Wessex Junior Men through to Last 8s of National Cup!.
They gave two excellent team performances in beating a combined Exeter / Plymouth team 2-0 and followed this with a 2-0 victory against New Forest.
First up were Exeter who looked to have some hard hitting players. With Johannes March-Ludick feeing unwell Wessex were slightly limited in middle hitting options but they started with their best six which included the return of Dan Harwood after a break.
Austin Pearce instantly connected well with big hitting Jack Williams whose power smashes were too much for the Exeter team. An impressive run of serves from Jamie Harwood saw Wessex go into a 13-6 lead. A lack of control under pressure saw the lead reduced to 15-11 but Iraj Safaee and Dan Harwood stepped in with some outside attacks to regain the momentum. Owen McNeil got a block and a couple of dipping serves as the set was won 25-20.
Exeter fought hard in the second but had no answer to the power of Jack Williams and Dan Harwood. They kept close as Wessex missed a few serves but Austin Pearce benefitted from accurate passing from Dan Harwood and James Scott to spread the attack. Iraj Safaee and a mobile Jamie Harwood kept Exeter on the defensive. They had no answer to Niral Kerai’s serving as he served the final 9 points. 25-15.
Local rivals, New Forest, were up next so it was always going to be an interesting match.
Wessex started the better with Williams dominant in the attack. Dan Harwood was now back in the groove with his smashing while his brother Jamie caused problem for Forest in the middle. James Scott seem inspired in the backcourt while Iraj Safaee got the ball into court from a difficult angle to maintain the pressure. Austin Pearce and Owen McNeil got in a vital block as the set was won 25-18.
New Forest came out all guns blazing in the second set but Jack Williams blocking halted the New Forest outside hitting. New Forest scored a couple of good hits but with Dan Harwood maintaining his energy in defence Forest couldn’t pull away into any sort of lead. Jamie Harwood served a wicked floating ball into one of the Forest defenders chest while Jack Williams hit some unstoppable cross court smashes. Wessex had the lead. Austin Pearce set up Iraj Safaee for the two final point winning smashes. 25-22.
It was great to see the tremendous team spirit in the Wessex team and how much the experience players, Dan Harwood, Jack Williams and Austin Perace helped the younger Wessex players.
Squad – Dan Harwood, Austin Pearce, Jack Williams, Owen McNeil, Niral Kerai, Jamie Harwood, Iraj Safaee, James Scott, Joannes March- Ludick, Owen Turner, Tom Nicholas, Jon Donnelly, Michael Bryan