The City Boys head South

Saturday 1st December  2012
The Schelde Sports National League

South Ayrshire  V  City of Glasgow Ragazzi

Heading South……….

The current league positions of the two teams involved in this Division I encounter would suggest that the match would be tight and scrappy affair – it was neither.  Both teams nearer the bottom than the top of the table, both teams seemingly struggling to find a win….it should have been close, but in fact the match was an emphatic win for the visitors, who almost gave a clinic on power play.

South Ayrshire are a young side, and on the day they had several players who delivered strong performances, but they could not cope with the tactical cleverness of Ragazzi setter Steve Todd, or the sheer power of ex GB internationalists Ally Galloway.

Set one started with Steve Todd thundering a tough, tough serve at the South passing unit, and he simply did not let up.  At 6 – 5 for the visitors the home side thought they were ‘in it’,  at 17 – 8 they were struggling to keep pace with the speed, power and variety of the City Boys attack,  At 24 – 12 they tried to hold onto their team spirit, and at 25 – 14 it was done.

The only instruction to our team at the change of end huddle was ‘Do it again!’

We did.  South stepped up their game.  They served tougher, they targeted the serve more trying to find an imbalance, but any ‘small holes’ they created with their serve were closed by Steve Todd.  At 9 – 7 up the South Team were working to their maximum capacity, there’s not much more that Coach Iain Parker could have asked for,  They were tough, they were determined, they were competing, and we had another gear we could go to.  We stepped up the precision of the passing, we focused on the timing of the moves, we recorded the Dig-Set-Kill sequence for four consecutive side out plays, and the score was 20 – 12.  Two terrific power hits from Galloway, a crucial block from Fraser Strachan, and a thundering B quick from Calum Johnson and the score was 24 – 15.  Set done!….well not quite.   Nick Hardy stepped up the base line and served four good jump serves in a row.  I think we were waiting for him to make a mistake, or lose interest, or something – Nick didn’t do any of these things, he stayed focused and challenged our team to finish the set.  We did….eventually….it finished 25 – 20.

As we changed ends there was some finger pointing amongst the players.  The win was important to us, so was the performance, and the points we had surrendered at the end of the second set wasn’t the script we were supposed to be following…….so we set about improving.  We re-established our intent and purpose, and at 15 – 8 up the set was progressing well.  At 15 – 8 up Steve Todd went back to serve……bombs…he served howitzers…..he served tactically……..he served with purpose……..he was supported by the three blocks we recorded……..he smashed their passing unit with 3 aces……..he served 10 consecutive points and the score was 25 – 8…..Game done.

The scoreline didn’t flatter our team.  We were excellent and posed South Ayrshire several problems to which they simply did not have answers.  But the scoreline does not reflect their desire, their enthusiasm, their willingness to scrap for points, or the way they tried to hang on in the face of the onslaught from Galloway and Co.

We were a complete unit this day.  We recorded a 65% frequency for the D-S-K  sequence…..that’s exceptional!  Ally G had a plus 75% figure for spiking kill, Cammy Galloway thrived in his role as libero and recorded a passing score of 2.5, Fraser S scored 4 kill blocks…..the numbers are all in our favour and back up the claim that this was a match in which we played really really well……..

As good as it was for us, it was a tough day for South Ayrshire.  We played them in three matches, and for the first time this season we recorded three wins on the same day.  That’s an achievement.  That’s something to celebrate.  That’s a reward for all of the efforts in the practise gym…….well done Su Ragazzi, and commiserations to South.