NATIONAL League debutants Ellesmere Port Eels have stormed to the top of the table, writes Paul Hassall.
Despite a 3-0 defeat at title favourites Nottingham, a 3-1 victory against Tees Valley was enough to lift Eels to the summit.
Coach John Roach was delighted with his side and said: 'It is a great achievement to go top in our first season in the National League and although we have played a game more than Nottingham, we will do our best to try and stay there.'
Eels may have suffered defeat in Nottingham but Roach believes his side have learned a lot from the match and expects a much closer contest when the two sides meet in a potential title decider on the final day.
He said: 'We know what we need to do against Nottingham now. We have played them and seen what they can do and I don't think we are far off having a side that can beat them.
'We have some raw talent here and it is early days, but once we have instilled some more organisation into the team we should see some improvement, but it has been a great start by the girls.'
Eels women had travelled to Nottingham in confident mood following their winning start to the season and took on Tees Valley of Darlington in their first match.
However, they struggled early on and Tees Valley scrambled to a 26-24 victory in the first set.
But Eels responded in magnificent fashion and a tactical switch that involved moving Jenny Broadhurst from libero to middle attacker, saw them triumph in the remaining sets 25-20, 25-22, 25-18.
The result ensured Eels approached their second match against Nottingham in pole position, regardless of the result.
An experienced Nottingham side was always going to prove a difficult proposition for Eels and despite fighting back from deficits in each set, they succumbed to a three-set defeat 25-18, 25-21, 25-20.