Horndean bury demons in Cardiff

Horndean's togetherness was crucial in Cardiff. Picture: Mick Young (143357-03)
Horndean's togetherness was crucial in Cardiff. Picture: Mick Young (143357-03)
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Horndean bounced back from their National Shield semi-final defeat to division one outfit Essex Blaze with a rare 3-1 win at Cardiff.

Not only did the victory represent a return to winning ways following four straight defeats – but it also helped the Deans to bury their demons at the University of South Wales Sports Park court.

Horndean had never previously won at Cardiff Celts.

Nasser Ssemuwemba hailed his players’ team spirit – especially new signing Konstantinos Yiannakkos – as they got the Deans’ National League division two south season back on track.

‘I’m very proud of the team,’ said the player-coach.

‘That was a very pleasing result that came from a real team performance.

‘We’ve been going through a bad patch and have managed to stick together.

‘When you have a bad result, it makes the next game even more difficult and that’s why I’m thrilled with this victory.

‘I thought everyone gave their all and had the right attitude, so a coach can only be happy with that.

‘I thought Konstantinos showed what he can do. He was at times unplayable.

‘At the moment we shall continue to work hard in order to improve our performances in the next four remaining games and then see what happens at the end of the season.

‘This result can only give all of us confidence to push on.’

There was not much to separate the two teams half way through the opening set – apart from the two cards awarded to Horndean players for challenging the referee’s decisions.

‘He booked Haakon (Lie) for questioning two of his decisions – just because he was not the captain,’ said Leandros Tsikras.

‘And then, as captain, when I went to ask for clarity over a decision, I was red-carded.

‘This meant a point was deducted from our score.’

But the Deans were not fazed by the referee’s decisions.

They remained calm and let their performance do the talking on court.

Middle-player Ssemuwemba and outside-attacker Lie moved the score forward after a 22-22 tie and Horndean never looked back, going on to close out the first set 25-22.

The hosts needed a quick reaction in the early stages of the second set and they got it thanks to a series of individual errors from the visiting players at the net and the service box.

The Deans did their best to turn the tables but it was too late to stop Cardiff from drawing level 25-23.

But Ssemuwemba’s men – through their hard-hitting Lie, middle-player Willard Hans Shongue and opposite-player Damian Roberts – surged ahead with a 25-20 third-set triumph.

The fourth turned out to be a one-sided affair.

In an enormous run, the Deans rallied for 10 straight points from 5-5 to 15-5.

Konstantinos was the tormentor in chief as the Cyprus player hit top form and combined very well with man-of-the-match Tsikras in attack to ensure a 25-11 victory.

The Deans are now fourth in the table behind Wessex M3, Solent II and leaders Richmond.

They will aim to keep their form going against title favourites Solent II in a highly-anticipated encounter at Highbury College on Saturday (11am).