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

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oxford Bulls - A decent start !

We just had our first fixture this Sunday  and we brought back some points for the club !

We were playing Spikeos 2 & Reading university. Without going too much in details our goal was to beat the 2 teams & have some "playing" time as our team had been recently recomposed. So maybe I will start by introducing all our players in no particular order:

Seb - Old timer setter
Dan - Old timer too but attack (4 or 2, depending on what is needed...)
Anders - Our well known "Octopus" Danish middle
Corne - Our also well known South African/English middle with dodgy knees
Simon - New recruit attack coming back from a long (10 years...) volleyball break...
Felipe - Another setter... (Yes I know that technically makes potentially 4 setters on court...)
Vaidas - New recruit "Big Bertha" Attack in 4
myself (Ghislain) - The French carpet with the different colored shirt...

We started by playing against Spikeos. The instructions from our lovely coaches (YES WE HAVE 2 COACHES !! LUCKY US !! - xx Sam & Maite xx) was to play simple & recycle the ball so we get into the game. And even with a couple of service mistakes we installed a strong lead early on forcing them to take the first timeout at 7-14. Then Vaidas killed the end of the set with his service to bring us to a comfortable 21-11, and we finished quickly in 24 minutes 25-15.
No team change for the second set & a slightly slower start as Spikeos were getting into the rhythm too. We did not let them install their rhythm and they were forced to take a first timeout while being lead 7-9.  Felipe & then Seb (including amazing ACEs) increased that lead to 19-12. There was no coming back from them & we finished even quicker (in 18 minutes) 25-15. I got the MVP title (enhance why I am writing today) probably for being a useful carpet & picking up some digs.

Second game, straight after, was against Reading University. Very quickly it was obvious that their nb. 8 & 9 were 2 new very strong additions to their team. So our target was to stop them from attacking, maximizing points while they were on the back row.  I could describe the different phases of each of the sets, but I will only summarize & say that it was a very disputed game in 3 sets. Both teams showed ups & downs, and there was rarely more than 2 or 3 points difference between the teams. We managed to prevent their strong hitters from hammering us too much but they still went on & we did not manage to conclude even after winning the first set 25-21. The second set was more to their advantage & they won 25-19. The last set was again qui close but we lost it 12-15. Vaidas got the MVP title (& earned his new unilaterally decided by myself nickname "Big Bertha") for powering through the enemy lines.

So overall positive results as we have managed to bring 4 points back & initiated some team building. Hopefully, this is representative of what the season will be... Anyway, we have some work to do on blocking & automatisms.

But because you have read so far, here is a funny picture of a kitten in a block.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sharks in their first win of the season!

Go Sharks!! Well done in our first match this season! We lost against Farnborough 0:2 BUT won against South Bucks 3:2. It was a slow start against South Bucks and lost the first set but we came back stronger on the second set! From being down 4-10 on the third set, we have managed to keep our composure, our team communication and out heart for winning And we did 16-14!

Hopefully we will be more organised on our next coming matches. Thank you for Jon for helping and coaching our first match.

Again, well done SHARKS! and lets win our next matches!!

On court with the Sharks for this match were: Curt Pacson (captain), Lesley Delos Santos, Zaira Stroscio, Jomaeh Hadari, Nicolas Duyauchel, Geraldine Nicholson, Jilbruke Collins, Milena Napionkouska and a guest friend of Jomaeh. 

Written by Curt

Monday, October 10, 2016

Eagles warm up in pre-season tournament

The Eagles took part in the Spikeos cup, held at Maiden Erlegh School near the end of September. Although only three teams participated, they were the top three teams from the BVA Ladies' Div 1 league last season: Basingstoke Lioness and Spikeos 1, as well as the Eagles. The tournament was best of 5 sets rather than the BVA usual of best of 3, so this was a good test of fitness for the interim squad of Stef, Karina, Giulia, Helen, Izzy T, Lexia, Fede A and Maria. The Eagles took Basingstoke to 4 sets but couldn't quite hold out for a fifth; despite losing the match 3:1, there was only 8 points difference in total between the two teams, showing how close it was. The match against Spikeos 1 was a win for the Eagles in 3 sets, who continued to play and communicate well despite not having played together as a full team before. With Spikeos losing to Basingstoke, the Eagles finished second.