Wessex finish 3rd in National Cup!
Wessex Leaf u15 boys travelled to Loughborough at the weekend to play in the National Cup. The competition was down to the last 6 teams and although Southern Champions the team knew that they would face tough opposition.
First up were Redhill, Birmingham and a lead was soon gained as setter Tom Nicholas found his middle hitters, Iraj Safaee and Jamie Harwood with ease. Owen Turner on the left also found much success with his attacking. Luke Honeybun assisted in the backcourt while Safaee, Johannes March-Ludick and Turner caused Redhill numerous problems with float serves. Te set was won 25-17. The same pattern followed in the second set and the control shown in the pass particularly from Ben Lucas kept Wessex in front against the spirited younger Redhill side. 25-17.
Next up were Richmond who always attacked mainly down the middle. The Wessex counter, with excellent blocking from March-Ludick, Safaee and Harwood saw the local boys into an early and impressive lead. James Scott came on and impressed with his smash defence and controlled passing. First set 25-16. The second set was going to plan with March-Ludick finding gaps with his attacking play but a lapse in concentration saw the Wessex players miss three serves in a row. The momentum shifted and Wessex were having to defend against a rejuvenated Richmond team. Lucas hit some winners from good sets from Josh Green and then a sporting call from the latter at 22-22 saw Richmond edge ahead. The set was lost 25-22 and now the fight for victory was on. The deciding set was close but Wessex kept ahead by a small margin. Lucas, Safaee, Harwood and Turner attacked strongly with good distribution from Green while March- Ludick won points with his serving and blocking. In a nail biting finish to the set Wessex Leaf clinched it 15-13.
Wessex were now into the semi and faced Greenhouse Malory Wessex had beaten the London team once this season but this was a stronger team. Wessex were now playing really well as a team and everybody played their part in a first set win 25-18. Turner put in some intelligent tips whilst Lucas, Harwood, Scott and Safaee controlled the passing unit. When Greenhouse attacked March-Ludick was there with his block. Michael Bryan came on to serve a point and Callum Blaver saw the set out 25-18. The second set was a different story. Wessex stopped attacking which allowed Greenhouse the opportunity to take control of the net play. Jon Donnelly came on to win a couple of points which stemmed the flow but Wessex Leaf were making basic errors as tiredness crept in. Malory won 25-16. Into another decider. There was little to choose between two excellent teams throughout the set but a couple of serve errors proved costly to Wessex as Greenhouse got the win 15-13 in a classic match.
All credit to the Wessex Leaf boys, most of whom haven’t been playing for very long. The margin between being National Champions and coming 3rd is very small especially in a year where the organisers felt this was the highest standard seen at this age group. The Wessex Leaf boys have a great team spirit and are determined to continue working hard to make further progress. Congratulations to them all.
Squad – Jamie Harwood, Iraj Safaee, Johannes March-Ludick, Owen Turner, Josh Green, Ben Lucas, James Scott, Tom Nicholas, Jon Donnelly, Luke Honeybun, Micahel Bryan, Callum Blaver.