THE season started with a disappointing straight-sets defeat for the newly-named Portsmouth City in National League division two south.
Nasser Ssemuwemba’s side, formerly known as Horndean, struggled to break down a well-drilled Essex side.
It has been a difficult start to the season but the team are excited to be now be representing Portsmouth.
Ssemuwemba said: ‘We were prompted to change the name because the majority of our club players are based in Portsmouth.
‘We all agreed as a team we would feel more proud to play and promote our city which has been lacking a male team’s representation in the National League.
‘Just before the start of the season, we wrote to Volleyball England’s competitions committee requesting for the change of name, and based on the arguments we put forward they later accepted.
‘It’s only the name that has changed, but the rest remains exactly the same.’
Ssemuwemba is still upbeat despite the team being forced to forfeit their opening match of the season before the defeat in Essex.
The hard work will continue to make sure they can improve quickly.
He added: ‘I know we’ve so far had a wobbly start, having been forced to forfeit what would have been our first match against New Forest and then this loss to Essex.
‘But we are working towards assembling a stable and strong team that will return us to the winning ways.’
The match hosted at St John Payne Catholic Comprehensive School in Chelmsford, saw the home team win the first set 25-22.
Portsmouth then responded with good blocks and well-placed floating serves.
But a catalogue of sloppy play both in attack and defence allowed their opponents to claw back and win the second set 25-23.
The third set was also a hotly-contested affair.
But although Portsmouth showed some glimpses of good attacks, it was Essex who held firm to wrap up the match 25-21.
Portsmouth will be looking for better fortunes this Saturday.
They will host City of Bristol at Bedales School in Petersfield (1.30pm).