Match Reports

2014/2015 Season

 Volleyball match report

Raiders v Northampton 1

Northampton 1 turned up to Rushden having had a successful fixture against MK Enigma the previous evening. The game started brightly enough but was a rollercoaster of a game in terms of quality. In patches there were great spikes, fantastic recoveries and big blocks but there was also serve and service receive errors and some dodgy handling.

The first set was a close affair. The Raiders gained an early advantage on the back of some tricky serving from Loz . Northampton’s initial response was to try and hit their way back into the game but coming up against a big block resorted to dumps soft spikes and a few cheeky volley’s into space from Kev Smith. Having closed the gap to 21-19 They gifted the set to the Raiders with 2 service errors.

Set 2 saw both teams make line up changes. With his first three hits for the Raiders it looked like Jay Whittaker was an inspired change but as the set progressed, the errors crept in. Raiders went on to take a 15-7 lead on the back of a few net band hits from Northampton and couple of good hits  from Christian. Set 2 safely went to the Raiders.

Raider’s intensity dropped in set 3 this allowed Taro Gibbs and Joe Gore to start finding the holes. In the Raiders block and defence. Derek Simonite was having a blinder back court picking up the Raider’s spikes but he let it go a bit with his service reception and with some interesting line calls. But hey ho! Northampton went into an 18-12 lead on the back of Taro’s serve. This closed to within a point before miscommunication between Keith and Rob handed the set to Northampton.

Set 4 and Raiders returned to their original line up. The set was far closer the intensity went up and the questioning of calls got louder. Nevertherless it was the Raiders hitters that were coming out on top. Christian was hitting hard and by drawing the block it allowed Loz the leftie to make the hits count. This turned out to be the longest set with a couple of cracking rallies, the Raiders went on to take the set and the match.

This was another good game for the Raiders but there is still a long way for them to go as a unit. MVP’s were Kev Smith for Northampton and Christian Miles for the Raiders. Thanks to Natasha for helping out with the scoring.

 The Rebels travelled the short distance to Wellingborough to play the Falcons and had a couple of new faces on the rosta, Bartek and Indra. Things started brightly enough with both sides spiking freely. Each side had spells of gaining 3 or 4 points on serve. Piotr for the Rebels and Krystof for hte Falcon. At 20-19 the Rebels had a wobble on service receive and Andy Lord made the most serving the set out.

Set 2 saw Greg switch for Alberto through the middle for the Rebels and he managed to put up a couple of strong blocks against P. Dziubiak. This helped the Rebels to a 15-8 lead. John Gray though pulled the Falcons back into in varying his serve well put the Rebels serve receipt under pressure. With only 1 attack option the Falcons backcourt exploited the confusion in the Rebels coverage. Agneiska Izydorczyk polished off the set for the Falcons.

The striking difference in set 3 was that the Falcons went into the lead 8-7. The Rebels couldn’t handle the low hard flat serves and in 2 rotations the Falcons gained 10 points. So at 18-10 down things looked bleak for the Rebels. However a couple of good blocks and hits from Bartek and good pickups in back court from Russell the Rebels got to 23-24 but the set slipped away in a familiar way with indecision in the Rebels backcourt.

This was a far better performance from the Rebels but they still have a long way to go.

MVP’s were Bartek Cieslar for the Rebels and P Dziubiak for the Falcons

Volleyball match report 21/10/2014

Raiders v MK Enigma

Well this was the opening game of the season for the Raiders and one would have to say that it showed. Service reception and coverage were a bit rusty and the amount of kill hits was not great. MK have changed their team structures this season looking to blend the beginners with their more established players.

The Raiders were slightly quicker out of the blocks and took a solid lead in the first set on the back of some solid serving from Jay Whittaker. The lead was extended with a couple of stuff blocks . G James was the stand out hitter for MK and regularly sided out. Paul Ashton had a good run of serves for Mk but it was not enough to close the gap. Loz Denton showed the value of putting serves deep into court scooping 7 points to take out the set.

 Zaki’s entrance onto court in set 2 gave MK more movement and coverage back court. It was far more closely contested and with harder hits and bigger blocks. However it was the overpasses from both sides that saw some interesting net play. Both sides had runs of 6 points on serve yet it was another 3 point run from last year’s player of year Andy Turner that took the set for the Raiders. This was his last contribution of the game as he had to leave. So he was blissfully unaware of the swings in fortune that were to occur in the 3rd set.

Raiders set off into a 7-1 lead only to suffer a meltdown on service reception dropping 10 points on the Paul Aston serve. Confusion reigned in the Raiders backcourt but they were spared more blushes with a big stuff block from Darren and Rik. The frailties of the defence were exposed time and again by G. James but Christian Miles popped up several times with power hits for the Raiders and they edged to the set 25-23.

This was a good opening game for the Raiders giving them, a winning start and plenty of things to work on. MVP’s were G James for MK and Keith Barnett for the Raiders. Thanks to Piotr for his assistance.







Mens Volleyball match report

Northampton Uni  v Raiders

The old men of the Raiders returned to the Everdon Sports Hall for the first time in 20 years.  A couple of the players remembering their last visit there were able to draw on a considerable amount of experience. If we are honest the net was actually a little bit low but this only made the Raiders feel 5 years younger. Andy Turner blazing the trail in the first set with a string fine hits and even a couple straight down the line. The treatment that the Uni offered to the ladies earlier in the evening was being returned, this time by the Raiders Men.

Rob Hollemans showed that the way to start scoring points was to get your serve over. Then if you stopped the opposition attack with the block as by Ian and Rik then it was easy. Set 1 to the Raiders 25-11.

Set 2 was a lot closer for a start as Uni boys  Lukash and Shakiem hit through the block and threw themselves around the court picking up the ball. This little cameo was brought to an end by the Andy Turner serve, deep, hard and fast to the corners the Uni could not get the ball to the setter. A 9 point gap opened up. The Uni’s  woes were added to when Ian Greaves rolled back the years rose and nailed a fast attack inside the 3m line what could you say!!  Pressure off and the Raiders jump served to the set win 25-10.

Set 3 continued in the same vane for the Raiders Loz Denton making some big blocks (he did lose out in a shoving match with Kasia) Windmill serves, pancake pickups were all thrown in 25-16 game set and match for the Raiders .

 The Raiders chances of making the playoffs are still slim and other results will need to go in their favour if they are to do it but this result won’t harm the cause at all.

MVPs were named as Lukash for Uni  and Neil Bates  for the Raiders. 


 Ladies Volleyball match report

Northampton Uni v Raiders’

With availability being an issue for this game the ladies were already on the back foot when one of the players went down sick. So the task ahead of them got bigger. Not really the ideal time to make your debut but that is just what Alison Kelly and Lucy Ekins did. Yet the gulf in standard between the teams was not that great. Northampton Uni did have 2 strong players who could hit hard.

In the first set the Raiders struggled to side out quickly and allowed the Uni to score a couple of points on each rotation.  They lost the set 25-12. Deflated from the first set, the second set went even quicker for the Raiders as Kasia hit some thumping serves to which the ladies had no reply. A 10 point lead opened up for the Uni and they didn’t look back.

Coming out for the 3rd set there was more of a positive air about the Raiders. If we’re going down we’re going down fighting. Serves improved, court movement improved, and there was even a couple of blocks thrown in. Did someone dive or did they just trip over! Unfortunately, once again it was 1 service reception that caught the Raiders out with a 5 point drop.  They battled hard and got the score to a respectable 25-18.

 The uni coach said that it was a shame that we hadn’t been able to put out a stronger side but he was impressed with the attitude of the new players.

The MVP’s were Kasia for Uni and Natasha Bates  for the Raiders.

Mens Volleyball match report

Bosworth College v Raiders

Any thoughts Raiders had about this being an easy game were dispelled with the first few rallies. The  youth and exuberance of the Bosworth team throwing themselves around on backcourt took the Raiders by surprise. Also the skill level of the libero Kok Howe was impressive. The Raiders didn’t help their cause with a string of poor hits and lack lustre serves. The College took the 1st set 25-22. Keith Barnett and James Parsons-Moore entered the fray in the 2nd set, and this coupled to a change in the Bosworth line up resulted in Raiders levelling the score.

Keeping the line up the same in the 3rd set Raiders made a solid start and took an impressive lead. At 13-7 it looked like it was in the bag. However Dickie Chan re entered the court for Bosworth and with some excellent serving brought the college back to level. Ian Greaves hit some solid spikes through the middle but couldn’t find the floor. In the end it was a Raiders error that gave the set to the College. The fitness of the old guys was being thoroughly tested in set 4 with Bulent Tatar s the set a couple of the Bosworth hits went long and the Raiders scraped the set 26-24. So an hour and  half gone and it was into the deciding set. Bosworth won the toss and elected to serve, a clean hit from Rob  Hollemans mad the it 1-0. This was extended to 6-0 with consistent serving from Neil Bates, yet the repost from Bulent was better taking Bosworth into the lead 8-6. Raiders brought Darren Bates back on to assist with service reception and it worked. The tactic worked and a side out was won, the rallies remained tight and with the caretaker  prowling time was running out. The Raiders were the first to have match point, though they wasted it with a poor hit. Was this the opportunity lost? 14 all. So it all boiled down to a couple of points and for a change it was a hit winner from Ian Greaves that sealed the set and the match for the Raiders.

The relief for the Raiders was as great as the disappointment for the College. The game was played in great spirit and for the crowd that were watching they were thoroughly entertained. MVP’s were Dickie Chan for Bosworth and Neil Bates for the Raiders.



Mens Match report

Kettering  v  Raiders

The Raiders travelled bright eyed and bushy tailed to Southfield school in Kettering. Well some of the players were bright! The rest not quite so. The mood in the hall though was sombre as one of the Kettering squad had been informed of a family bereavement.

The Raiders starting 6 saw Laurence Denton make his debut for the club after being out of volleyball for a number of years. The league newcomers were a bit of a European mix held together by their coach Said Yazid. In the first set Raiders cruised it  25-8

In set 2 Ian Greaves came on for Darren Bates and what he lacked in backcourt movement he made up for with his blocking. Pavel Sobin had some good hits for the Raiders and was enjoying the front court tussles with Said.  Blocking and being blocked. The Raiders backcourt were picking up more than Kettering and this the difference and the Raiders went on to take the set 25-15

In the 3rd set Said was looking to catch the Raiders out will many 2nd ball attacks but the seasoned campaigners that the Raiders are were up to it.

