Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games Results

Sainsbury's 2013 School Games

The four Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games medal matches concluded a fantastic showcase of junior talent from across Great Britain.  England South emerged as the overall winner, having won Gold in both the Girls and Boys tournaments.

 

Girls’ Gold medal match: England South v England North (25-14, 25-23)

England South were the favorites going in to the Finals, having not lost a set the whole tournament and also beating England North in the pool phase (25-21, 25-18).  They managed to keep their clean sheet for the entire tournament, winning the Gold Medal in two clean sets.

Milly Smith from England South took the first serve.  South then scored the first point when a hit from England North went out.  England South took an early lead of 8-1, helped by Paige Fullerton’s strong serves.  Due to the pressure, England North made uncharacteristic mistakes when returning.  A fantastic crosscourt shot through 4 by Anaya Evans and a huge impermeable block by Grace Lazard took England South to 12-2.  England North scored a deserved point through a tip by Sarah Van Essen (Captain) which was intercepted but not returned by England South.  A well placed back-court volley from England South’s Lois Chitticks (Captain) took them to a 13-3 lead.  England South’s winning streak was broken when they lost the serve and then were unable to return a dominant serve from Eleanor James.  However, a powerful crosscourt hit by Anaya Evans got England South back on track.  England North did start creeping back into the game when a well placed serve from Katie Gregson took them to 22-12.  Once on 24 points thanks to a fantastically located shot from Grace Lazard, England South were primed ready to win set point.  However, the pressure of set point caused them to serve out so England North had another chance to continue the set.  However in the end the England South won the first set 25-14 with a really dominant hit through two by Paige Fullerton.

England North took the first point of the second set when England South hit out.  They then took a 5-1 lead, in part due to unforced errors by South and an ace from Ruth Holland.  Libero, Hannah Bancroft was working hard the whole time, receiving and passing with accuracy.  Also Sarah Van Essen (Captain) made several strong blocks.  Anaya Evans was outstanding in the match – she had clearly been saving an extra gear for the Finals – her hitting took England South up to 3-8.  An ace from Grace Lazard continued England South’s drive back into the game and super chasing from Ellie Cranch allowed England South to maintain their rallies.  Their rise was also supported by great setting from Lois Chitticks (Captain).  A mistake in return gave England North’s Sarah Van Essen (Captain) chance to serve an ace to give England North a 10-8 lead.  Double blocking from England South’s Paige Fullerton and Milly Smith made sure than England North didn’t walk away with the set.  The pressure started affecting the girls with service mistakes made on both sides of the net to take the score to 17-15 to England North.  Anaya Evans did a pick up, hit and tip to finally win a point to equalize 17-17.  England South then edged ahead due to England North hitting out.  England North were unable to return two of Grace Lazard serves to take the score to 21-18 to England South.  A crosscourt hit through 2 by Alice Kenyon gained England North a point.  England South were really on form and reacted with ease to England North’s well placed shots to take them to 22-20.  Another crosscourt hit from Alice Kenyon, this time through 6, helped them equalize at 22-22.  A hit from Milly Smith went off England North’s block to take the Southern girls to match point at 24-22.  After their serve went long, a powerful middle hit from Paige Fullerton won the Gold medal match for England South Girls.

Captain, Lois Chitticks, said she knew it was going to be a hard game but was obviously really pleased with how her team did.  In terms of what is next for her, she is “spending the season with Wessex and seeing where that goes.”  Coach, Stuart Fullerton, felt that “we deserved the win.”
Girls’ Bronze medal match: Scotland West & South v England Central (25-18, 24-26, 15-10)

Scotland West & South comfortably won the first set.  Mhairi Agnew again lived up to her reputation as ‘one to watch’ and after earning the team several points through blocks, hits and serves, won match point through a well timed tip.  England Central upped their game and the second set was a lot closer.  An ace from Sarah Edwards won England Central the set.  In the deciding set the Scottish team got off to an early lead and a huge block from Mhairi Agnew won them set, match and the Bronze medal!
Boys’ Gold medal match: England South v England North (21-25, 29-27, 15-12)

