|Blaze too hot to handle|
|Published: 18 Apr 2012|
Wednesday 18th saw the final match of the season for Blaze 2nds as they took on Civil Service in the battle for second place in the NIVA Men’s First Division held in Dalriada.
It was obvious from the warm up that this would be a hard fought match with consistent hitting from both sides especially from power house blaze libero Johnny Workman.
Civil Service lost the toss and were forced to serve.
The first whistle was blown and the game was under way with blaze immediately siding out with a solid pass from Blaze veteran Ian Walker to setter John White who was in exceptional form. With hard attacks giving a confidence boost for the home team, CS were not going to be phased and dug deep showing determination in defence and putting well placed balls into court that ensured the game was kept close. The blaze boys seemed to be getting into a rhythm until CS #16 came to the base line and caused difficulty for the blaze passing unit until outside Callum Currie decided to get out of the rotation and calmly slotted the ball deep into the corner. After a number of missed serves from both sides with the occasional rally Blaze won the first set 25-19.
In the second set the offence from middles Bertenshaw and S. White was something else, but again CS being defiant in defence not letting Blaze get any easy points which kept the match never more than 3 points difference. It was also the 2nd set when CS #14 really came into his own on the outside playing smart shots and moving the defence out of positions to help his team with winning points. This effort was to be soon forgotten about when enthusiastic John White went back to the baseline and had an exception run of serves with the result being a passing error or free ball, Blaze defence were always on hand to help John and give high passes to the net. With consistent passing there was no excuse for the home offence not to be able to convert attacks to points. A player who did this particularly well was Limavady man Nathan Derbyshire who picked out the gaps in the CS defence through the use of tips, rolls and full throttle hits. Callum Currie served out the set for Blaze winning it 25-21.
2-0 to Blaze going into the third, the local men were looking to avoid giving up any momentum in the third and push for a 3-0 victory. This was evident with John White serving 7 in a row after Blaze siding out of the first ball giving them a 8-0 lead. It was at this point that CS managed to side out winning their first point of the set. Each team had a run of 2 or 3 points then it was yet again the turn of CS #16 who would trouble the Blaze passing unit by completely erasing the deficit and turning it round to a 2 point lead when Blaze called a time-out at 11-13 in CS’s favour. The T.O. was called to break the roll CS were on and gather our thoughts, regroup and go back in after calming down. This proved useful as on the next ball Blaze outside Ian Walker managed to side out on. John White eventually came back to the baseline for his final run of 5 serves. The rest of the match was very even with both teams siding out regularly until match point for Blaze when the referee saw something he didn’t like in response penalising CS #5 with a yellow giving the Blaze boys the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.
A big thank you goes to referees Johnny McClenaghan and Caroline Goodliffe, to scorers David Park and Emma Kennedy for their score board flipping contributions and to all the supporters who came out you really made it a great night.
MVPs - CS #14 Dariusz Mankiewicz Blaze #3 J. White