On day two of the competition the Blues found themselves drawn against Bristol in the quarter-final match. A relatively unknown team, the Bristol side had looked good in the pool stages and, with a number of strong attackers, were the strongest opponents the Blues had met so far in the contest. Starting with the usual six, the Blues found that Bristol were struggling to put an attack together in the first set, but, infuriatingly, were picking up strong attacks from Cyndee and Anne. Eventually the Blues were able to put away each ball, but the score in the first set didn't reflect the opponents grit. Veronica was making good block plays and Cyndee delivered a couple of her characteristic cross-court hammers. Anne pushed the set forward with a long run of service, from which the Bristol team could not recover.
The second set saw a turn of fortunes, with the Bristol team taking up their work rate and the Blues making more errors than in the first. Transfer of Fiona for Nadia improved the net defence, but Bristol were starting to swing harder attacks. At the close the teams were point for point, Bristol celebrating each win as if it was a match winner. Two aces from hard, low serves took the match to 1-1.
With everything hanging on a 15 point decider, the Bristol team looked decidedly nervous, allowing Cyndee an early run of serve that forced a time-out. The Blues took their game up a gear and really turned on the heat, Nadia taking a decisive block point and Cyndee and Fola both finding points on the line. Two late Blues receive errors forced a Cambridge time-out, after which the team re-grouped and forged to the end of the match in style.
Report by Jon Clarke
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