XXX claimed the major title on offer during Marlborough volleyball's finals night - but not without a torrid battle.
The much anticipated clash in the President's grade final on Thursday night at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 between XXX and Magnum didn't let spectators down.
High quality volleyball was produced from the first serve, long rallies and powerful hitting resulting in an exciting, closely-fought encounter. XXX set the platform from the outset, taking the first set 25-21. They also started the second set well, racing to a 10-2 lead before Magnum clawed back into the match and trailed by just one.
A quick time-out called by Alfie Walter, XXX's captain, proved strategic as it allowed time to change tactics. Momentum swung back, allowing XXX to surge clear again, but it wasn't plain sailing with Magnum briefly taking the lead before XXX drew level at 24-24.
Both sides had their chances to win the set before XXX got their nose in front to take it, and the match, 29-27.
Magnum won the third in fine style 21-25, but the match was over. Magnum's standout player was Nigel Sowman while XXX's Jason Sekai was named player of the final.
Equally closely ranked on the competition ladder were the third and fourth placed play-off teams, Clippers and Treefellas. In the first set Treefellas gave up a 10-point lead, allowing Clippers to draw first blood 27-25.
The tables were turned in the middle set as Clippers relinquished a good lead, upset predominantly by Treefellas David James's good service run, to snatch the set 24-26. In the third Clippers stepped up. Good passing from Kaiama to Sebastion Lock, who hit well, helped their team take control throughout. Strong blocking by Harrison Kilgour also contributed to a 25-16 set win and third place for Clippers.
The fifth and sixth place playoff proved entertaining with Woodbourne Cannons dominating. Against Cri Clovers the Cannons came out firing, taking the first 25-13. The second was much closer as Matthew Stretch placed his shots well and Phil Glesson had a solid set for Cri Clovers. They matched Cannons point for point until the chaps from the base pulled away to win 25-19. In the final set Cannons, led by Matty Williams and Arthur Tuiafiso, produced a sound all-round game to win 25-15 and claim fifth place.
The last presidents game saw Kinoaths up against MBC, who secured a closely fought three-set win on the back of some solid setting from Ryan Lewer and good play from Nick Williams and Cameron Steel. Kinoaths remained close throughout with a good all-round game from Mark Noble. Set scores were 25-21, 25-22 and 25-20.
C grade's Smashed ‘Em Bro led the competition all season so it was not a surprise when they took the title, beating Westmeat Geriatrics. While Geriatrics improved marginally with each set it was still a whitewash by the Bros 25-12, 25-13 and a more respectable 25-18.
The playoff for third and fourth was expected to be tight but didn't prove so as Safe Crackers easily took bronze 25-16, 25-18 and 25-15.
In the fifth and six playoff Desperate Housewives lost to MBC Junior A 25-23, 25-13 and 25-20.
An upset looked on the cards for The A-Team in their seventh and eighth playoff against MBC Year 9s.
Their young opponents caused a stir by taking the first set 25-12 before the A-Team woke up to take the next two sets 25-22 and 25-21.
In the mixed grade final Safe Air Social were the highest qualifier but that didn't worry Playschool who claimed the first set 25-14. SAS took the second 25-15 but Playschool weren't to be denied, taking the third 25-18, and the match.
The third and fourth playoff featured Meaters and International. Meaters took the early set 25-17 and the second 25-22 before International claimed the consolation 26-24.
In the night's last game JAMASH played sensible volleyball to edge out Team Wilson 25-20, 23-25 and 25-14.
The social grade final was won by Domin8 over Indevin Thunderballs.
On Thursday the season will end with the ever popular Triples Tournament which is played 3-aside on a smaller court. Players are asked to be at Stadium 2000 by 5.50pm. After the tournament, refreshments and prizegiving will be held for players only (by admission pass) at Fairweathers on Scott.
FairWeathers' Senior Winter League Results (places in grade finals and playoffs in brackets):
President's: XXX (1st) bt Magnum (2nd) 2-1; Clippers (3rd) bt Treefellas (4th) 2-1 Woodbourne Cannons (5th) bt Cri Clovers (6th) 3-0; MBC (7th) bt Kinoaths (8th) 3-0.
C grade: Smashed ‘Em Bro (1st) bt Westmeat Geriatrics (2nd) 3-0; Safe Crackers (3rd) bt MIA (4th) 3-0; MBC Junior A (5th) bt Desperate Housewives (6) 3-0; The A-Team (7th) beat MBC Y9 (8th)2-1.
Mixed Grade: Playschool (1st) bt Safe Air Social (2nd) 2-1; Meaters (3rd) bt International (4th) 2-1; JAMASH (5th) bt Team Wilson (6th) 2-1.
Social Grade: Domin8 (1st) bt Indevin Thunderballs (2nd) 2-1; The Young Ones (3rd) bt The Faze (4th) 3-0.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?