London League Women’s Premier Division
SQUAD beat Lionhearts East 11:21 21:19 21:18 14:21 15:13
“It was a battle and a half,” said SQUAD captain, Fiona Cotterill when she sent the score-sheet from this match to the divisional Administrator. Not that it had looked that way early on. Playing on the superb volleyball court at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe, Lionhearts East looked rather over-awed by hosts SQUAD and yielded the opening set rather tamely, undone by a telling spell of serving by Fiona herself that took the score from 2:4 to 10:4, a six point lead that gradually stretched to ten.
East roared back immediately, taking the opening rally of the second set and maintaining the lead throughout although it never increased to more than three. By contrast, having lost the first rally of the third set too, the home side won the next three and steadily increased their lead to 14:7. East raised their game and closed to 17:15 but SQUAD nerves held as each side won just a single point on service and they were a set ahead again.
There was nothing between the sides for the first part of the fourth and the score was tied at 8:all but, although a couple of substitutions had earned SQUAD’s eighth point, the changes seemed not to have worked as East raced to 10:15 and the substitutions reversed. The visitors were then able to build the five point advantage to win the set by seven.
In the deciding set, East raced to an initial four point lead but the home side, having taken a time-out at 0:3 recovered well and were on equal terms again at 9:all, going ahead to 13:9, inspired by good serving by O Jones, raced to 15:9 despite a time-out at 11:9. Good play by East was to cut the lead to two but enough damage had been done.
With Fiona and two other team members “playing up”, from the reserve team, the second division competition is going to look strong this season. The Premier Division already looks a thrilling one.
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton