Volleyball scores sponsor at launch
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The inaugural hosting of the the eThekwini Volleyball Association’s Masters Volleyball Tournament received a boost when businessman Sunil Geness announced that he would sponsor the event for the next three years.
Speaking at the event’s awards ceremony at UKZN’s Sport Centre on Saturday, Geness, a former KZN Provincial player, applauded the efforts of eThekwini Volleyball for acknowledging the contributions of the country’s past heroes by providing a platform for them to entertain their fans at the level of a Masters Tournament.
Geness also paid tribute to his former Avoca Volleyball Club teammates who were instrumental in establishing volleyball at provincial level.
The opening matches of the 12-team draw set the stage for a day of exciting matches. Memories came flooding back for the older fans when they witnessed clashes between Delfos and Avoca, who fielded their players of the 1980’s glory days of volleyball in venues in Chatsworth, Tongaat and Asherville.
Delfos triumphed over Avoca, but sadly both teams did not progress to the knockout stage. Avoca were beaten by Port Shepstone’s Falcons in the losers’ section final.
Tournament favourites Liberté of Tongaat, who featured several former national team players, were bundled out of the tournament in the semi-final stage (2-1) by the less fancied Brindhaven of Verulam. In the second semi-final clash, WB Dolphins of eThekwini brushed aside challenges from Gauteng’s Star-Atlanta (2-1)
Latching on to playmaker Seelan Pillay’s crafty setting, WB Dolphins attack force, spearheaded by Yulen Govender, Rowen Vallathiam, Rajen Govender and the evergreen Raymond Paul, put the opening set seemingly beyond the reach of the Verulam team as they took a commanding 18-9 lead in the mouth- watering final.
A fightback by Brindhaven narrowed the score to 21-16. Unable to adjust to Marci Nayar’s serving three in a row, the Verulam lads were staring at defeat at 24-16. A clever dunk by Raymond Paul over Brindhaven’s block closed proceeding at 25-16.
Refusing to roll over and play dead, Brindhaven’s fightback could not be taken lightly by WB Dolphins. Turning each time to Yulen Govender and Raymond Paul, setter Pillay levelled matters at 19-19.
Finally, it was the experience of the Dolphins’s players at this level of the competition that separated the two teams. WB Dolphins won by edging out Brindhaven by a 25-21 margin.
SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Best setter: Shaniel Surujbelly (Brindhaven)
Best defence player: Neville Govender (WB Dolphins)
Best attacker: Yulen Govender (WB Dolphins)
Most valuable player: Seelan Pillay (WB Dolphins)