3 of the team playing out of position.
Perhaps we should make it routine for the coach to second ref, not shouting at us on the side line . Final score: 25-20, 25-17, 25-23

Written by Izzy

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nature’s Path of Druidic Balance

The Oxford Globetrotters (Steph, Giulia, Maïté, Vaidas, Jon, Dan) upheld their season’s mantra, which is to pursue the druidic path of nature’s balance. This means not to play too good so as to anger the gods, but not to play too bad either so as to anger us humans. We’ve all congregated at that rectum of the planet that is Basingstoke way too early on Sunday morning, and welcomed ourselves by yawning at each others faces in a classical variation of “I thought you were the designated player? No, you were the designated player? Wasn’t he supposed to be the designated player..? Ah bugger…”. This pretty much set the scene for the the first set against Maidenhead. The ref blew the whistle for for the first serve and the scorer flipped the scorecards to 25 for Maidenhead. I don’t recall how it happened, but frankly I was too tired to care. In the second set we put in some goodwill and effort and were rewarded with a tiebreak, in which we again put in some goodwill, but struggled with the effort part and consequentially had to concede the game. Maidenhead were not without faults either though and awarded MVP to Dan, clearly having mixed up his number 10 for Vaidas’ number 11. Having done justice to losing, the task now was to upheld the druidic balance with a win against Basingstoke, which we duly delivered in straight sets, not without some intermediate struggles though. But at the end of the day, so long as the gods a pleased who are we to argue? Basingstoke awarded MVP for the second match to Jon, pursuing their own season’s mantra of clerical charity.

Written by Dan