Saturday, January 18, 2014

Oxford Bulls' First Victory !!

Ladies & Gents,

For the first time this season Oxford Bulls have brought back a victory & 3 points. I know you haven't heard about our results so far, but I am sure you will understand that it is hard to advertise defeat...
Anyway, I am using this opportunity to put some light on our season so far.

We haven't been very lucky and over the first 3 fixtures, we only managed to bring back one point. This sole and unique point, we brought it back after throwing an amazing set but we fell back in our old demons - lacking luck and consistency - even if we were applying to the letter our coach's recommendations.

But last Sunday, this is how we played !

1st Game - Newbold Vs Oxford Bulls

We had decided to start 2014 with a new strategy. I had spent the last 2 trainings learning the libero position, and Maité decided to give it a go during a real game. So the first 5 on court were Seb, Luca, Simon, Ben, Adam & Tomas. We started serving but Newbold got it back immediately, scoring then 6 points in row up to 1-7 when Maite took the first timeout. Some could say that taking 6 points straight is something whiwh happens to us very often... But we caught back 9-9 pretty quickly. And we carried on with a good level up, taking the lead 15-14 and up to 19-19. But Newbold, strong of their experience, maintainted the tempo and took the lead again 22-19: Second timeout!! We caught back 24-24, then Newbold scored 25-24, then again 25-25, but Newbold made the difference up to 27.

No change to the team on court, and this time we took immediately 5 points to Newbold. We maintained our lead but they slowly caught back and at 11-11, we had to do everything again. And we did: 13-12 and then 17-15. If I remeber correctly, there was one very disputed rally which we won. Nothing could stop us and we got this second set up to the end 25-19. Consistency at blocking & defending made the difference.

And we started the 3rd set on a high but so was Newbold... 5-5 after 10 very intense points. But we were in the lead when we had to change the sides: 8-7. Again a few points very disputed up to 10-10, but apparently, we just kept going and even if New bold took a timeout at 14-11 to try to break the tempo, there was no coming back and we obtained our first victory of the season 15-11 in an overall 54 minutes. Sebastian, our amazing & dedicated setter, got the MVP maybe for his good decisions during the game. I would also like to point that Newbold are currently 3rd of the league, so winning against them was a good performance.

2nd Game - Spikeos 1 Vs Oxford Bulls

So were were up for the battle after our first victory, and probably did we look a bit more dangerous than the team with only 1 point that we were 2 hours earlier. Maite put on court almost the same team, replacing Ben by Dan. Similar start than the previous game, we lost immediately 8 points (8-1) and Maite took the timeout... But we couldn't stop them from scoring points after points, and they increased the lead up to 17-8, winning easily the first set 25-11.

There was no way we would fall without fighting. No change to the team, and this time we took the lead up to 6-4. and even 9-6. But Spikeos are not 2nd of the league for no reason, and made the effort to caught back and take the lead 14-12. And this was the start of a very intense end of second set. we always managed to maintain our advance by 1 point, up to 20-19: A slightly argued ref decision when the point was granted to Spikeos after a knee injury of Luca - replaced immediately by Adam on court. Again we made the effort to take the lead 22-21, but they caught back - and unfortunately finished the set 25-23. The MVP title went this time to Luca as he gave everything - and even more - for the team.

Well, that's it for now. Next game is next Sunday against Oxford Vollox & Newbury. Don't forget to come and support your Oxford teams!

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