Sam Allen took the first serve for England South.  England North won the first point and Adam Lagerberg did a super hit through 2 to take the score to 2-0.  There was plenty of really high passing and setting by both sides to allow some fantastic hits.  Leon Chambers hit such a powerful well placed spike that England North had little chance of defending it.  England North’s Richard James (Captain) played a good crosscourt hit through 2.  There was a nice hit to the corner from Donnique Mabena to allow England South to equalize at 5-5.  Due to the energy of the players, several serves from both team went over back line.  However a serve from England South’s Leon Chambers couldn’t be returned taking them to an 8-6 lead at the first Technical Time Out.  England North then took the lead to 17-14 thanks to a huge block from Ieuan Lamb and Richard James’ fantastic dive and crosscourt hit through 2.  A hit from Cameron Carrington closed the gap.  Continued good work by England North’s libero, Jack Nurdin, allowed them to maintain a two point lead to 20-18.  A block by England North’s Alex Hutchinson helped take the score to 23-19.  A massive block from Ieuan Lamb took them to their first set point attempt (24-19). Two set point were saved by England South but a mistake at the net gave England North the set point at 25-21.

In the second set Leon Chambers from England South hit the first point.  An incredible block by Nathan Fullerton helped the team take a 3-2 lead – his arms extended nearly a foot above the net.  A second block by Nathan Fullerton helps them take a 6-2 lead.  Great work by their libero Harry Jones, good defending by Cameron Carrington and a well placed gentle volley from Leon Chambers helped take England South to a 8-6 lead.  A tip from Alex Hutchinson assisted England North, but other than this there was so much strong defensive play that it was predominantly attacking mistakes that allowed the opposition to gain points.  England North equalised at 18-18.  An unstoppable hit by Leon Chambers allowed England South a 21-20 lead but England North quickly equalised.  Both teams edged forward matched point for point to 23-23.  A hit through 6 by Leon Chambers prepares England South up for an attempt at set point.  However a service error by England South takes England North 24 points too.  Leon Chambers’ gigantic hit takes the score to 25-24 at set point attempt two for England South but again England North’s block allows them to equalise.  It was going to be match point to England North but a block from Nathan Fullerton prevented this.  A service error from England South gave England North match point attempt two but they were unable to score.  A tip by England South gives them much needed set point to win the 29-27.

In the third deciding set England North take early lead of 2-0.  A hit from Leon Chambers helps England South them close the gap – they then manage to equalise at 4-4.  A fantastic crosscourt hit through 2 by England North’s Ben Tomlinson allowed them a 5-4 lead.  England South were then in the lead, 8-7, at change of ends.  However, the teams equalised at 9-9 and again at 11-11.  England South scored a point and then an incredible hit from Leon Chambers (probably the most powerful seen from him the whole tournament) took England South to 13-12.  A net touch by England South closed the gap to 13-12 then a mistake by England North gives England South a chance at match point.  A hit by Cameron Carrington won the match for England South.

Coach Alex Porter felt that it often took three sets for his team to win matches in the School Games because “they lower their standard of play to that of the opposition to begin with, then when they raise their standard the game comes together.”  His experience representing GB and being a professional helps him to “deal with high pressure situations and get the best out of players – knowing the different player types means you can bring them together as a unit.”
Boys’ Bronze Medal Match: Scotland West & South v England Central (25-21, 25-11)

In the first set the teams were quite level with a maximum of four points between them.  They equalised at 21-21.  England Central then managed to take the next three points and a handling error by Scotland West & South gave them set point.  In the second set England Central took the lead from the start.  This was in part enabled by well controlled blocks by Robert Poole and strong hitting from Ryan Poole and Mahlon King.  Ryan Poole gained match point for his team with a huge hit through four.
Sportset Super Six

This award was kindly sponsored by Sportset (www.sportset.com) and recognises the strongest and most valued players in the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games.

Girls:

  • Mhairi Agnew
  • Holly Brennan
  • Grace Lazard
  • Chloe Rutherford
  • Anaya Evans
  • Hannah Bancroft

Boys:

  • Ieuan Lamb
  • Scott Wilson
  • Nathan Fullerton
  • Robert Poole
  • Richard James
  • Marc McLaughlin

Congratulations to all players who were selected to compete in the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games, but particularly the medallists and the Sportset Super Six.  Ben Pipes, GB Men’s Captain, felt that the “level of play is much higher than when I was a junior, so the future looks really high for these guys.”

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