The game was played in good humour and reffed by Junior Raider Kierran Bates.

MVP’s  were Said Yazid for Kettering and Neil Bates for the Raiders 


Ladies match report

Raiders v MK City

The Raiders ladies entertained MK city at the Ferrers Specialist Arts College. After a few setup issues the game got underway.  The first few points for each side were gained by errant serves. However Sandra and Manuela from City showed that solid serving into court was the way to go picking up handfuls of points. City took the set 25-4. The Raiders found their serving shoes in the 2nd set and what a difference it made. The rallies got longer and the set became more competitive. Amy Heafield playing in her first match for the Raiders gained 4 points on serve.

 The hitting from both teams improved but the with better court positioning City were able to pick up more of the attacks. They went on to take the set 25-11.

Manuela rejoined the City line up in the  3rd set  and it slowed the Raiders progress down.  The competitiveness of the rallies improved but some poor digging and setting from the Raiders passed the initiative to City.  They took the set 25-13 and the game 3-0

The MVP’s were Sabine from MK City and Rachel Walker for the Raiders

Thanks to Ian Greaves and Sue Walker for officiating. 


Ladies match report

Falcons v Raiders

The fledgling team Raiders ladies travelled to Wellingborough for their 2nd game in a week. With enforced squad rotation, in came Hannah, Emma and junior player Kierran.
The game started brightly and in the early exchanges the scores remained close at 7-5 at the end of the first rotation. However things changed when Debbie Varnfield came to the service line. Serving with pace and precision to the sidelines the Falcons scored a run of 9 points. This took the wind out of the Raiders and they didn’t recover, they eventually lost the set 25-9.

The second set followed the same pattern, this time even to 3 all, the server  that did the damage for the Falcons this time was Tara Field.  Apart from this blip the Raiders were starting to pick the ball up and set up some attacks. Pick of the Raiders hitters was Jana Mortimer. Kierran Bates was subbed on to add movement into the Raiders back court. The points difference between the sides remained the same. The Raiders didn’t help themselves with some poor serving. Missing the opportunities to gain more points. They eventually lost the set 25-15.

Set 3 was probably best forgotten for the Raiders. They managed some good digs and sets but couldn’t manage enough of them. Once again Debbie Varnfield’s serve was the major tormentor of the Raiders backcourt though Mel Gray chipped in to take the set.

The Falcons were always favourites to win the match and they ended up doing it in emphatic style.  That said there were many complimentary comments for the Raiders and the standard they had reached in such a short period of time.

MVP’s were Debbie Varnfield and Kierran Bates 


Ladies Match report. 2012-2013 season


A new era for the Raiders ladies got under way on the 5th November. They travelled to Milton Keynes struggling for numbers due to unavailability’s. Not wishing to see the girls short Michelle Bates came out of retirement again to help Rachel, Tash and the 3 newcomers .

A bit like the fireworks the game got off to a slow start. Milton Keynes getting the better of the opening exchanges until Ogbeifun came to the service line. Hitting powerful overarm serves she scored 13 points as the Raiders couldn’t handle the reception. MK went on to take the set 25-6.

The 2nd set however was a completely different story. Starting to realise where they were on court the Robyn Foward and Jana Henderson began to move and cover. This added to some good serving from Tash and Rachel the Raiders were in the game. At 16-18 it was anybodies set but experienced heads of Davy and Ratcliffe from the serving line opened up the 6 point lead to take the set.

The 3rd and what turned out to be the final set saw the best volleyball of the evening with both teams starting to put up attacks. Tash Bates having the hit of the game although unfortunately for the Raiders it went just long. MK’s hitting wasn’t as powerful but very effective, hitting into the holes and making Becky Stabler and the rest of the backcourt work hard. The lack of court awareness for the Raiders proved to be their undoing. MK went on to the set 25-12.

The crowd were well entertained and felt that the Raiders played well. Considering that for 3 of the girls it was  their first ever game they did well, but they now have an appreciation of what they need to work on. 






Match reports for the new season will be posted as soon as games are played. 



 The men had a successful campaign in the 2011-12 tie-ing the league with Northampton..




2011-2012 Season

The Raiders entertained last years league winners knowing that it was likely to be a tough game as their last 3 encounters had gone to five set. Their chances were not improved as they were only able to field 6 players. Keith Barnett making is first full appearance since undergoing extensive knee surgery earlier in the year.
The game commenced and the first 2 rallies lasted at least 50 shots. For the ageing Raiders this was not what they were looking for. Solid serving from Kev Smith and Danny Singh saw Northampton take the early advantage. Both sides were attacking well through the middle with Aidan Woolridge causing the most problems. His laid back approach to  the net left Northampton believing that he wasn't in the attack and consequently shifting their back court coverage. But his height jump and reach allowed him to get something on the ball and more often than not the point for the Raiders. That said the game was close. Northampton weren't going to let that get to them and enlisted the help of Lady luck. She was summoned many times through the match, always at the business end of the set and on each occasion leaving the Raiders flat footed on their coverage. Both sides covered well with full length dives saving many a point Andy Turner, Kev Smith and Neil Bates being the main exponents. Northampton took the first set 25-20, The second set was even closer though it eventually went the way of the Raiders 27-25, Northampton came back in the third set 25-21. Raiders took the fourth set 25-16 on the back of some excellent serving by Darren Bates and 2 cracking blocks by Rik Haycock. Come the deciding set and it was Northampton that raced off into a 8-2 lead courtesy of some bad digging by the Raiders, a couple of good hits by Ant Moffatt and a couple of points off the net band by lady luck. Raiders did make in roads into Northampton's lead after the change over but a big block from Terry Gibbs and Kev Smith sealed the game for Northampton 15-12.
The game lasted over an hour and three quarters and every body knew that they had been in a good game.
MVP's Were Ant Moffatt for Northampton and Aidan Woolridge for the Raiders.
Congratulations to Rob Hollemans and his family on the birth of his son Quinn 






