Sunday, November 15, 2015

First steps for OXFORD BULLS

Report from the Bulls' first match of the season on 11 October - apologies from webmaster for the delay in posting.
First match played against Maidenhead, was a tough cookie. We started strong, even though it was our first match. Most of the time we knew what we were doing. Due to some uncontrollable factors like wind and terrible lightning in the venue we lost few crucial points at the end of the first set, which finished 18:25. Second set was more straightforward. We were struggling with our service and getting very confused with the instructions given by Maite. Whether, it’s a number of a player or number of a position we have to serve on. Moreover, one of the Maidenshead’s players has a huge vertical jump and that’s where referee should have stepped in quite a few times. We lost the second set 19:25 and the match. My personal plan for the match was to let them think they are better and let them win first two sets. Unfortunately, after 2nd set I realised that there was no 3rd.  I would like to point out that Neil has done nothing wrong in both sets.

Second match against Basingstoke was a different story. It started very promising as I overcome certain embarrassment and asked my team mates about the numbering of positions before we got out there. To anyone who thinks it is too late to ask about – it’s never too late kids…it’s never too late. We finally played with smiles on our faces. Basically everything was working out except couple moments were we lost few points in a row.  First set finished 25:21. Second set was a walk in the park really. Hits, pick-ups, pipe, double pipe. Second set finished 25:9 and it was first victory of the season. Again I would like to bring to your attention that Neil has done nothing wrong at all during this battle.

Written by Marcin

Friday, November 13, 2015

Vollox: Venimus, vidimus, vicimus, quiritavit

aka we came we saw, we conquered, we screamed; Vollox now the only undefeated team in Men's Div 1!

**Based on a true story. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. No animals and only one Italian were harmed in the making of this match report. Accuracy of Latin is not guaranteed**

Maiden Erlegh School in Reading seems to be replacing Headington School as the home venue for the Vollox team. At least we have more games there this season, than at the designated home venue. The place does hold fond memories, playing host to the BVA pre-season tournaments, tournaments in which Vollox remains undefeated. And though the lack of showers does prevent the post-match soap-up, this is easily made up for by the consequent musty atmosphere in the car on the drive home.

So it was with great expectations that we set out for what is known as M106 in the BVA almanac on Sunday the 8th of November, in our usual `spontaneous order' fashion. After a brief warm up, officially denominated as our match against Basingstoke, we had a 25-15, 25-5 victory bagged and the stiffness from the drive to Reading banished from our aging bodies. Evidently there is little to say of this blink-and-you-missed-it game, except that all Vollox players were fully focused to get the best possible preparation for the ensuing match against our perpetual rivals for top slot in the BVA league. And that it's purely down to the random nature of the game that the real punishment came in the second set where Martijn and yours truly were on the bench.

Before our crucial game against Spikeos 1, they would also get their chance to pummel Basingstoke. Somewhat surprisingly Spikeos struggled, in particular in the first set that was only clinched at the very end. So an easy game coming up? Not quite. From the start, Spikeos kept pace with an exchange of serve. And a few minutes into it, Gabri, unwisely taking inspiration from Adam, Gerard, and Gareth's synchronised injury display at this years SEVA cup, tore about anything there is to tear in a knee. Having shoved him off the court, we could continue play, but with the incessant moaning from the sick bay, concentration suffered and the decisive lead kept eluding us. Not so for Spikeos, that with a few short runs of serve was suddenly up 19-15. But blocking out both Spikeos' attacks and Gabri's wails, Vollox turned the tables and a run of float serves from yours truly brought Vollox to within touching distance of the set with a 23-19 lead, a set that was taken 25-21 a few points later.

Compared to the eventful and see-sawing excitement of the first set, the second set was a bit of an anticlimax. With Gabri moved to a far corner and by now only half conscious and hence a fair bit more quiet, volleyball could again take center stage. Good runs of serves from Greg and Jon, to which Spikeos had no reply, put the match firmly in Vollox' control, and only the hearse picking up Gabri towards the end of the set brought any variation to the doldrums of securing the set for a 25-14 victory.

