Tendring 1 – 3 Cardiff Celts

Tendring men 1 faced Cardiff Celts in their opening fixture of the National Volleyball League.

The squad consisted of five new members including England senior squad member Owen Lamb, Scotland international Conor Walker and Americans Derek Sullivan, Erik Halberg and Gary House. Due to the international makeup of the team the preseason has been very brief but the team went into the fixture with high confidence as Cardiff Celts were newly promoted into Division 1. Cardiff also recruited well over the summer and included 5 new signings.

With little preseason game time the first set started badly for Tendring as they found themselves 10-5 down but the crowd of over 80 people got behind the teams and they got themselves back in the game. James Baker and Kosta Yiannakkos both started firing on the win and the teams levelled at 22-22. A kill block by Gary House put Tendring in the lead 23-22 but Cardiff fought back and with two clever shots took the set 25-23. Another nervy start from Tendring saw them 4-1 which saw Conor Walker sub in for Yiannakkos. Tendring took the lead at 14-13 with a kill block from Walker, with Stuart Dove and House finding the court in offence Tendring kept the lead and won the set 25-21. 

Both teams traded points in the 3rd set, looking to create a gap between the two teams. Derek Sullivan created distributed the ball well for Erik Halberg as he made easy work in the middle position. Yiannakkos came back on at 15-17 but Tendring could find a way to close the 2 point game and Cardiff done just enough to win the set 25-22. In the fourth set Tendring had no response, every situation they tried to create ended with an error or Cardiff uped their game at just the right time. Cardiff maintained their performance and won the set and game 25-15.

Captain Stuart Dove said “We have great individuals in the team but we need more time to gel as a group, once this happens it will be exciting times for the team.” Head Coach Alex Porter backed this up “Credit were credit is due, Cardiff played well today and we didn’t get anywhere near our potential. We have so much talent in the group, it will take a little time for us to bond but when we do, look out! ”

Tendring face Warwick Riga on Saturday 15th October in the National Cup 3rd round.