Plane sailing for Friedrichshafen


13th September 2015

Fittingly the London Legacy Volleyball trophy that is shaped in the representation of a fighter aircraft, was presented to a team hailing from a town with strong aviation links. The Embassy of Poland in London- the donors of the trophy- being diplomats would never publicly admit they would have preferred the cup to be presented to their compatriots from Bełchatów. The cup had been struck to honour the brave Polish pilots who had joined the British RAF and participated in the epic Battle of Britain. Friedrichshafen were worthy recipients of the Polish Pilots Cup not only because of their harmonious straight sets victory, but because the German lakeside town is the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship and the Dornier seaplane. There was no need to fasten their seatbelts, turbulence had been expected, but none was encountered as they eased their way to the championship. 

The heavyweight clash between Poland's PGE Skra Bełchatów and Germany's VfB Friedrichshafen that concluded the inaugural London Legacy Volleyball Cup initially appeared to live up to expectations. The first set could have gone either way. The two giants matched each other stride for stride, 10-10, 12-12,16-16, 18 -18. Neither side could get away and wrest control. Worryingly though for the Poles, their offence was misfiring, with the bulk of their points coming from blocks or opposition mistakes. Luis Venceslau on the other hand was having no problems with landing his powerful strikes and the Germans ended up taking the set by a comfortable 25- 21 margin. 

In the second, Marcel Gromadowski provided some sorely needed attacking momentum, however the defence started leaking points and Friedrichshafen pulled five points in front. The Poles dug deep and drew level to make the set score 17 apiece. However the Germans were playing with great cohesiveness, everyone was making a telling contribution and they took the second set by the exact same margin as the first. 

The desire that Friedrichshafen showed to win the trophy was exemplified in the third by Venceslau scampering behind the net to retrieve a loose pass and then be immediately in position to make the block. The German players around the net were uniformly excellent, Adrian Gontariu making a series of devastating returns. He was ably supported by Trinidad man mountain Marc Anthony Honore whose gentle dig over the net proved incapable of return, thus handing the third set and the championship to Friedrichshafen. The Germans return to Lake Constance with a beautiful, if rather heavy sculpture. The other teams make their way home with wonderful memories of a sparkling weekend of sport and friendships developed.