National Cup and Shield: The quarter finals beckon
4th December 2018
The 2018/19 Volleyball England National Cup and Shield competitions are finely poised for the new year, after the final matches in the competitions of this calendar year took place at the weekend.
The 26th and 27th January will be quarter finals weekend in the premier knockout competition in English volleyball, the National Cup, and the Shield competition, which is a second shot at glory for teams who exited the cup in the opening two rounds.
Before then, the Women’s Shield is the only competition that hasn’t confirmed its line-up for the quarters, with the teams set to play out round three on January 3rd.
There are already some mouth-watering ties in store after some brilliant third round action…
National Cup round-up
The final eight of the Men’s National Cup sees the top ranked teams in the country all still in the pursuit of cup glory.
Current undefeated league leaders IBB Polonia London defeated a fellow team from the capital as they beat Onyx London, of the London League. Onyx did notch the first set, but Polonia’s quality shone through as battled back to level the match and then raised their level to win the final two sets in comfortable fashion.
Polonia will face Team Essex Blaze as they defeated Division 1 opposition Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University.
Team BUWessex, who currently lie second in the Super League, will battle Richmond Docklands who will hope to put their inconsistent league form behind them to advance to the semi-finals. Wessex defeated Weymouth Beach Volleyball, who top Division Three South on eight straight wins, to reach the quarters, while Richmond saw off Manchester Marvels.
The tie of the round will see a local rivalry renewed. Reigning National Cup champions Team Northumbria may not be competing in the Super League this season, but they are on track to defend their cup win. They advanced to the quarter finals where they will meet Durham Palatinates, who eased past fellow Super League side Newcastle Staffs.
In the Women’s National Cup, the defending champions and current Super League leaders Durham Palatinates will face off against Team BUWessex in the quarter finals. They recorded an impressive win over the University of Nottingham, who are flying high, undefeated in Division 1. Wessex also overcame Division 1 opposition, beating Cambridge VC and Anglia Ruskin University.
There is still a chance of a repeat of last year’s final, as Team Northumbria have also advanced in the women’s competition. They beat local rivals Team Sunderland to book a quarter final clash against Malory Eagles UEL, who are soaring in second place in the Super League.
The two bottom sides in the Super League will have a prime opportunity to make the semi-finals, as Polonia SideOut London and Birmingham Volleyball Club meet in the quarters. The ladies from the second city defeated Polonia IMKA in round three, while Polonia overcame London Lionhearts.
The final tie looks set to be a thriller as 3rd place in the Super League London Orcas will go head-to-head with fourth place Tendring VC. Both teams have only lost once this season, although Tendring did defeat Orcas when they met earlier in the season.
Tendring beat City of Salford to reach the quarters, while Orcas blew away Rhinos St Phillips, a non-NVL team who can be immensely proud that it took one of the best teams in the country to end their cup run.
The Shield is a second shot at cup glory and the opportunity to play at the showpiece finals days, so it is no surprise that many teams are fighting hard for the Shield title.
In the Men’s Shield, DARKSTAR Derbyshire caused the shock of round three as they beat Division 1 league leaders Leeds RGA VC in straight sets. That will buoyed the confidence and make them believe they can overturn the odds in the quarter finals as they another team flying high in Division 1, Team Sunderland. The team from Wearside ousted Haughton Darlington in round three, and have only lost once all season.
Coventry and Warwick Riga, of Men’s Division 3 central, caused an upset of their own as they beat University of Nottingham from the tier above to book a clash against Nasze UK Intervolley Manchester in the quarter finals. Intervolley are having a tough league season but the Shield is providing a welcome distraction as they have a great chance of making the semis. They beat Nottingham Rockets in round three.
There’s an all Division 1 tie as Cardiff Celts face off with Tendring VC. Currently unbeaten in second place, Tendring will be favourites to overcome the Celts who are in fifth position. Tendring beat Norwich Spikers, while the Celts outed non-NVL opposition, beating KS Osemka 3-1.
Division 1 London Aces will play Wombourne in the last Shield quarter final. Aces ended the run of non-NVL team the UK Armed Forces in the third round, while Wombourne edged past Fighter Squadron Swindon in a superb five setter, after relinquishing a two-set lead.
The line-up of the Women’s Shield quarter finals will be decided early in 2019, as round three will be played on January 6, before the quarter finals weekend on 27th January.