VOLLEYBALL: ELLESMERE Port Eels men's team bowed out of the Merseyside Cup at the first hurdle last weekend, losing 3-2 to Chesterfield VC of Bootle.
The Eels were confident of victory before the game, given their win over Chesterfield in the Merseyside Open a fortnight previously, but the absence of a regular setter ultimately lost them the game.
Sam Booth played as setter for the first time in more than two years and although he gave his all, the team were unable to maintain any consistent pressure on their opponents and were always on the back foot.
Having shared the first two sets, the Eels collapsed in the third but picked themselves up to convincingly take the fourth. In the deciding fifth set, the teams remained locked until 11-11 when Chesterfield pulled away and the Eels couldn't respond, falling to a 25-19 defeat.
Only centre blocker Paul Blackburn played to his normal standard in a lacklustre Eels display.
The Eels Ladies B played the first game at the club's latest home, the Cheshire County Sports Club in Upton, but were beaten 3-2 by Whitby.
At 5-2 up in the final set, they looked on course for a win. But a collapse at 8-8 saw the team lose 15-9. A solid performance by captain Yolanda Rodriguez and a sound debut from Aurelia Lambert helped sweeten the disappointment.
The following evening, the Eels Ladies A team played their first Merseyside League game of the season at home to Bridgewater of Warrington and won 3-1.
Playing without their star setter Erin Edwards, the Eels were never able to relax. After winning the first two sets 25-19, 25-17, they slumped to 21-11 in the third set.
Coach John Roach called a time-out and asked the team to recycle the ball to put some pressure on their opponents. This helped break Bridgewater's domination but failed to salvage the set as Bridgewater did enough to win 25-18.
The final set saw the Eels pull away to a comfortable lead, from which they were able to cruise to a 25-18 win.
Eels' MVP was Carrie Morecroft, who set well throughout and blocked numerous Bridgewater attacks.
The Eels' National League team are in action tomorrow at Whitby High School at 12.30pm in an English Knockout Cup match against top North West team City of Salford.
For further information of the club's activities, contact John Roach on 07715 005612.