The unfancied Berger Friendly Hall stunned volleyball giants RBTT Deacons when the Goddards Enterprises division one league was served off on Monday night at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
Fresh from taking their 15th knockout crown last week Deacons suffered an early setback in their bid to clinch a 17th league title when they went down to Friendly Hall, 25-15, 24-26, 21-25, 25-23, 13-15. Deacons’ second game tonight will be against the defending champions, British American Insurance Chargers.
On Monday night Deacons were without national captain, Elwyn Oxley who turned up at the Gym in civilian clothes after returning from his repeat second place finish in the Sizzlin’ Sands Beach tournament in Antigua. However, the balance of power was supposed to remain as Oxley’s partner, Gregory Gill is a key Friendly Hall attacker and he did not take part in the division one game either.
The match started in the traditional manner with some of the Friendly Hall players checking the roads leading to the Gym wondering and hoping that at least six players would show up to avoid a default loss. The bare six turned up proved enough with Kengie Williams unleashing an attack on Deacons that might cause concern for the UN weapon inspectors.
Williams was his deadliest in the fifth set when he scored at least 10 of the 15 points which Friendly Hall needed to jolt Deacons. He received great support from Victor Griffith who confounded Deacons with his change of speed spikes.
Deacons almost went down in four sets as the scores were locked from 18 up to 23 in the fourth set. Then Deacons seemed in control of the deciding fifth set when they lead, 8-6, at the switch. A side out by Williams and Griffith serving well saw Friendly Hall surging to, 13-8.
At that stage Deacons were also undone by a non-productive front court of the setter Rodney Mayers, Kenwin Inniss and a woefully out of form Andy Jordan. When Mayers went to Inniss he could not deliver and Friendly Hall consistently set a tremendous defence against Jordan which allowed them to win the ball for a vicious Williams to counter attack and score.
After gaining the side-out Deacons rallied to, 13-14, before Williams was able to score the knockout punch to provide an inauspicious start to the league campaign for the volleyball powerhouse.
Earlier the knockout losing finalists, Greaves Transport & Service Progressive came from a set down to dismiss Foundation United, 17-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-23.
The opening round of women’s matches played to form with the Ambi Toners beating the BNB Juniors, 25-16, 25-18, 24-26, 25-23, while British American Insurance Chargers stopped newcomers Powerade the Club, 25-21, 25-27, 25-13, 25-20.
On Wednesday 1st October a men’s triple header will be staged with Progressive meeting Friendly Hall at 6.30, and Deacons battling Chargers at eight while Foundation will be engaging Cawmere at the same time on court B. The lone women’s match will be played at 6.30 with the Juniors taking on Sentry Insurance Brokers Deacons.