Saturday, April 13, 2024

Payne spikes Deacons plan


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Unmatched spiking from national volleyball player Akeem Payne led former champions Progressive to an upset win over Coverley Medical Centre Deacons when the Goddard Enterprises Division One continued on Wednesday night at the Wildey Gym.
Payne put a wobble in Deacons’ drive to claim the league crown by pipping the dethroned knockout kings 22-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 16-14 in an exciting game.
The play of Sheldon Roach, Kyle Browne and young Andriy Stapleton had looked like maintaining Deacons’ dominance over the inconsistent Progressive.
However, Juniors’ graduating setter Kemar Hinds played a superb game in unleashing Payne, Fabian Cox and Renier Grace with perfect sets for Progressive to battle back from two sets down and bring up the decider. That set contained the twists and turns of a soap opera, never clearly showing who would triumph.
When Grace twisted his right ankle and hobbled off of the court at 1-1 in the decider, Progressive seemed destined to lose the script. A switch at 5-8 also pointed to a Deacons victory with Browne and Roach continuing their successful aerial assault on Progressive.
However, Payne turned up his attack even higher as Deacons’ setter made some erroneous setting choices and Progressive’s blocking held firm to lock the scores from 10. Two subsequent attacking errors by Browne were followed by a scorcher from Roach.
A cracker of a counter then came from Rico Brathwaite as he engaged in some light banter with Roach, as that duo would have played, not as spikers, but as liberos, for Barbados in the past.
Deacons survived game and match point 12-14 as Payne made successive errors.  However, with Cox playing middle and scoring a vital cut shot, Payne then put the game to bed with a corrective ace as a tense Deacons scrambled the pass under the net.
Progressive have jumped to an early 2-0 record to lead the standings with 10 points.
Earlier, Flow Sentry Brokers Deacons women took just 57 minutes in dumping RBC Carlton 25-9, 25-8, 25-13. Freekz Customz Chargers defeated Toners 25-22, 25-12, 25-17, while defending champions, Warrens Jaguars dropped a set to Club United before winning their match 25-18, 24-26, 25-19, 25-11, thanks to outstanding play from Rhe-Ann Niles and Talya Layne.
The women’s field is already taking definitive shape, with Chargers leading with a 3-0 record while Warrens, Deacons and Brydens Rockets are 2-0. The other side of the spectrum sees Club United, Toners and Carlton with 0-3 records.

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