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Men's Premier : Richmond deny Onyx the honours
Posted by Media Team on 2019/4/30 10:30:00 (410 reads)

Onyx lost to Richmond, 18:21 14:21 21:15 14:21, Premier Division (Men's London Volleyball League)
Superb finale to London's league season
With each side equal on league points as this last match of the league season started it really was, "Winner takes all." London League, men's premier division champions 2019 was the reward being played for. With so much at stake, it was fitting that the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth's Olympic Park was available on Monday evening (29th April) and a good crowd of spectators travelled there, most followers of Onyx but there was good Richmond support too with the uncommitted also to watch good, exciting volleyball.

Open in new windowIt does not matter in sport when you take the lead as long as you are there at the end. In the first set Richmond fell quickly behind 4:1 to some good hitting from Onyx before they settled but the crowd enjoyed good attacking volleyball from well matched sides. The gap between them did not fall to two until 16:14 and Richmond did not get in front until 18:19. Onyx looked shocked, lost the next rally and immediately were called to a timeout. It did not solve the problem and a good hit from Flavien Hias sowed confusion back court and his side was a set ahead.

Serving from both sides had been excellent in that first set. Onyx's fell apart in the second. They had made four serving errors early on that gave Richmond a 5:7 lead although a massive block earning their third point from Julian Marcon and Flavien Hias gave early reminder of effective work at the net. Gradually the visitors pulled further and further in front and deserved to be seven ahead when the teams changed ends again.

Onyx made an even better start to the third set than to the first with a huge hit form David Novotny, nick-named "The terminator," my neighbour in the crowd admiringly told me, making it 2:0 and a great block by Emanuel Amariei and S Gossu flipping the score-board to 4:0. Andy Hopper had the Richmond team off court for a talk, However, Onyx continued to play well, hitting hard and were still four ahead at 8:4. Play was then very even up to 18:15 but, having failed to make a significant recovery, Richmond concentration looked to have faded as handling errors occurred and Onyx took the three remaining points they needed to force a fourth set.

There was a lot of impressive hitting and blocking from Onyx in the play that followed, Novotny, Ajeep, Alin and skipper John Tangen all catching the eye. However, they lost several points going for the big hit when I thought some subtlety was needed while Richmond's steady play kept them in front from 4:all. First clever work at the net from Panos Karagiannis made it 4:6 and then 5:7 while a short set to Vuk Kosanovic, hitting through the middle, increased their advantage to 6:11 and Julian Marcon seemed to mesmerise the defence as he secured an unassailable lead of 13:18 and it perhaps summed up Onyx's day when a service error on match point gave Richmond victory and the league title.

The club's juniors had secured huge success over the two previous days at the national cup finals.
Now it has its name on London's top trophy too.

Players
Onyx A
Starting Six: Alaeldein Ajeep, Firtat Alin, Svetoslav Gyurov, David Novotny, Diego Tamborini, John Tangen (captain).
Libero: Valerio Bettini, Russel Sandoval.
Other players: Emanuel Amariei, S Gossu, Cezary Lesniak, S Nystrom.
Coach: Heiner Alzate.

Richmond
Starting Six: J Farren, Flavien Hias, Panos Karagiannis, Anton Kornilov (captain), Julian Marcon, James Scott,
Libero: Borsjan Van Hyest, Kienan Yon .
Other players: Vuk Kosanovic,.

Coach: Andy Hopper.

Referee: T. Stefanowicz

Copper Box, QEOP, 29th April

Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton

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