Weekend Preview: making a start
21st September 2017
In any volleyball season, early victories can be the catalyst for a season that exceeds expectations. That’s what many of the NVL sides will be chasing this weekend – the tinder to spark a good year.
There is opening action from two divisions in the women’s third tier.
In the Women’s Division 3 Central, three teams will have the chance to be the league’s pacesetters as Black Country, Nottingham Rockets, and RAF Hawks all play each other in a round robin of matches on Saturday. All the teams will not know what to expect on their first outings. Nottingham have moved into the division from North division of the third tier. Black Country finished mid-table in the division last year, while the Hawks will hope teams will underestimate them as they finished bottom last season, recording just one win.
Pick of the weekend:
Not just one match, but another round robin of fixtures in the Women’s Division 3 North. Hull Thunder, Wirral Wasps, and York Falcons will all face off against each other on Sunday. It will be a landmark moment for Hull Thunder as their women will be making their NVL debut. While Wirral Wasps will be returning to the NVL after a year’s absence having won the title two years ago. York Falcons finished third last year so will be one of the favourites for the title this year. An intriguing set of matches: how will Hull take to life in the NVL? Will Wirral be as good as before? Can York make a bid for promotion? Find out in the Monday review!
Elsewhere in the women’s game, in Women’s Division 1 New Forest take on Team South Wales hoping to bounce back from an opening defeat. Herts VC host Malory Eagles who are expected to be among the top sides having finished third last year.
There is also plenty of action in the second tier. In the Women’s Division 2 North newly-promoted University of Nottingham should be competitive in their opener against Newcastle Staffs, who were two places above the bottom last year.
Heading south, in the Division 2 South, South Hants will need plenty of stamina as they host Ashcombe Dorking, then London Inter Women just two and a half hours later. Both South Hants and London Inter Women were promoted last year so will be stepping up in class. Oxford Ladies play Reading Aces, which will be a good sign of if either have made much progress over the summer, as they only finished one place apart last year. Sussex Dolphins face a tough start to life in the division after promotion, with a tie against Birmingham Volleyball Club 2 who finished third last year.
Saturday sees two games in the Men’s Division 2 South. Cambridge VC and Anglia Ruskin University will have a hard task of making it two wins on the spin ad they square off against New Forest. The Forest boys finished third last year and recorded victories over the top two sides. City of Bristol will be expected to beat Exeter Storm having done the double over their South West counterparts last year.
Pick of the weekend:
Further north, Melton Lions host Polska Przychodnia Intervolley Manchester in the Men’s Division 2 North. The Lions will be buoyant after a solid victory last weekend over Nottingham Rockets in the National Cup. Polska pipped Melton by one place in the league last year, and the last time these two went toe-to-toe it was a five set epic. Polska raced into a two-set lead, before the Lions hammered them in the third to seven points. Lions also took the fourth, but Polska were re-energised to wrestle victory in the golden set decider, winning by three points. So we can expect another titanic clash.
Sunday’s league action is all focused on the third tier. In the Men’s Division 3 North, Manchester Marvels 2, Miners Doncaster and Newcastle Staffs 2 all play each other. Newcastle were relegated from the second tier so will look to prove their class at this level, while the Miners beat Manchester Marvels 2 comfortably when they last did battle.
In the new-look Men’s Division 3 South, Richmond VB, Wiltshire Mavericks and Surrey Spikers kick off their season with a round robin against each other. Richmond will go into that favourites for two victories having finished second in the South East equivalent last year, while Surrey were two places below and the Mavericks two places off the bottom in the South West format.
Rounding off the weekend is the final fixtures from the first round of the Men’s National Cup. Guildford will look to bridge the gap of one tier against London Baks. There an-all Div 3 Central tie as Loughborough Students make the trip to Lincoln Cannons.
While Marske Phoenix will hope to continue in the vein of non-NVL sides upsetting league opposition. They tackle Blyth Valley who finished sixth in their region of the third tier last year, so it looks like there is a possibility for an upset.