Kingsthorpe v Raiders

If it wasn't for the fact that Raiders have a lot of old heads they could have been intimidated by the height advantage of the Kingsthorpe squad. Tanis putting several hits in the warm up over the balcony. But as the saying goes the warm up is for show and the game is for the dough.
The game commenced and predictably it was a close affair. Both sides making big hits and errors. Raiders made the first move taking a 12-7 lead on the Andy Turner serve but this was soon wiped out when Tanis pulled 6 points back for the Kings however it wasn't enough and Raiders pinched the first set. 25-23 The Kings made acouple of changes in the 2nd set but the end result was the same. Tanis again hitting some big bombs but it was the variation from the Raiders that was keeping them in it. However the Kings were making a good job of blocking Andy Turner and Darren Bates. This though did provide the Raiders middle hitters the opportuntiy to get into the game and they took the set 25-23. Both teams changed the line ups in set 3 and the Kings benefitted. Finding a poor Raiders rotation Jacob managed to pull a five point lead for the Kings. To be fair the Raiders did make a few hitting errors that didn't help there cause and they ended up losing the set 25-15. set 4 saw the Raiders return to their starting rotation but they didn't manage to regain the momentum of the opening set and the Kings took it 25-23. So it all boiled down to the final set. Neil Bates put Raiders into the early lead but this was cancelled out canny serving from Jacob. After the change of ends Aidan Woolridge hit 3 fast balls through the middle and was part of the match winning block for the Raiders.

It was a cracking game and lasted over an hour and a half. On the whole it was played in a good spirit.
There were a few tight calls and a few characters got a little bit psyched up. 
Aidan Woolridge was named as Raiders MVP and Matt Almond for the Kings.




Keynes as their home venue was literally floorless. In the first set the Raiders put out a familar starting 6 and fairly quickly opened up a convincing lead. Strong serving from Rob Hollemans and Rik Haycock put the MK service reception under pressure. Unable to put up a strong attack the Raiders were able to pick up the ball backcourt and even though not firing on all cylinders the Raiders hitters were able to capitalise and they took the set 25-12.

In set 2 Raides introduced debutant Fergus Murray and Greg Kilpin into the fray. Given that he had only been playing for 5 weeks and had never played in a full team game Fergus accounted for himself very well throwing himself around the court. On the backdrop of Andy Turner's serve Raiders opened up a 7 point lead though this was clawed back with some wily serving from MK's Bill Donaldson however it was not enough to stop the Raiders taking the set 25-19

Rotating the squad for the Raiders did not effect the score for the 3rd set and they took this again 25-19.

 This was a good game for the Raiders to start the season. it showed that the early season training sessions still need to be built on if they have any hopes of bringing the league title back to Rushden. the MVP's were voted as Darren Bates for the Raiders and S Similaki for Milton Keynes



Raiders come away from Moulton with 3-1 win

The Raiders made the short journey to Moulton on a cold winters evening and managed to turnout what is their full squad. Keith Barnett put his name on the score sheet but wasn't intending to play.The game set off and the Raiders were the first to get into their stride. Aidan Woolridge making good use of his height hitting over and through the Northampton block. Rik Haycock put the Northampton dig under pressure and racked up 7 points on his serve. This saw the Raiders into a 19-9 lead.There were a couple more side outs and raiders took the set 25-12.
In set 2 the late arriving Ant Moffat came onto court. The Raiders changed Greg Kilpin for Andrew Turner and he made some excellent pick ups back court. But it was Ant Moffat, Mark Coleman and J Cook that were beating the Raiders block. At 16-9 down Northampton were in the in the driving seat. But as Aidan Woolridge started serving the Raiders block of Rik Haycock and Rob Hollemans stepped up to the plate with 4 big blocks. This coupled with some incisive hitting from Darren Bates Saw teh Raiders turn the set round and to take a 21-19 lead. After that it was a few side out and Raiders were 2 sets up. At this point the Raiders brought on the experienced Ian Greaves for Rik Haycock and things were relatively unchanged until Ant Moffat found the short serve to be the Raiders Achilles heel. 7 points later Northampton were into a comfortable lead and S Vickers finished off the set for Northampton.
This lead the Raiders to make a radical rotational changes. Darren Bates took on one of the setters roles and Rik Haycock moved out to the wide hitting role opposite the returning Andy Turner. The jewel in the Raiders attack though was Aidan Woolridge who discovered that he didn't need to try and break the floorboards with the hit when a dump over the top of the block was just as effective. Two runs of three point for the Raiders at the start of the set opened up a six point lead which they were to maintain for the rest of the set. They went on to take the set 25-19 and the match 3-1.
This was a far better performance from the Raiders than the one against the Falcons and they were deserved winners MVPs were nominated as Neil Bates for the Raiders and Ant Moffat for Northampton

Men also suffer 3-0 defeat at the hands of Falcons

Raiders put out almost the full squad for this one. Well Aidan was a bit late but got there eventually. You would have to say the Raiders back court was well below par in this one as opposed to the Falcons defence that let very little hit the floor. Falcons fielded 2 or 3 ladies in the team but that didn't affect teh flow too much.


