Ashcombe Dorking 0 Team Northumbria 3


National Volleyball League Super 8 Division Women’s
Sun 17 November
Ashcombe Dorking vs Team Northumbria
Team Northumbria won 3 – 0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-10)

Off the court it was a day of celebration, as the Ashcombe Club paid tribute to Freda Bussey who is shortly to go to Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE for services to Volleyball. The Chairman of the Dorking Council, Councillor David Sharland, attended the match and post-event reception as a show of support from the Council. Both he and his wife enjoyed their volleyball experience and congratulated Freda on her magnificent achievement. Further tributes were paid by Freda’s husband Colin, by Audrey Cooper, Team GB volleyball coach and by the Ashcombe Super 8 captain and Club Chairperson, Carol Fogarty.

On the court things were tough as sickness deprived the Ashcombe team of two first-choice players in Mia Lowney and Monica Gmuca, whilst ongoing international transfer issues resulted in Ashcombe’s Hungarian star, Agnes Abraham, not being able to play. In addition to this, Libero Hannah Robinson, whilst making rapid recovery from a shoulder injury, was still unfit to play.

Team Northumbria came into the match on the back of a win against Wessex Rocare to top the league whilst Ashcombe foot the table with their solitary point. Northumbria featured 3 London 2012 Olympians in their starting line up with Captain Lynne Beattie, Lizzie Reid and Libero Maria Bertelli joining Great Britain coach Audrey Cooper in facing the Dorking Side.

Ashcombe started brightly keeping pace with their more fancied opponents and went in to the first time out trailing 8 – 6. Team Northumbria showed their class with four excellent hitters who soon started to find their range and power as the set started to slip away from the Dorking team, with the score racing to 16 – 7 to the Northerners. Despite excellent defence from Captain Carol Fogarty and the ever-dependable Evelin Potocnic, the set closed at 25-10.

Team Northumbria stepped up a gear at the start of the second set to lead 6 – 0 before the experienced Michelle Conway managed to steady the Ashcombe nerves and get a couple of points. A strategic time out brought the promising Ashcombe youngster, Rachel Higgins,on to the court in her Super8 League Debut, a move which Team Northumbria tried to exploit by serving a fast and dipping serve straight at her. A superb return from Rachel thwarted this game plan as Kim Kieselbach took over the serving for Ashcombe and took them to a time out at 9 – 16. Ashcombe blockers Nicky Schmidt, Kim Kieselbach and Claire Greenwood were impressive but the Team Northumbria front line were simply too strong again and took the set 25 – 13.

Sensing a victory, Team Northumbria upped the pace again, with their ferocious hitting unit and their well-organised defence complimenting each other perfectly. Try as they might, the Ashcombe team were simply out-classed in a clinical third set of volleyball. A final tally of 10 points for Ashcombe was mightily impressive and, as disappointing as the loss was for the Ashcombe team, their depleted team scored more points against this quality pposition than other league teams had achieved.

Ashcombe Super 8 Manager, Robin Martin, praised the efforts of Rachel in her first game and complimented the grit and determination which the team showed throughout the contest. Robin explained that the match result was perhaps somewhat expected but that the day belonged to Freda Bussey, whose effervescence, commitment and passion has driven the club forward and has laid the firmest of foundations upon which it can now build for the future.

Next Weekend Ashcombe travel away to East London to take on Swiss Cottage in an eagerly anticipated contest.

Ashcombe – M Conway, N Schmidt, C Greenwood, C Fogarty (Capt), C Thomas, D Mumby, R Higgins, B Mamman, K Rossi, E Potocnik, K Kieselbach