Top Performance by U15s at Cup Finals
The Wessex boys did themselves, and the Club, proud with their displays in the National Under 15 Volleyball Cup this season. Despite being a small and young squad the team got though the Regional and Southern rounds to reach the Last 6’s held in Loughborough at the weekend.
Wessex’s first opponents were unbeaten Richmond who later went on to become the English Champions after beating Boswells in the Final. The local boys had a very poor start but overcame their nerves after tough serving from Tom Nicholas and Luke Honeybun got them a foothold in the game. The second set saw Wessex put in their performance of the season. With the more experienced Nicholas (15) and Honeybun (14) leading the way Wessex kept level with Richmond. They were well supported by relative newcomers Lemmy O’Brien (15) and Rowan Turner (15). Most courageous were the mini volleyballers who had stepped up to play against much older and bigger opponents - Joshua Honeybun (12) Kian Safaee (12), Tomasso Kemp (13) and Theo Ludick (13).
Turner, Luke Honeybun, Nicholas and O’Brien were passing well which allowed Joshua Honeybun to give his hitters good smashing opportunities. Nicholas, who was having a fine around game, came up with some stuff blocks against the Richmond power players. Powerful serving kept the pressure on Richmond and with O’Brien and Luke Honeybun working hard in the backcourt, Wessex edged ahead. Ludick got a smash in and Kemp a serve as Wessex kept the lead. With a superb team effort they clinched the set 25-21.
Into the deciding set but with Richmond starting to find the gaps in the Wessex court the Wessex boys couldn’t mount any sort of sustained attack and finally lost 2-1.
Next up were Tettenhall Tigers, a well drilled and impressive team. The Wessex boys found it hard to raise their level again and struggled against the Tigers defence. Ludick was showing good touches. A few excellent blocks from O’Brien, Turner and Nicholas plus strong serving gained points but Wessex were tiring and couldn’t prevent a 2-0 defeat.
Wessex were now in the 5th and 6th play off and were facing another difficult match against Haughton. They rose to the challenge superbly fighting off tiredness with a determination to finish the day with a win. Again led by Nicholas and Luke Honeybun with fine contributions from Turner and O’Brien Wessex gained a small lead. It was nip and tuck though with both sides trading points. Momentum was gained by Wessex with strong serving runs, particularly from Nicholas and this was enough to clinch the first set. It was a real fight in the second with neither side being able to gain control. At the end of the set Haughton gained the advantage to level the match. Wessex bounced back at the start of the deciding set and took a 8-5 lead. O’Brien and Turner making good all round contributions while Joshua Honeybun and Kemp set well. The pressure Safaee and Nicholas put Haughton under with their serving gave Luke Honeybun good smashing opportunities which he took well. Finally Wessex had match point but they missed their serve which gave Haughton the chance to get back into the match. Wessex were under pressure but a brilliant bit of play from Safaee saved the next point and a Haughton mistake sealed the set 15-12 and a 2-1 win for Wessex.
The squad would like to thank all those who have helped them, especially their parents whose support has been so vital.