Battling Junior improve in each set but not enough to take a set. 

A real pull together side had a good go at the Falcons. But went down 3-0

Raiders v Bosworth

Raiders entertained the boys from Bosworth College and managed to take the points. Court rusty woudl be an understatement

Pumas teach Juniors harsh lesson 

The juniors travelled to Lings to play Northampton Pumas with jut 6 players. They arrived to find Puma's had got a full squad out. In the first set the Juniors made a reasonable start and were only a couple of point behind. However the Pumas started to find their stride and started putting the hits away. The juniors lack of court time  started to show and the Pumas went on to take the set 25-8.

In the 2nd set, things didn't get any easier for the Juniors. The power and guile of the Pumas serve showed that the juniors will need to work as a team more on service reception. They went down 25-9.

In set 3 Raiders started ok but then something occured that will not happen very often. A. Markiel served 24 straight serves and the Pumas took the set 25-2

On the basis that the Pumas are probably the strongest team in the league this was a good bench mark for the Juniors.


Falcons show juniors how to serve up success

The Juniors produced another rollercoaster performance. In this instalment of junior matches it was the Falcons that were to show the Juniors the importance of getting the serve over. In the first set the initial exchanges were close and the scores stayed that way up till 14-13. But that was where it all started to go wrong for the Juniors.  A couple of poor digs put the juniors further behind and the confidence drained. Strong serving by E Whewell and A Horvath saw the set out for the Falcons.

In set 2 Raiders brought on a couple of the newer players and some harsh lessons were learn't. If the ball is coming towards you you need to dig it. To dig the ball you need to move. Corinne Llobet proved to the juniors that when you get the chace to serve make them count. Scoring 10 points put the Falcons well in control and with a further 8 coming from Tannia Field it was all over.

Set 3 Raiders reverted to a more conventional line up and the game took on a whole new complexion. Raiders were starting

Juniors inconsistency costs at Milton Keynes 
Category: All
Posted by: neilbates
The juniors travelled to Milton Keynes without the services of a couple of key players. That said, they started brightly enough  
Raiders have fun at MK City
Raiders made the all too familiar trip to Milton Keynes and the result was another Raiders 3-0 win.This time the opposition was MK City. The tone for the game was set when Kurt Hanssen jump served Raiders into a 10-3 lead. With so much pace on the ball the City defence could just not get the ball to the setter. With that lead the Raiders coasted. Layne Walker did pick up 4 serving points for  City but Raiders took the set 25-16.In the second set Ian Greaves played the front rotation and help the Raiders to a 14-7 lead before making way for Greg Kilpin. Though it was the Raiders power hitters of Kurt and Christian that were doing the damage. Hitting through and over the block on most occasions. At 23-11 the set looked dead for city by Neil Sanders snatched 7 points in a last Hurrah! As confusion on the backcourt lead to some pretty poor digs from the Raiders. In set 3 Darren Bates took to the court for the first time since his shoulder operation and after half a rotation decided that he had done enough, back onto court came Kurt and after another  3 booming serves Raiders had their noses in front again. Ian again made way for Greg and this time he was up to speed with the action and made some good pickups back court. The glory of match point went to Aidan Woolridge who hit an unopposed fast attack.Raiders always had more fire power than City and were in essence always favourites for the win. This was useful court time for Greg and Aidan.  
Raiders repeat result at Milton Keynes

The Raiders travelled to Milton Keynes for the 2nd time this season and the result was the same. Raiders came away with a 3-0 set victory. The warm up wasn't the most inspiring and neither was the game. Raiders went into a 17-2 lead in the first set on the back of consistent serving from Neil Bates and Ian Greaves with Christian Miles chipping in with 4 points. First set to the Raiders 25-9.
In the second set Karsten came on for Ian and whilst the knowledge  

Raiders Juniors v Milton Keynes
In their second outing the juniors entertained Milton Keynes ladies. But even in front of home supporters they were unable to record their first win.
Having won the toss and deciding to serve it didn't start well. First serve into the net, this was to be a problem that was going to haunt the team all game. That said, Hannah Miles put a string of 6 serves together to take the Raiders into the lead 6-4. Unfortunately that was the last time Raiders were in lead. The MK ladies were more consistent with their serves and were able to gain the odd point before the Raiders sided out. Silke Albrecht showed the Raiders how to serve and on 2 occasions scored 5 points in a row. MK ladies took the set 25-16.The Raiders swapped it round in the 2nd set putting Jake Westley through the middle and giving Leah Sanders a go hitting through he outside.  Up until 11-9 the Juniors were still in it. Then came another horrible service reception run for the Raiders again Silke doing most of the damage with 9 points only to be followed up with 6 points from Anne Mills. 25-11
In set 3. Oh for a Raiders serve over the net! To start with they managed to side out reasonably well. 8-7 down was where it all went wrong 5 points to Ann Mills, 4 to Jackie Haywood, and 5 to Debbie Hopkins. 25-12 was the final score in that set.
Milton Keynes ladies were well worth the 3-0 win. The juniors showed in small patches that they can play and that they have the potential. To be more competitive they have got to tidy up on their serving and be more positive on service reception.
Raiders beat Northampton in 3 sets
Category: All
Posted by: neilbates

