Sunday 6th February was the final round of matches for the inaugural London Sitting Volleyball League (LSVL). This new competition set up in this Paralympic Games year was designed to complement the Volleyball England Grand Prix Series and provide some additional competition for the 3 teams based in and around London both to help the teams continue their impressive recent development but also give the Great Britain Players some additional matches in preparation for the WOVD Inter Continental Cup in Cairo at the end of February.
The day was thrown into question by the bad weather but all baring a few players managed to get to Roehampton University for what have been talked about for some time, the deciding day of the LSVL!
With 5 out of the 9 matches going to 5 sets and a 3-2 victory the competition was well fought through-out. In the middle round of matches London Malory came back from losing both their matches in December to win both of their matches in January, that put all 3 teams on 2 Wins and 2 Losses, but with East London Lynx losing both their matches 3-2 they were one point ahead going into the final day of competition.
In the first match London Malory took on East London Lynx in one of the games of the competition with both teams contesting well at the net showing great variations of attacking play which was often equalled by high level defence. Richard Dobell used his hitters well through-out and James Roberts dominated the back court well as Libero. The match was won in the 5th set but some great serving from Ashley Trodden and Malory Eagles ended up winning 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-27, 15-9).
The second match of the day was actually a re-match of the 2010-11 Grand Prix Final and the score line matched it as well with Surrey Gators winning 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-14). Lynx had a strong start to Set 2 and were close to pulling the match level at 1:1 with some good all round play from Muzaffar Jabber and John Munro but Surrey pulled the set back and played the big points at the end well through some excellent attacking from Charlie Walker and Andrea Green.
So it all came down to the final match of Malory Eagles and Surrey Gators. The winner would finish 1st and the losers position would depend on what their losing score was. The first set started at a fast pace with both teams working hard to win the points. Jess O’Brien and Justin Phillips attacked from all positions well from the start and had some joy with wiping of the big Gators block. Surrey gradually worked their way into the match and took control by the 1st Technical Time Out, cheered on by their fans they pushed on through some excellent serving from Rob Richardson to win the first set 25-11. The 2nd set was alot closer and Malory pushed Surrey right to the end however some excellent Gators defence by Netra Rana and Sanne Bakker kept the point ticking over to end up 25-20. The 3rd set was a very tense affair with both teams scrambling around trying to get a grip on the set but in the end Surrey managed to slip ahead to win the 3rd set, the match and the competition.
It is often said as a joke, but with the LSVL, the sport of Sitting Volleyball really was the winner… The level of volleyball played was some of the highest played in Great Britain in recent years and it showed the promise that is ahead for the teams and players involved.
A big thank you must go to Charlie Orton who supported the addition of this new competition and to the coaches from all 3 clubs as well as of course, the players involved.