Flaming Six Aces beat Wapping Wildcats (Men’s Premier - London Volleyball League)
25:14 25:17 25:21
Surprise champions in record time
The Men’s second division is proud of them. Playing in the Red Division in 2009-10, promoted to division one for 2010-11 and at the end of that season to the Premier League. And now the guys are top of the pile.
Before their last matches, three teams all had a 10-3 record, separated only by set differences: Polonia +19, Flaming Six +18, and Lynx +17. Three days before this fixture Malory Eagles had taken a set off Polonia Panthers who went top of the table but leaving Aces a chance of triumph as Lynx had lost to Lionhearts. However, it would demand a 3:0 win with a massive 21 points advantage against Wildcats to match their record. Amazingly they went two points better: at the end of the season a difference of +174 to +172. That’s close.
The challenge was on and from the start Wildcats were determined not to be a pushover. They led the opening set until caught at 10-all but then wilted for a while under a spell of great play by Aces that boosted their confidence as a lead stretched to 22:9. Then the shakes seemed to strike and Wildcats took their turn to impose themselves and cut the lead to 22:19. Fortunately for Aces, they found their feet again and took the set in the next three rallies.
The opening part of the second set was as close as the first but this time it was Aces who enjoyed the slender lead. However, this time they then gradually extended the lead until it reached 20:13. A good spell from Wildcats followed that gave respectability to their score and increased the pressure on Aces as they closed to 20:17 but, as in the first set, Aces allowed them no more.
Not just the first ten rallies: the third set was tight and close throughout. After the lead had changed hands a couple of times, Wildcats secured the advantage at 9:11 and continued to impress as they built a lead of 15:18. Like worthy champions, Aces rose to the challenge, caught Wildcats at 19-all. They were two points in front at 23:21 but needed to win by three or the Premiership title would be shared. Nerves held. Two rallies were won. Rejoicing broke out.
Edmond Lee, the Divisional Administrator wrote almost immediately to Aces’ Ric and Polonia’s Rafal, “What a nail biting finish to the end of the season! I have received Polonia's last score sheet this morning, and Flaming Six Aces have emailed in the score of their last match as well. The result is not official until I received the score sheets and checked that everything is in place but what an end to the season!”
He added the news that with the championship also goes the first refusal to represent London in the VE Regional Championship Trophy tournament and asked if they would accept the invitation.
Battersea Youth Centre : Battersea, 29th April
Flaming Six Aces
Starting six: Elvis Bertholle, Rodrigo Dos Santos, Peter Dyakiewicz, Robert Jenkins, Peter Kodacsy, Nick Meacham.
Other players: Louis Von Andrian, Riccardo Palluotto (captain), Humphrey Serjeantson,
Coach: Charalambos Mamas.
Starting six: Gaef Colas, Franco Colzani, Brian Haddock, Kent Haverstock, Richard Marriott (captain), Nicolas De Maya Norris,
Libero: Stefano Ugolini.
Coach: Brian Haddock.
Referee: Marco Leites.