The Raiders put out almost a full squad for this one a real blend of youth and experience. In the first set  the Raiders opted for the tried and trusted rotation. With the exception that onthis occasion Christian was playing through the outside and not the middle. The Raiders frailties in defense were one again highlighted by a sequence of serves from Danny Singh. It took a while for the Raiders offence to get under way but Christian started to exploit the height advantage he had to hit both the line and he cross court causing problems in both areas. However the canny Kev Smith time and again flicked the second ball over into the Chasm that was Raiders centre court. With the poor ball coming in from back court it was the middle that was struggling to cough into life and several points were squandered with errant hits. That said Raiders were sailing and took the set 25-16. Karsten appeared in set 2 for the Raiders and his time off with injury was obvious as his timing was not quite there. The change didn't affect the Raiders and Christian was still thumping the ball. The block was now doubling up on him but they couldn't stop the wipe off's. With pandamonium occuring in back court Rik and Geoff chased a  dodgy pick up and the debate as to who should play it still rumbles on. ( The point went to the Raiders with a delicate volley onto the netband by Kurt that dropped stone dead and left Northampton feeling like they'd been robbed). Rik's biggest and cleanest hit came from a return ball from Northampton which put the smile back on his face. Not for long though as a couple of sitters were squandered and at the end of the set was substituted for Greg Kilpin. Raiders took this set 25-17.

With a new middle line up for the 3rd set things were a lot tighter. Karen York made an entrance for Northampton and with the better ball coming in to the setter more hits were coming from Andy Moffat. Greg Kilpin was nearly up to the challange. Getting about 50% block rate. With more games under his belt this figure should improve.  Christian and Kurt continued to lay siege to the Northampton back court and the Raiders edged closer to the victory. A one handed reverse set from Geoff caused uproar in the Northampton defense but Raiders took the point. Raiders took the set 25-23 with a mid rally comibination hit from Kurt.

The games outstanding hit would have to go to the fast middle ball hit by Christian from a set from Geoff as he was nearly on the floor. The Northampton block stood and watched in disbelief as the ball thundered into the court just behind the 3m line.   

Raiders Juniors v Falcons
Battling performance by the juniors not quite enough to come away with the points.
After weeks without a game and a horrendous game against Cambridge the Juniors came into this game fresh and keen.
Starting brightly with serving from Jake Wesley and Hanna Miles the Raiders took an early lead. This however was to be short lived as Karen York came to the service line for the Falcons and the Raiders struggled wit the pace of the serve. When they did manage to break the sequence the scoring was fairly even. Josh Windatt was the Power hitter for the Raiders and for the most part was hitting unopposed. The set was closed out with another 4 power serves by Karen.
In Set 2 the wheels fell off hte Raiders serve and without the opportunity of scoring more that one point were always fighting an uphill battle. The Falcons on the other hand found 2 other players to support the York serve and took the set 25-15.
In the 3rd and what turned out to be the final set the Raiders went 14-5 down and it looked like an early end to the evening but debutant Rachel Walker came back on and the Raiders rallied to final score of 25-19.
This was a tremendous improvement from the previous game and they made the Falcons work for the points.

Kingsthorpe v Raiders Men 

Kingsthorpe run out of time against Raiders

The Raiders turned up for this Saturday fixture some at 3pm and others at 3:30. Whoops! After a protracted warm up the game got underway at 3:57pm. In the first set there were long rallies, solid serving from the Raiders and some misunderstanding in the Raiders covering. On at least 5 occasions 2 or 3 players started to move for the ball and then stopped expecting someone to commit. This didn't happen and the ball hit the floor. Midway through the set controversy rose over some suspect handling. On the up side Christian was being incisive through the middle and Darren and Kurt through the outside. Their oppsite number however was having a lot of success through the outside as Christian hadn't yet got his blocking head head on. Raiders managed to take the set 25-22. In set 2 The Raiders started to motor. Running combination attacks through the middle and the outside the Kings block was confused again and again. The old legs of the Raiders were holding up well in defece as well with some great pickups.
Whoops! lost 3-1 Has the title chance gone with this result!!
Raiders Juniors v Cambridge 0-3
I am reliably informed that the less said about this game the better. A catalogue of disasters, errors, bad serving, lost confidence and generally poor play. The visitor Cambridge turned up with 5 Players and this upset the Raiders Rhythm for the start, though with Jake and Sam making their entrance late, it was 5 a side.

From the reports I have been given, the rallies in this game were good to watch but unfortunately for the Raiders it was them that came out on the wrong side of them.
Finding themselves as cornerstones of the team Rachel and Hannah responded by leading from the front and getting their serves into play. It would also appear that they took notice of the preceding training session than was first thought. Moving on court still is a weakness but should only get better with practice. Sophia in her first full game showed that she has power to win points and with a bit more control could become a pivotal player for the Raiders.

