A Game of Two Halves

Saturday 2nd March 2013

Su Ragazzi  V  City of Edinburgh

A game of two halves……

First half?  First two sets?……we chased their tails.  They powered out of the blocks and dominated the game right from ‘the off’  It was hugely frustrating.  It wasn’t what we had planned at all.  It wasn’t the script.  And we had no-one to blame but ourselves.

We knew what we had to do, we just didn’t do it.  Their outside spikers showed up, ours didn’t.  Jen Thom and Mel Coutts hit with a clever mixture of speed, power and winning tactics, meanwhile our outside hitters dithered.

We knew we needed to compete, and we didn’t.  Our passing was fine, the return of Laura McReady added a whole level of quality to that part of our game, and Emma Clarkson set well enough, there was just no ‘oomph’ from our spikers.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Edinburgh capitalised on this and ran away with the first two sets.

At half time there wasn’t the usual 15 minute football break ….. we didn’t have time for a cup of tea and a slice of orange, and there was no ‘hairdryer’ treatment to galvanise the troops, there  was just the usual three minutes for the change of ends and a realisation that we had to do something or we were lost….so we did.  Kirsty McLean finally showed up and battered the Edinburgh defence to bits.  Jillian Galloway hit smart and scored points, and Elise Rodgers demonstrated that when she is focused she has the tools to be an outstanding hitter.

The transformation in our performance rattled Edinburgh. We added some tough serving to the  plot, we added some scoring blocks, Carly McKinlay and Laura McKernan linked extremely well with Priya Gill who had replaced Emma in the setting slot.  Suddenly everything was going to plan,  and we established and maintained a winning lead in set three.

Set four was the performance that both teams had hoped for before the match.  Nick Moody had regrouped his team, they re-established their intent, we matched them, the game was a ding-dong series of great plays, and energy draining rallies.  Set four could easily have gone either way, neither team dominated, but they established and held onto a slender lead to win the set 25-23 and the match 3 – 1.

Standing talking to the girls after the match the only question was who were the impostors who wore our uniforms in the first two sets?  The first half performance was really tough to take, and the second half performance was so very effective and enjoyable ……A game of two halves indeed.