Richhill Raiders played host to North Down on the first days play of the new 7 Financial National League. A 20 strong crowd came down to support the Raiders in their quest to win the National League in their first ever year, and weren’t to be disappointed. Both teams knew how important it was to get the new campaign off to a winning start, and came out fired up and ready to go.
The Raiders got off to a perfect start, winning the first 3 points with no reply from North Down, and were able to build on this lead mid way through the set taking a 5 point advantage thanks to some great covering defence and transition attacks from multiple players. The Raiders never eased up during the set and ran out 25-17 winners.
Once again the Raiders always looked to be in control during the 2nd set, building a 6 point lead in the middle of the set thanks to some strong middle hitting and blocking from Steven Wilson and Adam Bell. Raiders Libero Lee Taylor, had to call it a day half way through the set after taking ill, which weakened the Raiders team and kick started a run of points for the North Down team. Raiders player Stuart Hamilton had enough of the comeback and put an end to a run of 4 points with an explosive spike, and lead the team to a 25-15 win.
North Down came out stronger in the 3rd set and quickly took a 5-2 lead at the start of the set. Middle players Wilson and Bell continued to stop the North Down attack with exceptional blocking, which helped the Raiders build a 5 point lead mid set. After some smart hitting from the Raiders and strong jousting from setter Mark Fulton, the Raiders were able to serve the set out 25-18 and the match 3-0.
Coach Hazley said after the game “it’s a great start to the new National League for the team. The guys have put a lot of hard work into training in the past few months, which paid off, but we have a lot more work to do before the end of the season.”
Richhill Raiders would like to thank all the supporters who were there for the team and for the continued support from our sponsors; The Normandy Inn, Patterson’s Cars, Geoff Telford Photography and DB Squared.