It’s been a successful Day 2 for both teams today in a soggy Antwerp and we are happy that we are playing indoors. The rain is falling but our hours have been full of activity fighting for positions in the B grade competition and keeping our winning streak on board!
FZ Kinaree have dominated their pool without dropping a set in the entire round robin tournament. Their games today were fairly executed with steady poise and even some creative setting by Yuthakarn Chakping who delicately places himself around the court into almost yogic positions to execute sets for his team-mates.
They have swept aside the opposition and will no doubt be progressing through to the B+ section of the tournament. Tommy Yap suggesting that they are ready for the challenge that lays ahead as the competition will surely get tougher from here in. our local German import Gee has been keeping an eye on the team and taking breaks when necessary, knowing that they are going to have to lift and be ready for the higher level of competition to come.
They will be steadying themselves with vigour, armed in no small part by their tour chef, Jo Wongpitax who has been slaving away in the kitchen so that when the Kinnaree boys turn up with pots laden with noodles, fried chicken and vegetables, everyone is envious of the in house catering. I think the only thing missing is the rice cooker!
We look forward to them capitalising on their winning streak as the competition turns into the finals and eliminations.
FZ Phoenix weren’t so fortunate having their ‘tough’ day of matches today and dropping out in 2 separate matches. Initially to the Melbourne Spikers who enjoyed a dominant 2-0 victory this morning. The big hands of George and David were too impressive to get past for our hitters although we did gave some good hits from the front court with Adam Ferret and Dion Hastie working some good attacking plays. There was even the cry from the other side of the court to ‘block Celine’ so they knew who was the danger!
Phoenix’s 2nd game was a much tighter affair with the Dusseldorf Ballstars. This was a particularly anticipated match for ‘Flamingo Furness’, having played some of these players in the Cologne Gay Games in 2010. They were the opponents in the Studs final of 5th/6th in the B grade in 2010 and I knew we were in for some hard hitting from the outside.
They took the lead early on us as their middle hitters were enjoying some easy passing spikes, but Phoenix rallied and we charged from the rear, steadying the gap to within 5 points towards the end of the set only to go down 25/18.
In the 2nd we changed the rotation around and worked into some amazing blocking though the middle. We stopped letting balls drop on the floor and amped up our back line which proved fruitful as we ran away to a small lead that we maintained until the end set, flummoxing their hitters into erratic shots and making them (and us) work for every point.
The final set was a tight affair but once again Phoenix came from behind, level pegging each other at 8/9, 9/9, 10/11, 12/11 and trying desperately to keep calm during some interesting line calls and even more interesting score keeping from our Russian judges. Mama Julias kept on top of them ensuring we stayed in our true positions. Eventually we held on to take the set and the match 15/12.
Our last match was against the Amsterdam team who were more senior than us and a lot taller. Again, we were behind in the opening set with some easy errors and serving, but rallied to peg back the lead to an almost even keel at 23/24. However, the last ball wasn’t ours and we went down but were warmed by the comeback. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep the momentum going, indeed, we never really got going in the 2nd set going down in frustrating velocity 25/10.
So we are moving into the final rounds tomorrow and both teams may end up in B grade which will be a great result as we weren’t entirely sure which division to enter into when we were deciding on our entries. The format will allow us to play in a division that is both challenging as well as enjoyable.
We have been having a wonderful time playing against the other teams and making some new friends, even outside of our grade or pool. Bram and Geert have been fantastic in keeping us all informed and the feeling amongst the courts is warm and engaging with lots of friendly banter and play, even across the net! There are plenty of photos to share, some not appropriate for publication here so you may just have to ask us for a viewing when we come back.
Wish us luck tomorrow and we will keep you up to date, or you can check out the results as they happen with the WOGA Volley crew publishing them online immediately as they are received. www.WOGA2013volley.org