National Cups open new season
It seems a long time since we last enjoyed quality national volleyball but the end of the pandemic’s restrictions look to be in sight with the last weekend in September. Although a few preliminary round matches were played a week ago, the first round of the cup will be a landmark stage and make life feel almost ordinary again.
The men’s competition will open proceedings on the Saturday (25th September) and there will be two matches involving London clubs with Onyx’s drawn to play in Tonbridge and the prize of challenging national Super League Malory Eagles in Round 2. KS Osemka will have home advantage at St Benedict’s in Ealing against Sussex sea-side opponents in Worthing; warm-up 4.30. Neither side in the National League, it should be an interesting encounter and the winners can look forward to a home tie against either Urbond Portsmouth or the Army. The other match is a London derby when NVL division one club Aces entertain Wapping. Wildcats have given notice of their ambitions and competition is the London League is strong. A surprise is not impossible and success will earn a home time against the winners of the match between South Hampshire and Weymouth Beach
There are a few men’s matches on Sunday and one of them will be another London derby when AVC visits Chestnut Grove Academy in Balham to face Black Bears. Both play in the London League with the hosts third in the first division last time round and the visitors getting promotion to it so the fixture looks the perfect test for the capital’s new season. AVC has the benefit of a warm up preliminary round victory in four sets against Watford and whoever is successful will play Richmond Docklands in the next round.
In the women’s competition, two London entrants will enjoy home advantage while two others have a bye to Round 2 where they will play each other. They are Dartford, a NVL first division side and Waterloo London. First on court with an 11.00 a.m. warm up will be Onyx who are due to play Kent side Invicta at Kensington Leisure Centre. They will want to do well after so promising a season two years ago. If Onyx can win they will look forward to the short trip to Polonia in the second round. At 3.30 in the afternoon Worthing will be joining Wimbledon on court at Raynes Park. Neither side in the National League, the clash should be an interesting one success bringing a chance to challenge Super League opposition in Cambridge in early October.
The London association wishes all its teams well.
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton
Source, Volleyball England web site.