Richmond Bucks get National League season under way
With an 11.30 am warm up, Richmond Bucks will start half an hour earlier than two or three other matches on Saturday 2nd October when the first set of matches of the season in England’s National League will be played. The fixture list looks rather thin early in the competition but starts to gather pace a fortnight later on the 16th. Richmond travelled to Doncaster to play a first division match against the Miners’ Club. Promoted after finishing second in Division 2 in 2019/20, the west Londoners will be keen to make their mark at this higher level where Doncaster finished fourth. London volleyball wishes them success.
Also playing away in this division will be London Aces who travel west to face City of Bristol. Last time this division played Bristol finished fifth while Aces were seventh so this looks like a test that Aces will want to pass. There will be one national league game played in London when, in Bethnal Green, Women’s Division One Lionhearts entertain South Wales in a seven o’clock start match. Promoted undefeated, the Londoners will want to demonstrate that they plan to continue to flourish as they face the side that finished just seventh in the division.
There is just one top flight match that day with Richmond Docklands, fourth last time, travelling to Durham to face the runners up to IBB Polonia. There was little between the sides in second to fifth places last time out so London volleyball will be cheering for Docklands from afar. Fifth were Sheffield Hallam and London Docklands will take meet them next day knowing it won’t be an easy task.
Sunday also brings two third division triangulars: one in London and another, featuring two London clubs, at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering. The first of these will be in Women’s Division 3 South East at Kingston College Arena when Richmond 2 entertains Northampton and Sussex Dolphins 2. Northampton has moved from the Central division where they finished last in 2019/20 while Richmond and Sussex occupied third and fifth places in this division. If Northampton being in the south seems geographically strange, equally strange is the fact that Baks and Dartford Crosses are treated as central. Yet this season they join in competition with England Cadet Boys and both travel on Sunday to play each other. Baks finished fourth in 2020 while the Cadets were sixth out of seven and Crosses seventh out of ten.
It looks quite a challenging week-end for our London teams.
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton
Source: Volleyball England website