Marshalls Park boys serve a volleyball medal on borough duty at London Youth Games
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 March 2018
Marshalls Park Academy’s boys served up a bronze medal for Havering at the London Youth Games volleyball finals.
But there was heartache for the girls’ team, who just missed out on a podium place after finishing fourth in their competition.
Havering had placed 23rd last year and the boys were confident of making an improvement, but a nervous start was punished by Lambeth as they lost their first game 25-20.
However, teacher Paul Aylett said: “We played some really good volleyball and took this on, winning our remaining games and securing our place in the main pool for the afternoon.”
Park produced some good play in their four-team group to secure a top-two finish and place in the quarter-finals, with aggressive play at the net from A Parrish proving important.
And they dominated against Hackney in the last eight, with more good play from Parrish and good setting from J Holmes and J Damrell.
That set up a rematch with Lambeth in the semi-finals and Park had the better of the early stages, only to see their rivals attack the neet well and claim a slender victory and gold-medal play-off place.
Park picked themselves up in the bronze-medal match against a strong Sutton side, though, to ensure they did not come away empty-handed.
Always on top in their last match of the day, they collected medals to secure an improved position from 2017 and Aylett added: “There were some really positive performances from players. As we have been working towards the Nationals (six-a-side), we had to adapt and we competed well on a much smaller court.
“We now look forward to the Divisionals on March 24 where we hope to qualify for the Super 8 finals. If we can play aggressively, and attack the ball at the net, we have a good chance in going a step further than last year.”
The girls won all five group games, beating Barking & Dagenham’s Jo Richardson 25-8 and Sutton 23-21 along the way as R Tibbs and E Pilley set balls brilliantly.
And a 25-21 win over Sacred Heart sealed a semi-final spot, before a 25-23 defeat was followed by a 30-28 loss in the bronze-medal play-off with Lycee Francais.
“I’m very proud of how the girls played. They can hold their heads high, fourth is a fantastic achievement,” said Andy Bezant.