Ballymoney Blaze Mens Seconds looked to continue their table topping ways as they hosted a young Craigavon Aztecs side looking to bounce back from their opening day defeat to Bangor Sharks.
Unfortunately for Blaze they were unable to field an unchanged side, however this meant league debuts for Andrew Ko and Ross Fallows, while the experience of Ian Walker was welcomed back into the line up.
The game started well with the young opposition looking dazed as Blaze rushed away with the first set 25-12 thanks to some big hits from Walker and Park.
In the second, Blaze showed their class as McKelvey and Henry dismantled the Aztec defence without difficulty thanks to some excellent passing from Peter Smith. Aztecs did fight back in the middle of the set, however the experience of Walker and setter McClenaghan allowed Blaze to vary the attacks and regain the control. Blaze claimed the set 25-17.
In the third Blaze introduced Ko and Fallows for their first taste of action in a Blaze shirt. Unfortunately, and through no fault of theirs, this coincided with a new found determination from the Aztecs side who by now had nothing to lose and came out fighting. Despite all the efforts of the Blaze team, Aztecs claimed the set 25-18. The fourth set was almost a carbon copy with Blaze letting their heads go down and losing long runs of points at a time, this time losing 25-17.
This set up a nail biting finale as both teams battled to be the first to 15 to claim the match. Blaze started poorly and had to battle their way back from 5-1 behind, getting themselves back to 7-8 at the switch of sides thanks to some great hitting in the middle from Jack Horsburgh. It remained nip and tuck throughout with both teams picking up some great passes and attacks.
In the end, Blaze proved that they wanted the win more as they claimed victory 23-21.
BLAZE WOMEN’S FIRSTS
Blaze Woman’s Firsts played Aztec warriors and came home with a well deserved win of 3 sets to 0. The 1st set saw some tricky serves from the Blaze team with Zara Bolton responsible for most of them, the team came off court with a positive win of 4-25. Again the women took the second set with an easy score of 4-25, Rhian McCarroll on outside hitting excellent front and back court balls which proved difficult to return. Blaze finally came into the third set when Aztecs picked up their game but with again superb serving and some excellent blocks thanks to Ellen Yates blaze came away with a win of 8-25.
The woman were victorious showing great team work, refusing to drop their standards keeping a consistent play throughout.