U16 Girls Grand Prix Round 3

Sunday, 27 March 2022 12:00

The 3rd (final) round of VE U16 Girls Grand Prix (Tier 2)

Venue : Woodchurch High School

Six teams involved: Wirral, Newcastle Staffs A&B, Black Country A&B, Nottingham Rockets.

Wirral team: Verity Wilcox (cap), Lily Hogan, Kate Thomas, Nicole Uzonwanne, Ellie Stocker , Katie Leppington, Eisha Chahal

Wirral finished in 2nd place, tied on sets won with Newcastle Staffs A but 12 points worse off on points difference.

Our girls started well with a comfortable win against Nottingham Rockets and strong perfomance against Staffs A when the team really dominanted the second set, leading 18-8 at one point, but we couldn’t find the same level of control against an ‘ordinary’ Black Country C team, aand struggled to a 30-28 win in the first set before subsiding to an 18-25 defeat in the second. That match was dogged by poor and inconsistent serving, a problem that nearly got us into trouble against a very weak Staffs B side that pushed us to a scraped 27-25 win in the second set after an easy 25-11 win in the first. 

Still, we were leading on points and only had to beat Black Country B to seal a win in this competition. The first set went according to plan 25-8 but then we couldn’t get going in the second. Service errors were again a big problem but even going into the final stages Wirral looked most likely to win until we threw the game away with a string of unforced errors on critical points.

So, even though we’d beaten them 2-0, Newcastle Staffs’ greater consistency in winning all their other games 2-0 put them level with us on sets won but, crucially ahead on points difference to give them first place in the competition.

In some ways it’s hard to take because Wirral, on-song, were clearly the best team, and have made a huge leap forward in the last few weeks, but we didn’t have Staffs A’s consistency. There were some excellent games with some great rallies, our girls scambled and recovered brilliantly at times and Lily showed how good a blocker she can be for the first time, but it wasn’t quite enough….