It's 2 blogs in 1 for you all this week, as we recap a rather busy fortnight for the Essex Blades.
We've also got another episode of Blades TV - our new weekly round-up of Essex Blades action.
WEEK 3 HIGHLIGHTS:
13 cup fixtures took place in Week 3, but we'll begin with some highlights from league action. And there's only one place to start.
Fencing Women's 2nd made the journey down south to face Kent 2nd. The early morning departure didn't put off the team of 6 from Essex, who were looking for their first win for a couple of years. Kent took the advantage, winning the first weapon (Sabre) 45-43 in a very close encounter. Essex then responded by winning the second weapon (Foil) also by a score of 45-43, leaving the scores exactly equal going into the last weapon (Epee). After a very tense and emotional competition, Essex came out on top in the Epee (45-40) and therefore won the match 133-128. Tears of joy were shed after the game, unsuprising after an outstanding result and achievement by the team, which will provide them with confidence going forward as they look for more success.
Fencing Women's 2nd following their excellent 133-128 win over Kent 2nd.
Volleyball Women's 1st stormed past Oxford 1st in the BUCS Premier South. Strong serving set Essex apart from Oxford throughout the entire match and allowed the Blades to hold a substantial lead throughout all three sets. Root dialed up back-to-back aces to put Essex in front early in the game, while clean attacking from the middles helped Essex end the match 3-0. “This was a great game for us to be able to try new rotations and practice some more difficult plays. I am proud of our team for focusing on our goals consistently throughout the game and winning our first home game” said captain Nicole Bishop.
Volleyball Men's 1st also hosted Oxford 1st, looking to bounce back after a tough loss to UEL. With a balance of strong attackers and sound defensive execution, the Essex Men were able to lock up their first BUCS victory. Essex remained neck-and-neck with Oxford during the opening set, until Mexson and Wheaton scored crucial points in the middle. The Blades were able to hold the lead the rest of the set and match, taking home a 3-0 victory. Captain Riley Friesen commented, “We’re happy with the win but we left a lot of points on the floor. As a team we have a lot of things that we still need to work on if we want to reach the level that we’re capable of.”
Football Men's 2nd were another team looking to respond after a narrow defeat last time out, as they played higher-league opposition in Imperial 1st in the Conference Cup. Essex attacked with a lot of pace and after a cross from Robbie Castiglione was cleared, Micháel Meggs drilled the loose ball into the bottom corner to give the Blades a 1-0 lead. Craig Jeakins added a 2nd with a fine strike into the top corner, before Imperial pulled a goal back just before half-time direct from a free-kick. After a positive half-time team talk, Essex came out flying in the 2nd half and 15 minutes in added a 3rd goal through an excellent individual goal from captain Ty Bond. Ben Judge and club President Duaine Nwadikwa added further goals to give Essex a 5-2 win and move them into the next round of the cup. MOTM Ty Bond.
Other stand out results included Basketball Men's 1st (winning 101-93 away at UEL), Netball 1st (winning 34-32 away at Kent) and Tennis Men's 2nd (winning 12-0, also away at Kent).
SUMMARY OF BUCS RESULTS – WEEK 3 - 2019/20
Winning Percentage: 62%
In 2018/19, Essex recorded an identical winning percentage of 62% from 29 fixtures during Week 3.
WEEK 4 HIGHLIGHTS:
Football Men's 4th secured a great win over UEL, despite the opposition having the majority of chances and taking an early lead. Despite going a goal down, Essex equalised and then took the lead just after half-time. After absorbing more heavy pressure in the 2nd half, Essex grabbed a 3rd from a well-executed counter attack, adding a 4th late-on to secure the 3 points.
Volleyball Women's 1st gave another commanding performance on the Volleyball court on Wednesday with another 3-0 win against Bristol. There was simply no answer for the towering Blades team. Bristol were outgunned across the net, unable to come up with a strategy to deal with dominant blocking and attacking that the Blades possess. Liz Leahy, the starting libero, was given the opportunity to play outside spiker in the 3rd set and did not disappoint coming up with an incredible service run tallying up 5 aces and sealing the W for the girls.
Volleyball Men's 1st made quick work of Exeter this past Wednesday defeating them 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-16). The Blades were able to run a variety of line-ups allowing some of the younger players to get much needed time on the court in a game situation. One of the Blades standouts, Daniel Williams, had a chance to play as the opposite hitter and proved to be highly effective from the pins as well as capping the game off with an ace to seal the win for the Blades.
There was a real show of Blades unity in the Hockey Men's 2nd fixture away at Sussex. Despite struggling for numbers, Essex still took a talented 9 players on the long away day. Essex started well, moving the ball around like a well oiled machine and creating early chances despite their numerical disadvantage. Despite Harvey and Greg standing strong in the Blades defence, Sussex moved into a 2-0 lead following goals from short corners. 2-0 down, but certainly not out, Essex attacked again and Hursh was denied a goal back when blocked well by a Sussex defender. The end-to-end Hockey started to take a toll on the Essex players as Sussex grabbed a 3rd goal. At half-time Essex were boosted by vocal support from the Blades Rugby team (also playing at Sussex) and the news that several of them had played Hockey before and got involved! With 11, Essex now became the far superior side and put pressure on the Sussex defence. Despite several 6 v 3 attacks, Sussex stood firm and nicked a 4th goal on the counter. Not disheartened by this, Essex continued to press and got a well-deserved goal back as Reegan finished off a firm cross from Aaron, much to the delight of the travelling support. Final score, Sussex 4-1 Essex - a valiant effort in difficult conditions.
Hockey Women's 1st after another commanding win, this time over Canterbury Christ Church.
SUMMARY OF BUCS RESULTS – WEEK 4 - 2019/20
Winning Percentage: 54%
In 2018/19, Essex recorded a winning percentage of 43% from 47 fixtures during Week 4.
Another busy round of fixtures next time out includes a number of important cup games as we look to continue the solid start to the year!