VE U16 Grand Prix Round 2

Sunday 5 February 2023 11:00

Volleyball England’s U16 Girls Grand Prix Tier 1, Round 2

Teams: Wirral, Leeds Gorse, Nottingham Rockets

Venue: Ruth Gorse Academy, Black Bull Street, Leeds. 

Team: Katie Leppington (captain), Eisha Chahal, Helena Hinch, Yan Xi Chen, Imi Newall, Abi Larway, Lily Prosser, Kaitin Ha, Libby Canham

A terrific event, 3 well-matched teams, three close and exciting matches. The three teams won one match each but our girls came out on top by virtue of winning their match against Rockets 2-0 while the two remaining games ended 2 sets to 1, so Wirral won by losing the fewest sets.

Match 1: Wirral vs Nottingham Rockets - Wirral won 2-0, 25-22, 25-22

Match 2: Wirral vs Leeds Gorse - Wirral lost 1-2, 19-25, 25-12, 5-15

Match 3: Nottingham Rockets vs Leeds Gorse - Rockets won 2-1, 25-21, 22-25, 15-13

This result gives Wirral 8 Grand Prix series points, Leeds 6 and Rockets 4.

The scores in both sets in the opening match against Rockets were close into the teens but our girls were able to pull away near the end for a two-nil win. Leeds were a different proposition and it took our girls a little while to cope with their mixture of stronger and weaker players and we lost the first set to 19, having been at one stage 5-12 down. However we started the second set well, got a decent lead and never looked back, taking the set 25-12. At that stage we looked set to win both matches (and the competition) but in the third set one of their strongest players put in a really strong run of serves, and where in the earlier sets she’d hit two winners followed by service error, here she just kept banging them in. We couldn’t get the ball back and lost 5-15. Oh well - not too bad overall.

Then the unexpected happened in match 3, and Rockets won 2-1 against Leeds, leaving Wirral as tournament winners, haviung lost fewer sets than either of our opponents.

It was a good day, the atmosphere was good, everyone got a lot of court time, the players came off hoarse from all the cheering, and the unexpected win was the icing on the cake.

The 8 championship points we won yesterday should get us promoted to one of the silver pools for Round 3 on the weekend of March 11/12 so we wait to see who we draw as opponents and where we’ll need to travel.