As the game went on confidence grew and the task of winning a set was broken down into smaller goals. This meant that they could concentrate on the game within a game. As the set scores reveal this was working but not quite well enough.

If the experiences gained are taken to heart this will only bode well for the future.

Considering the team was without 5 of the regular players this hass to be seen as a good effort. 

Rachel Walker was named as Rushden's MVP

Set Scores 25-8, 25-12, 25-18

Falcons v Raiders Men
Raiders raise their game to take local derby.
In this instalment of the Rivalry it was the Falcons that took first blood. Making home court advantage count David Blach made the decisive gambit with strong sequence of serves. Raiders struggled to control the first ball, consequently the attacks were not incisive. Andy Lord and John Gray time and again finding that the coverage behind the Raiders block was missing. Wilson Mutepra showed the Raiders that they needed to step up with their defence. Falcons took the set 25-18.
In set 2 Raiders brought on the height and youth of Christian Miles and Aidan Woolridge. What they brought to the game was additional height and power. Falcons targeted them in defence and these factors nearly counteracted themselves. Raiders attack moved up a gear but it was a while before the service errors disappeared. The thing that tipped the balance the Raiders way was the tactical substitutions bringing on Ian Greaves for his blocking prowess and Jake Shurville for his backcourt digging.This paid dividends as Raiders went from 20-21 down to take the set 25-21.
Set 3 followed a similar pattern set 2 but with Christian Miles locking onto more of the power hits and gaps in the Falcons block started to appear. Rik and Kurt being able to get showboat hits. Sometimes they went well and sometimes they didn't go too well. Raiders took the set 25-18.
In the 4th set the intensity level went up and the so did the standard of the rallies. Raiders were more aggressive in the offence and block but Falcons were competing on the backcourt and using tactical hits to stay in the game. When the final whistle went at 25-21 it was the Raiders that took the points.
It was a good contest with both sides having the desire to win. Andy Lord would be the pick of the Falcons but there would have been many of the Raiders with their name in the hat.
Men's match
Rushden Raiders v MK City
City Slickers get no change from the Raiders. The City boys travelled to Rushden on a cold friday night with six fit players. Raiders had a few injury worries but with the youngsters coming through were able to see 3 on the bench. In set 1 they fielded their strongest 6 and after a few points made the advantage count. Christian Miles caught the eye with some big power hits though with the Layne Walker setting and taking op the outside position on the block Raiders back court movement was shown to be a bit slow. City though had a sequence of poor first passes coming from the Neil Bates serve, this coupled with a string of service errors the City boys conceeded the set 25-14. Set 2 saw wholesale changes for the Raiders but the momentum was maintained. Jake Shurville hitting some good shorts unopposed and Greg Kilpin making some unusual returns. At 18-10 it looked like the set was dead and buried but Layne Walker and Stuart Rudiger showed the frailties of the youngsters digging and managed to pull it back to 24-23. It was at that point that the City serve failed again to give the Raiders the set. More changes for the Raiders in set 3 and this time the momentum was surrendered. But with the older heads back on the court the experience of Hannsen and Greaves was enough to see the Raiders home.
Many mistakes were made by both sides in this encounter. Raiders ran out deserved winners but will have to raise the standard with tougher tests to come.
Rushden "Ladies" V Polish VB
All those months ago, Rushden "ladies" faced tough opponents Polish VB. The lively game was tough for Rushden but in the first set they played decent volleyball and thanks to good digging from the back court they achieved a respectable score of 16 points against a very well organised and skillfull opposition.
However, as Polish VB continued to play well, their smashes overpowered the Rushden side and the digging standard dropped, leaving Rushden trailing behind to Polish VB who went on the win the set 25-11. The third set continued in the same way, and the Polish VB team continued to serve well, and win points using strong attacks. The rushden "ladies" couldn't overpower their opposition and they struggled to launch winning attacks. The score was once again 25-11, leaving the Rushden team with plenty of digging drills lined up for training!!
Raiders v Kingsthorpe
The Raiders entertained Kingsthorpe knowing that one of the unbeaten records was going to go. Raiders were 5-0 and the Kings were 4-0.
Both teams were just about at full strength and a tough game was in prospect and that's exactly what we got. Through the first set Raiders had the upper hand. The Kings made a double substitution at 15-12 bringing on Dave Goddard and Lucas Kowalzcuk they added more to the Kings mobility and court awareness. With a couple of hits clipping the line the Kings saw out the set 25-22. Raiders pulled on Dave Hutchinson and Christian Miles for set 2 and what turned out to be set 3 and 4. The rallies continued to be close and hard fought. The Raiders kept getting caught out by the strong Kings block which when in the right place was solid, though with more attacking options and playing some complex routines the Raiders hitters often found themselves with a free hit. How many did they put out? Enough to take the win from being comfortable to being close. The back court work was worth a mention though some good hitting from Matthias beat the Raiders cover to the floor. The noise level in the hall was a lot lower than the previous match though both teams were happy to come away without sustaining any further injuries.The Raiders closed out the game 3 sets to 1 but not before a couple of controversial points right at the death. All in all the toughest match by far for the Raiders.
Rushden Raiders v Falcons Men
This local derby had all the excitement and passion of previous derby's. Falcons were missing some of their big guns but the Raiders were also men down. The rallies were tight and well contested. John Gray and Jake Shurville were having some good exchanges at the net until the latter went over on his ankle. So for the 3rd year in a row the Raiders lost a player to injury. Dave Hutchinson came on as replacement and the Raiders went on to take the set. Andy Lord was the flag star hitter for the Falcons hitting some real lost cause sets and gaining the point. Yet for all the heroics front court it was back court where the game was to be won or lost. John Gray and Andy Lord were doing a grand job but they were being outshone by Andy Turner. Some of his pickups were sublime for an old'un.
The game ebbed and flowed but it was the Raiders that finally came out on top to take the match 3-1
Rushden Raiders v Bosworth College   
For this home fixture the Raiders almost turned out a full squad. With Bulent Tatar now having hung up his kneepads it was left to the students to fly the flag. The Raiders went with Aidan and newcomer Greg Kilpin through the middle, Kurt and Christian through the wing. The set was dominated by a strong serving sequence from Kurt Hanssen. The students did come up with some winners but struggled to put the Raiders under pressure on service reception. Raiders took the set 25-14.
Players changed for both sides in set 2 but with the depth of experience on the bench for the Raiders were holding all the aces. With Greavsie and Jake Shurville through the middle the attack should have speeded up through the middle. Though timing issues saw more mistakes at the beginning of the set than clean kill hits. It was Neil Bates that started to find the middle first, with Greavsie hitting unopposed to bring on the points. A few combination attacks followed but the attack of the match was a full court shoot set that was well and truly buried by Kurt. 25-16 to the Raiders.
In the 3rd set Christian and Geoff took on the setting duties and Aidan went to hit through the outside. He showed that he can hit the wing ball but court awareness and positioning will need a bit of working on. With Andy Turner finding the court a little bit short, it was the hitter that is Hanssen that came back on to finish the set and match in 3 sets.
With this being an early game in the season the students should improve a lot by the time the return match comes round. The Raiders were easy winners but with the Falcons next up things will be tougher.    

