Scotland came in to this match on May 19th at Northumbria University having won the two match series between the two teams twelve months before.
The English team stood more than 5 centimetres taller than their rivals so that was no surprise that the Scots were hit by a barrage of big hits throughout a very tough first set although brave defensive resistance was taking place. In the end a series of service errors ultimately put paid to any chance of a full recovery and the set was lost to eighteen.
The Scots tried to impose their game plan in the second set with some success and with Katie Barbour leading the passing unit and Jo Morgan bringing her hitters in to play with good variation they held a mid set lead which was lost in the face of some really tough serving. However, Mhairi Agnew was now in her stride in her middle blocking role and Carly Murray, Shona Fraser, Clare Ramage and Jen Thom were finding success at the net and although the set was lost 25-21, the Scots were beginning to compete.
The third set was now make or break. The Scottish Women began to take control and the powerful English began to look very unsure of themselves as Morgan continued to run plays that destabilised the English block and defence and the Scottish hitters led by Jen Thom took the side to a 25-21 set victory.
With Fraser serving tough and the rest of the team serving smart the English were no longer sure footed and the Scots led well in to the fourth set. An injury to the English setter who had to be replaced suggested that a fifth set decider was on the cards but an English rally created through steady setting and excellent blocking saw the Scots tighten up and make a number of hitting errors to allow England back in to the set. However, a great series of defensive work from Caitlin McEwan helped the Scots get to 23-23 and a fierce service from Shona Fraser set up a set point but the set point was lost and the English took the next two points to win the set 26-24 and as a result the game, 3 sets to 1.
In the end it was a sore less but a great deal of pride has to be taken from taking on this tall powerful English side and recovering from a really tough first set to almost taking the match to a deciding set.
Vince Krawczyk, Danny Traylor, Gail Wilson, Sarah Jones