Deans net double delight

The Horndean team. Picture: Sarah Standing (113933-7770)
The Horndean team. Picture: Sarah Standing (113933-7770)
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Horndean registered two vital victories against Guildford International to seal their National League division two south survival.

They emerged supreme in fixtures at the Guildford Spectrum and Highbury College Sports courts.

It took the Deans one hour and 32 minutes to win the away clash.

Horndean started well with outside spiker Maciej Kubis and opposite player Stephen Metherell finding their way through Guildford’s blocks.

They survived a mini recovery from the hosts to win the first set 26-24 and went on to wrap up the second 25-22.

However, Guildford bounced back to win the third set 25-17.

‘We switched off,’ said Horndean head coach Nasser Ssemuwemba.

‘We lost our concentration and shape at the back.

‘They kept tipping balls over our blocks and we could not pick them up.

‘It was frustrating. We just looked static.’

But Horndean were soon back on song with Marcus Russell’s ferocious attacks and huge blocks frustrating Guildford spikers and wrapping up victory 25-20.

Russell, named man-of-the-match for the third time, said: ‘Our passing and back court defence was not the best.

‘Our setter lacked a decent first ball in which meant we could not get the middle players in to the game.

‘We should have won in straight sets but we were all pleased to leave with a win.’

Less then 48 hours later the teams locked horns again – this time at Highbury College and with Russell missing from the Horndean ranks.

His absence boosted Guildford and they took the first 25-20.

The Deans responded with a 25-20 second-set win after a series of hard hits from their powerful Norwegian spiker Haakon Lie and utility player Stoyan Yuriev.

And led by captain Metherell the hosts went on to win the third 25-20.

The Deans then fired on all cylinders to win the fourth set 25-23 and record their first hat-trick of wins this season.

Playmaker Benoit Royer said: ‘We looked a bit shaky at the start but recovered well to win the match, which was vital because we now have enough points to avoid the relegation battle.’

Bulgarian Yuriev was named man of the match.

Horndean’s next fixture is at Team Southampton on Sunday, April 7.