Saturday, October 18, 2014

First fixture for the Bullox!

Bullox, the new OVC men's third team travelled to Reading last weekend
to play their first ever competitive matches in the BVA men's second
division against Basingstoke Lions and Spikeopaths 3. The team was Mat
(c), Steve, Jon, Gary, Curt and Ben.

There were a lot of other fixtures happening last weekend so the
coaches were spread thin. We were also a man down! Fortunately, Ben
Wooding kindly offered to be both our 6th player and our coach for the
day. Thanks Ben!

Basingstoke Lions vs Bullox
We really didn't know what to expect and after a nervous warm up
followed by the comedy of us wandering onto the court before we were
invited by the referee, we were ready to go against a tall-looking
Basingstoke team. The first game was all a bit of a blur with none of
us really able to remember it afterwards. The ball was coming back
faster and more consistently than we're used to and we really had to
work for every point. The team spirit was great - we dug in and won
some good rallies to mean that despite the fact we lost the first set
10-25 we had a lot to be proud of.

After a quick team talk with some good advice from Ben we were ready
for the second set and starting to feel a little more relaxed. This
really worked in our favour and started to show as the quality of our
passes increased allowing us a stronger attack. Again, a bit of a blur
but in the early part of the set we hung with them taking the score to
6-6 before they started to up their game and ease away. We continued
to score and were starting to play some good shots but sadly it wasn't
enough and the set finished 15-25. Despite having lost we enjoyed
playing a competitive match, the communication was starting to come
and we were confident that we'd be even better in our second match.

Spikeos 3 vs Bullox
Having just refereed the match between Basingstoke and Spikeos, we
knew that the match was going to be tough but we felt that we were in
with a chance of winning our first set as long as we stuck to our
game. Right from the start it was clear that the teams were very
evenly matched and that the result was going to be in the balance. We
took an early two point lead at 8-6 but couldn't hold it and kept on
trading points getting to 12-12 then 15-15. Everyone was playing well,
the passes were more accurate than the first match, allowing Mat and
Curt to set some lovely balls for the rest of us to work with. Jon and
Ben in particular were hitting strongly and Steve was working hard as
the middle blocker to put them under pressure. Somewhere in the game
there was a cheeky overhead kick to keep a point alive which left them
so surprised that they set the ball straight back into the block.
Getting to the business end of the set we managed to take the lead
21-20 and had the serve. Unfortunately, they had experience on their
side and iced the server by calling a time out. It couldn't have
worked better for them, we lost the point after the timeout and were
then chasing again. At 23-23, with their serve, it was still all up
for grabs but they kept their heads, played a couple of text book
points and closed out the set 23-25. So close, yet so far... we had
one more chance in the second set.

The second set brought more of the same, high energy, lots of good
rallies, great communication... it was clear that we were improving.
Again, the score stayed close but we dropped a couple of points at the
start of the game and were chasing for a lot of the set. At 15-17 we
found some form and went on a 4-point run to take the lead for the
first time at 19-17. Was this to be our set?  Frustratingly they
remembered their timeout success from the first set and tried it
again. Sadly, it worked out for them and they took the lead straight
back to get to 19-21...  It was our time to call a timeout!
Unfortunately, it didn't have the same immediate reward and they
continued to extend their lead to 19-23 before losing the serve. This
was it, last chance, 6 points needed to win... We got to 22-23 before
losing the serve and again they closed the game out without giving us
a second chance.

Despite losing both matches, it was a fantastic effort for our first
fixture. Everyone came together as a team and we all played our best
volleyball. Bring on the next match next weekend. Hopefully we'll be
able to notch up our first win!

Written by Gary

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