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Rockets U16s - National Runners Up!

posted 3 May 2012, 06:49 by Web Admin

Nottingham Rockets Juniors have had a fantastic Journey this year in the National Junior Championships. They have been battling it out against all the top Junior club sides in the country and have made excellent progress this year.
Nottingham Rockets Volleyball Club entered their outstanding Juniors into both the U16’s and the U18’s National Championships this year and they have both had outstanding success. Both teams battled their way through a total of 70+ sides to make their way through to the Last 8’s of the competition which is held at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering.
This was the first time that the U16’s had made their way through to the last 8 so it was a new experience for them all. It was the U18’s who played first and playing excellent Volleyball they made their way through to the semi-final. This was unfortunately where their journey ended as they came up against the favourites Newcastle Staffs and couldn’t quite pull off the shock result.   
The U16’s played on the Sunday and made a slow start losing to Boswells in their first game but then rallied well and improved throughout the tournament to win the rest of their games to take their place in the semi final. Coming second in their pool meant they would play against winners of the other pool Wessex in the semi final who were favourites for the title. Playing in-front of a large crowd inspired the Boys and in an amazing game, all of the team played at the top of their abilities to beat Wessex by 2 sets to nil 25 - 20,  25 - 17 to book their place in the final.
Last weekend was the Final of both competitions and Rockets made there way down to Kettering again for the U16’s Final against Boswells. In a tremendous match the young Rockets team played their hearts out but it was not quite enough for victory.
There was a sell out crowd at Kettering with 100’s of people there to cheer on the team and live streaming of the final was shown by Volleyball England to thousands of Volleyball fans across the country.
Not surprisingly then it was Boswells, who had been to the finals a number of times who made the more accomplished start. Rockets struggled to come to terms with the surroundings and the Boswells Team and got behind in the first set early on. Rockets fought back with some fantastic pick ups with Ben tomlinson making an extreme recovery and then getting up to Spike the ball for a winner. At the half way point in the set were just behind 11:13 with Ieuan Lamb and Adam Lagerberg both winning some crucial points. From then though it was Boswells who made their attacks count with Houlihan and King scoring well and their Block was giving them success. Rockets were always on the back foot defending hard for every point but not quite having enough success at the net and they lost the first set 25:18.
The second set started better for Rockets and they stormed to 5:2 Lead. Unfortunately this momentum was halted when the Boswells team made a rotation error and the game was halted for several minutes until the referees could determine the right line ups. This really effected Rockets and their defence which had started so well began to creak under the extreme pressure of the serves and hard attacks and Boswells improved again to pull away in the set to take it 25:15.
It was now or never for Rockets and a little tinkering with their line up seemed to work as they improved to put pressure back on Boswells. Rockets took an 8:7 lead into the first time out. Boswells fought back in the third set to lead 16:15 at the final technical time out. Unfortunately this was as close as Rockets could get and Boswells yet again pwered their way through to the end of the set dominating the net exchanges and winning points straight from the serve with receiving errors for rockets proving costly. This meant that Rockets lost the set 25:18 and the game 3 sets to 0.
Despite not quite hitting their best form on the day the Nottingham Boys should be very proud of their silver medals which is truly a fantastic achievement. The first time that any Junior team from Nottingham have made it through to a National Volleyball Final. Congratulations to everyone for such a fantastic effort.
The Rockets U16's Squad
Head Coach: Paul Lamb
Assistant Coach: Howard Tomlinson
Ieuan Lamb (Cap), Sam Reid (Libero), Ben Tomlinson, Adam Wake, Alex Tomlinson, Alex Hutchinson, George Smith, Adam Lagerberg