Waltham Forest lost to UBS (Men’s D2 Blue - London Volleyball League)
25:17 20:25 15:25 20:25
Promotion at first attempt
Throughout this match it seemed possible that the battling home side would take control but UBS managed to hold on both to the game and its unbeaten league record for the season. Having joined the London League only last autumn, they have achieved their ambition of playing in the first division next season.
Forest looked the better side by far throughout the first set and with great teamwork from back-court, through setter Mekel Homer to an attack in which Pawel Kuba, Jakub Jurak and Lance Symister shone, took control from 10-all and in a fascinating battle for supremacy, forced a time out at 14:10 and then, from 17:12, mastered the visitors. They still looked the better in the second although rather too many over-complicated moves gave points away. Still, the scores were again tied through to 10-all and on to 12-all. Forest then seemed to lose its cohesion and, although individuals were playing well enough, no successful attacks materialised until they were 12:19 down. Even after that, they fell further in arrears to 15:23 and the late set rally came too late although it produced a more respectable score-line. After a good start to the third, Forest service reception deteriorated in the face of a stronger UBS performance and they deservedly fell further and further behind. They produced a magnificent fight back in the fourth, however, but had given themselves slightly too much to do after a spell with rather too many errors had given their opponents a lead of 5:12. They recovered to 20:21 and looked as though they had levelled the score to set up the chance of a tie-break. Unfortunately for them, their attacker brushed the net with his hand and UBS had a crucial two point lead. Spirits seemed to drop.
UBS didn’t look like an undefeated side as the match got under way. Although there were a few good moves, they looked tense and, perhaps trying to overcome it, looked too casual in service reception. They didn’t play well and deserved to lose the opening set. They were steadier in the second and managed to win it although the success came as much from a weaker home side performance as from their own endeavours. Having forced a time out at 12:15 and another at 15:23, they ought to have finished off their hosts but instead produced a nervous close to the set. A changed side appeared for the third and, in particular, the blocking was considerably improved: special credit to Gustavo Farina, Valdas Jurasauskas, Gundars Routenbergs and setter Rytis Ligeika who had replaced Ko Rong Tang at the end of the first set to give some extra inches at the net. After a great start to the fourth, nerves again seemed to take control after a time out when things looked comfortable at 15:8. Suddenly the opposition closed to 16:17 and another time out was essential after a beautiful 3-touch move by Forest shocked them as Emre Baran hit down the line on the left. If they had not won the crucial rally at 20:21, who knows how it may have ended but, having succeeded, the next three rallies proved something of a formality.
“We’d been nervous,” UBS confided after the end of the match. “We knew Leyton would be tough opponents and at no stage did we feel we had taken control.” Well done both sides. Congratulations UBS, divisional champions.
Leyton Sixth Form College Sports Centre : Leyton, 26th April
Starting six: Emre Baran, Francis Duncan, Mekel Homer (captain), Jakub Jurak, Pawel Kuba, Lance Symister,
Other players: Vincent Broad, Angel Garcia. Joe Nansen, Arnold Nyambara,
Coach: Tanwir Arshad.
Starting Six: Gustavo Farina (captain), Robertos Galvydis, Valdas Jurasauskas, Rytis Ligeika, Gundars Routenbergs, Ko Rong Tang.
Libero: Barry Botelho.
Other players: P Ramakrishna.
Referee: Kassim Ukware.