MVPs: Rune Lyngsoe for the Spikeos 1 game, and someone else for the other
Written by Rune (with no artistic license at all)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oxford Bulls - Good Games but not enough...

Last Sunday saw the 3rd fixture of the Oxford Bulls. As the title gives it up already we have not been as victorious as expected but we did put up the fight ! I  will start with the bit Iam quite pleased with: I got MVP title twice (reason for me writing this report BTW...)

1st Game - Oxford Vs. Maidenhead

Line up was Simon, Seb, Dan, Neil, Anders & Marcin plus myself entering as libero. A tight start seeing no clear lead up to 6-6. But Maidenhead made the gap at this point forcing Maite to take our first timeout at 10-12. We tried to maintain the gap but very slowly, and fair play to Maidenhead, they kept their advance with strong hits & clean kills. At the second timeout the gap was 15-23 and even if we finished the 1st set with 19 points, Maidenhead got it.

No change to the line up for the second set but unfortunately as well for us, no significant change in the way the set went. We were picking the balls up (including some emergency saves...) and blocking their strong players but we were lacking the kills, and very quickly Maidenhead took a strong lead 7-15, which they maintained until the end 25-13.

2nd Game - Oxford Vs. Farnborough

Same line up (Corne was on the bench but only as emergency...). This time we wanted to make the difference because we felt like we did not loose the previous game on big things. So we started with motivation, and it made the difference and we were in the lead until Farnborough took their first timeout 13-8. But they did not let it go and forced us to take a timeout at 19-20. We kept on scoring points, but they scored a few more than us, and even though we were picking up their strong hits, it was not enough and they were in the lead 23-22 for our second timeout. But not enough... They won 25-23.

Another set, same line up. Again strong start from the Bulls and Farnborough took their first timeout when we were in the lead 6-3. But they once again caught back with us and we took our timeout when they were in the lead 10-9. They made their way until the end of the set confortably 25-18, not really giving a chance to catch back even though it was not easy for them.

More luck next time...

PS: For those who have not notice yet, I am growing a moustache and raising funds for Movember. All information about the charity is here:

And you can support me and donate here > 


Monday, November 9, 2015

A mixed bag for the Eagles

Eagles vs Basingstoke

Eagles faced Basingstoke for the third and final time on Sunday; with one win and one loss between the teams already, both teams knew it would be a tough match. With a full squad (minus Carey) coach Neil had a number of substitutions to chose from. Unfortunately Eagles started off badly with losing the first serve and struggling with receiving tough serves from Basingstoke. Basingstoke continued strong service and attacking and Eagles were slow to respond resulting in a substitution (Flora for Giulia) at 13-5. Despite picking up the pace, it was too little too late and Basingstoke continued to plough ahead and at 19-10 Neil made another substitution (Saskia for Vicky); the Eagles finally took back some control with some great angled attacks to make it 19-13 but sadly it wasn't enough and Basingstoke convincingly won the set 25-16. 

The second set started with a different team with the exception of Maite with the hope that the other half of the team had woken up! Eagles had a better start but were not on top form, slow reactions and lack of communication with the opposition's strong defence and attacking lead to Basingstoke taking the lead. Eagles were unable to keep up with the pace and lost to the set 16-25. 
MVP: Izzy


Eagles vs Oxford Uni 

The Eagles reset (aka woke up) after a disappointing loss and were ready to face Oxford Uni. Neil started out with the 'Traditional Six'; the team were cool, calm and confident against a slower paced team that didn't put much pressure on. With some excellent three touch volleyball and better calling, we convincingly won the set 25-6. After this easy win, Neil put 4 new players on court for the second set. Oxford Uni picked up the pace and attacked more resulting in a point by point game and Eagles struggling to find their team spirit. Despite a worrying score of 21-21, we kept calm and finished the set with strong serving, the final score 25-21.
MVP: Vicky
Written by Izzy