Northern Ireland Volleyball
NI League

Blaze 1 Defeat Blaze 2

Tonight saw Blaze’s 1st and 2nd team face up against each other in the NIVA Men’s League, competing not just for league points but for bragging rights as well. Blaze 1 went in to the match confident after their 3-0 opening win against Civil Service, but the Blaze 2 players were hopeful of an upset drawing encouragement from their positive display in their opening fixture.

Blaze 2 had to make a few late changes to the team due to a couple of injuries and players being unavailable and it took a few points before they really got started. Blaze 1’s Captain David Park won the toss and elected to receive, which worked well as they sided out straight away. Player/coach Alan McKnight then started serving for Blaze 1 and jump served 5 points in a row to give the team a solid 6-0 start to the 1st set. Blaze 1 kept the pressure on throughout the set and timeouts called by Blaze 2 at 9-16 and 10-23 could do little to stop them taking the 1st set 25-11.

Blaze 2 came out determined in the 2nd to put up a fight with encouraging words from Captain Johnny McClenaghan reminding the rest of the guys to keep positive and to enjoy the game. Blaze 1 were relentless though and outside hitters Jeff Scott and Adam Hunter were able to pick holes in the Blaze 2 blocks enabling them to score points throughout the set. Blaze 2 had a mixed side with 3 experienced players and 4 guys in their 1st or 2nd season of playing volleyball. It wasn’t all easy for Blaze 1 and credit to libero Aaron McKendry for keeping Blaze 2 in a lot of rallies due to his sheer determination. Blaze 1 always had the upper hand in this set though and Alan McKnight finished the set serving in the same fashion that he had started the match, serving 7 points in a row to win the set and keep Blaze 2 to single figures at 25-9.

The Blaze 1 players had been serving well all match with Matt Scott grabbing a couple of aces in the previous set, but in set 3 Callum Currie came on and made an impact, serving 4 in a row giving the team another solid advantage in a set. Blaze 2 played some good volleyball in this set with some good blocking from middle Tom Cartmill and hitter Ian Walker always a threat on the outside. In the end Blaze 1 were able to pull away as in previous sets with Richard Surgenor hitting well through the middle. They won the set 25-11, the match 3-0 and perhaps most importantly, bragging rights until the 2 teams meet again.

The final result was 3-0 to Blaze 1: 25-11, 25-9, 25-11.

Thanks to the support and especially to Kerry and Hannah for refereeing and Clare and Sarah on the scores.

Blaze 2 team: Johnny McClenaghan (c), Tom Cartmill, Ian Walker, Peter Marshall, Andrew Mills, Luke McAuley, Aaron McKendry (l)

Blaze 1 team: David Park (c), Alan McKnight, Jeff Scott, Adam Hunter, Richard Surgenor, Matt Scott, Callum Currie, Jonny Workman (l)

Editor's choice
St. Patricks Weekend, Celtic Nations
St. Patricks Weekend, Celtic Nations
Sports Awards
Northern Ireland Womens
Northern Ireland Mens
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