The Meteorites ended their 2017-18 league campaign with a 25-12 25-17 25-23 defeat at Royal Wootton Bassett. Against a team comprised only of men (and as Richard pointed out their smallest player was almost as tall as our tallest player) it was always going to be a tough match. Things did not start well as Bassett raced into a 10-1 lead before we called a time-out. After that the Meteorites played to their strengths and produced a very good performance from which they can consider themselves unlucky to not win the third set. Harriet Adams was the MVP having produced some ferocious hitting in the second and third sets.
It means that Meteorites end the season bottom of division 1 but having produced some fantastic performances in the second half of the season.
The Meteorites have not had the best of seasons but despite losing the final match of the season to Wootton Bassett Aces. The Aces went in to the match in second place looking for promotion to the premier division and might have expected the bottom-of-the-table Meteorites to be a push over. However the Meteorites were fielding as strong a team as they have all season with Neil playing as setter, Ben as opposite, Marketa and Matt in the middle and Kat and Anji in the outside positions.
The Meteorites started well racing into a 6-1 lead in the first set leaving the Aces in doubt that they had some work to do. Unfortunately the Meteorites could not keep the momentum going against the serving of experienced Irwin Aiken (with our setter at position six) losing six points in succession and eventually losing the set 25-15. In the second set the Meteorites were once again fighting for every point up leading until we got to that troublesome rotation with the setter at position 6, although they kept in touch until the score was 12-13 down when before the Aces scored four successive points and were able to maintain that lead to win the second set 25-17. Again in the third set the Meteorites managed to build a lead this time getting to 10-4 mainly thanks to some big serving from Matt and let the lead slip until taking a time-out at 13:19 down before battling back when Matt served again to lead 22-21. Three set points were lost before the Meteorites eventually lost the final set 28-26 but with a lot of honour gained. Marketa was nominated as the Meteorites’ MVP but it could easily have been any one of the six players who had battled so well.
Although the Meteorites lost to Olympiad B it was their youngsters who caught the eye when the starting six for the third set was Harriet, Ben, Toby, Chessie, Anji and the most senior David. Not only were they young but physically much shorter than the players at Olympiad’s disposal. However they were not short on skill and pushed Olympiad all the way as they kept the ball flying and causing mayhem as they started to find gaps in Olympiad’s own defences. MVP was Harriet while Neil and Marketa were the remaining players.
Weekday evening matches can sometimes be tricky as it is often the case that some players are unavailable due to work commitments. For the trip to Lavington School to face Devizes Barrels, the Comets had to start the match without a regular middle player, as Andy Smith was unavailable and Jörg Steimer was delayed. Despite these problems the Comets were never troubled by the Barrels and won 25-10 25-16 25-12 with captain Matt Morten voted MVP.
Despite losing to Salisbury Druids, the Comets still top the league having played more matches than their rivals, although unbeaten Druids appear to have lost some points for administrative reasons as they are eight points behind Comets with only one match in hand.
Devizes 6X ended the Comets unbeaten start to the season on Sunday.
With Dan unavailable, Matt switched back to playing opposite with Steve and Irénée outside and Andy and Jörg through the middle [it almost goes without saying that Cliff was setting] initially. The Comets started well and were point-for-point with 6X (who had two new players from last season) up to 7-7 when 6X edged three points ahead. The Comets managed to stay in touch until 14-16 before 6X closed out the set 25-18.
In the second set with Fred on for Steve, it was a similar start with the Comets matching 6X to 8 all before the 6X captain Steve Grimes built a eight point lead with his serve. However the Comets gradually reduced the deficit to level the set at 22-22 but after a time-out 6X dominated the remaining points to win the set 25-23.
With the match lost, Comets made several changes for the third set with Fred moving to opposite and Steve and Neil playing outside but the momentum was with 6X who completed the evening by winning the final set 25-15.
In their final match before the Christmas break the Comets MVP was Jörg.
The Comets remain undefeated this season after they recovered from losing the first set to Swinton Engineers to win by two sets to one.
The venue for the match had been switched to the Supergym at the Tidworth garrison due to a boxing match taking place at the Swinton barracks.
It was the Engineers who came out fighting while the Comets looked to be on the ropes struggling to attack and allowing the Engineers to control the play. It was not until the Engineers had reached set point before the Comets started to find any rhythm and reach 23 points before losing the set. This gave Comets some momentum and they started the second set better, although they did allow Engineers to get back into the set before the Comets closed the set out to 21. Finally in the third set the Comets started landing their punches and raced through the final set to win it 25-11 and therefore remain undefeated this season.
With Andy Smith injured, Matt Morten had switched to the middle and was nominated as MVP. The rest of the team was Jorg, Cliff, Neil, Dan, Irenee and Steve.
Both teams started their league campaign with an autumn trip to Salisbury with mixed success.
The Meteorites played first against the Warlocks. An early season trip to Salisbury on a Sunday afternoon had meant that many players were unavailable. Thus the team that stepped on to court included two juniors making their debuts, namely Ben Ball and Harriet Bentley playing outside and setter respectively. Clearly the Warlocks had also had team availability issues but had solved the problem in a different way, as they had included John Postance in their team. Not surprising then that while the Meteorites played attractive volleyball, they were outgunned by the Warlocks losing 25-12 25-13 25-16. In addition to the two juniors, the remaining players were Anji (playing outside), Neil (middle), Serena (setter) and Kat (middle).
The Comets had fewer issues with team selection and had six familiar faces starting for their match against the Druids, who had three players who had just played for the Warlocks starting for them. Only Irenee was missing following his injury in the pre-season tournament. Unusually when visiting Salisbury the Comets started with a high tempo and put the Druids straight on to the back foot while cruising through the first set. The second set was much closer although the Comets were always ahead and were finally able to take the third set as well to come ahead with all the points. The team was Matt Morten (outside), Andy Smith (middle), Jorg (middle), Cliff (setter), Steve (outside) and Dan (opposite) with Neil providing unneeded injury cover.
The local volleyball club for Calne and the surrounding area of Wiltshire