Horndean back on top

Leandros Tsikras.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (133265-749)
Leandros Tsikras. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133265-749)
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 bounced back to the summit of the National League division two south table with a straight-sets victory over Richmond.

They regained top spot for the second time this season after putting on a slick, controlled display at Kingston College Arena on Saturday.

Horndean now lead their adversaries with 36 points – two points clear of second-placed Wessex BU, who have two games in hand.

But while the Deans celebrated their success, Leandros Tsikras saw room for improvement ahead of the National Shield semi-final at Exeter on Saturday.

The Greek setter, who netted a sixth man-of-the-match accolade against Richmond, reckons his side must be more ruthless.

‘We made a very good start (against Richmond) but then crumbled in the third set,’ he said.

‘It was very strange. I think our players switched off.

‘And that could be very dangerous, especially if it was to happen in the semi-final match against Exeter.

‘We can enjoy the win but must be extremely sharper against Exeter.’

Having lost to Richmond in the first round of fixtures, the Deans were very quick to put their stamp on the match right from the first whistle.

They breezed into an 8-2 lead at the first technical time out, with Haakon Lie and Damian Roberts causing the former division one outfit a lot of problems.

The duo’s exploits – together with Tsikras’ powerful jump serves – helped the Deans to an easy 25-15 triumph in the first set.

However, it was the home team who took the early initiative in the opening stages of the second set.

They sprinted into a 9-2 lead thanks to their well-placed floating serves.

This forced Deans setter Tsikras to mix things up at the net by introducing both Marcus Russell and skipper Stephen Metherell into the match.

And the move worked as the pair’s angled spikes helped the Deans to regain their rhthym and level the score at 12-12.

The two sides exchanged points, showing relentless effort and refusing to give away any freebies.

But Horndean later surged ahead to eventually take the set 25-17.

The third set was an even closer and nervy affair for the Deans and at 18-18, it was heading to the wire.

As the visitors made a catalogue of individual errors, Richmond seized the opportunity to take the next three points to set nerves jangling at 21-18.

However, Russell kept his composure with superb blocks and back-court hits to ensure Horndean belted their 12th straight victory of the season – in all competitions – with 25-22 set win.