Deans can’t strike it rich with many key men absent

143357-06 MY volleyball'Horndean Volleyball Club v Richmond at Highbury college.'Nasser Ssemuwemba in action for Horndean.'Pic Mick Young'17/01/2015 PPP-150117-160500006
143357-06 MY volleyball'Horndean Volleyball Club v Richmond at Highbury college.'Nasser Ssemuwemba in action for Horndean.'Pic Mick Young'17/01/2015 PPP-150117-160500006
Josh Green in action for England under-17s at the NEVZA Championshi. Picture: Hamistolen Photography

Green buoyant after his first international abroad

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Horndean suffered their first national league division two south defeat of the season at the hands of Richmond

The Deans who travelled to London with out a number of their key players, were thrashed in straight sets by last season’s second place finishers.

We don’t have a strong side like we did last season. But we’re determined to work hard and make a good account of ourselves this season

Nasser Ssemuwemba

The absence of play maker Leandros Tsikras, Damian Roberts, Tyler Everrit and Mark Byerley was felt right from the start as the visitors struggled to string up any meaningful attack at Kingston College Arena.

This helped the home side to dominate play with good combination attacks that saw them win the opening set 25-13, just after 18minutes of action. They doubled their advantage 25-18 as Horndean continued their search for answers.

But there was some glimmer of hope in the third set when the Deans trio of Festus Nfor, Willard Hans Shongue and Dariusz Koziel put up a spirited fight that nearly brought Richmond’s defence to its knees.

A mixture of powerful attacks and tactical serves from both teams prompted the lead to change hands, as both team wrestled for points.

However, it was Richmond’s players who kept their nerves to convert the vital points and bring the curtains down to a nail-biting encounter with a 26-24 victory.

Despite the loss, player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba who was later named man-of-the-match, praised his weakened side’s contribution especially new signings Alex Menya and Steve Kamdem Lewe.

He said:‘We travelled to this fixture with a fragile team, a far cry from the side that won at Southampton. Due to various reasons, we could not field our strong side.

‘As expected, we looked rusty and shaky at the start. We had two new debutants and as a team, we lacked coordination.

‘This handed the initiative straight away to our opponents who punished us for every sloppy play.

‘But the biggest reason for our demise was lack of a natural setter on the team. Any team at our level would struggle without a play maker.

‘However, the players that we had out there tried their best and their efforts were evident as the game progressed.

‘We are going to take the positives out of this loss and try to build on them for our forthcoming fixtures.

‘We don’t have a strong side like we did last season. But we’re determined to work hard and make a good account of ourselves this season.’

Horndean’s next League encounter will be on Saturday (12.30pm) when they host high-flying Cardiff Celts at the Priory School courts in Portsmouth.