Volleyball: Hunter insists Wessex can challenge country's best

First published in Sport Bournemouth Echo: Photograph of the Author by

TEAM GB ace Dan Hunter led Wessex back to the summit and then insisted the Dorset big guns could compete with anybody in the UK.

Captain Hunter helped Wessex regain top spot in Division One as they stormed to a sixth straight league win to maintain their 100 per cent record.

Following a 3-0 victory for the club's in-form ladies, the men took centre stage in a packed Oakmead LeAF sports hall.

And they did not disappoint as they dished out a 25-16 25-13 25-14 to visitors London Lynx on Saturday.

Local lad Hunter, who represented the host nation at London 2012, said: “It was a comfortable win and the team showed its progression and high level of volleyball. Despite a few mistakes in the first set, it was a dominant display from us.

“We proved that we are a force to be reckoned with, not just in this division but the whole of the UK.

“Hopefully, we can show that next weekend as a win would put us in the quarter-finals final of the National Cup.”

Hunter's team will get the chance to back up his words when they face top-flight opponents in SGTV Solent in the National Cup third round.

They will be hoping to pick up where they left off during the 3-0 dismantling of London Lynx on Saturday.

Unbeaten Wessex fielded a strong starting six and immediately showed their intent with some aggressive work by New Zealand international Kirk Pitman. A strong run of serves from Dan Hunter saw Wessex take the opening set 25-16.

With Team GB captain Ben Pipes starring, Wessex claimed the second set 25-13 before sealing victory with a third-set margin of 25-14.

That success came after Wessex Rocare Ladies had climbed to third in the Super 8s standings with a fine performance against Ashcombe in the first of Saturday's back-to-back matches at Oakmead LeAF.

A strong attack through the middle by Natalia Jutkiewicz kick-started the momentum and Wessex closed out the first set 25-15.

Leading 16-7 in the second set, Wessex introduced substitutes Annie Tinker and Phoebe Jeffrey and the duo helped seal a 25-19 success.

And Wessex never looked back as they completed a routine win thanks to a 25-19 triumph in the third set.

Wessex skipper Vicky Palmer is now setting her sights on top spot.

She said: “We put in a strong performance and proved we are getting stronger every week.

“The win put us third in the table and next weekend we are back in action with a cup match as we aim to progress to the quarter-finals.

“Our challenge now is to keep third spot and aim to catch up with second and title favourites Team Northumbria.”

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