Young Ashcombe Dorking 2 fall short in 5 against Cardiff Celts
Ashcombe Dorking 2, Ashcombe Volleyball Club’s second team hosted their first home fixture in National Volleyball League Division 3 South and although leaving empty handed their was plenty to learn for the young team.
In their first match against Cardiff Celts an Ashcombe team that were otherwise made up of players who were all Under 18 were bolstered by Ashcombe Veteran and Former England Captain Freda Bussey making her return to National League Volleyball. Cardiff began strongly cleverly using the court space to hit into the spaces behind the Ashcombe defence. The Celts soon took a 16-8 lead following some unforced errors from Ashcombe. Issie Russell, playing her first game since her recent England training callup soon wrestled some initiative through strong serving. Lydia Goodwin also showed her class when hitting by putting Cardiff onto the back foot. The well organised Cardiff team soon closed out the set 25-20.
Ashcombe were dented by a calf injury to Bussey, meaning Lydia Goodwin had to step up to the setting position. Showing their much greater experience at this level, Cardiff put up a strong serve to take an 11-3 lead. Ashcombe’s Ailsa McDonald served deep and long to ask questions of the Cardiff defence. Ashcombe then stuttered to gain any rhythm and despite Freya McDonald’s valiant efforts in back court they lost the set 25-9.
Strong words from Coach Gordon Scott gave Ashcombe the kick start to find form. Freya McDonald was particularly fired up and her powerful outside hitting took Ashcombe to an 8-5 lead. Cardiff refused to go quietly and clawed their way back to 12 points apiece. Lydia Goodwin then took control to serve Ashcombe home 25-19.
The fourth set began the way the third ended with Goodwin once again providing a tough serve to take Ashcombe 4-0 ahead. Some wayward hitting from both sides led to the sides levelling at 7 all. Nerves continued on both sides and the set progressed to 11 all. Goodwin again pulled out an ace of serve which was soon backed up by quality blocking from Issie Russell. A monster hit from back court from Asia Perkins led to Ashcombe taking the set 25-21. This led to a the match moving into a deciding 5th set.
Cardiff came out in strong form putting their strongest server up first to blast the Celts into an unmatched 8-0 lead. Ashcombe found some form through Ailsa and Freya McDonald but couldn’t match the experienced welsh outfit to lose the set 15-6 and with it the match.
Ashcombe Coach Gordon Scott was frustrated to have come so close but recognised that his young team had lots to learn in order to progress at National League level and had at times been their own worst enemies by missing serve.