Northants Ladies Division

Milton Keynes v Rushden juniors   Monday 13th Oct 8.30pm  First game of the season and after the first two sets, boy did Rushden put up a fight!!
But it was not meant to be, and the game went 3 -0 to MK.
After losing two of their stronger players to the Raiders men’s team, the new crop had a lot more running and diving round the court to do.  Set 1. Winning the first point with a good smash from Josh Windatt Rushden were off to a good start - . However, this was short lived as Milton Keynes fought back and took a strong lead. In an effort to change fortunes Sam Windatt came on for Mikaela Bates half way through the set .  Set two.  Laura Simmonite put MK well and truely in front, Raiders could not get a good first ball and were all over the place. Bernie Westley ‘s strong serves brought Raiders up to 18 but Mk were too far ahead and at the end of the second set we were 2-0 down. Set 3. 5 consecutive serves from Tash Bates put Raiders way ahead of Mk. The spirit of Raiders lifted and we fought for every point. Tash’s and Hanna’s strong sets followed by good hits from middle hitters Bernie and Josh and outside hitters Mikaela and Jake enabled us to stay ahead of the game. Everyone chased the ball around the court and there were quite a few dives too!! Despite efforts from one of MK’s players shouting at us to be quiet this did not stop us and she stormed off the court!! At tis point MK had a time out and unfortunately for the Raiders, MK regrouped and in the end won 25 - 19. It was MK's consistency throughout the match that proved too much. Although, Rushden lost, they looked far more like a team and it looks promising for this season.  This was also  commented on by the other team! MVP’s were voted No 3 (L.Heeringa) for Mk and No 2 (Natasha Bates) for Rushden.  Match report by Mikaela Bates 
Northants League Men
MK City v Raiders 
The Raiders once again travelled to the City of roundabouts and again came away with the spoils. Like the other team in MK, City are in the process of rebuilding. Most of the team of championship side of 2006 have now left or are injured.
The first set was once again a little bit like serving practice all of the Raiders scoring multiple points on serve. Christian Miles was setting and linking up well with both Dave Hutchinson and Kurt Hanssen. Ian Greaves was playing out of position through the outside and took a long time to get his timing right but part way through the 2nd set was able to put some pace on the ball. Raiders took the first set 25-9 and the second set 25-13. The major damage was done by Kurt's powerful serve 10 points coming from it. Aidan Woolridge got in on the act with a couple of solo blocks before finding his range with his hits. The 3rd and what turned out to be the final set followed the same pattern. City's resistance came from Ivkina and Micah who both proved that given the right ball they could cause the Raiders problems. Their trouble was that there just wasn't enough support for them. Raiders took the set 25-17 and the game 3-0. Tougher test are on the Horizon but 2 out of 2 is not a bad start.
Raiders start 2008/9 off with good win.
The Raiders travelled away to MK with a mixture of youth and experience. Though to be truthfull more experience than youth. MK however were lacking in both. In the first set the Raiders laid out their stall. Solid serving from Andy Turner was backed up with solid hitting from Ian Greaves, Rob Hollemans and Jake Shurville. 10-0 Rob was on fire!
The MK serve was brought to an abrubt halt at the first attempt by a Shurville hit. Neil Bates then served up 12 points. If MK made the dig the set was poor. When the dig an set were ok the hit came up against a substantial Raiders block. When the hit came over the top of that the back court was moving freely. MK scored only 1 further point in the set 25-2 to the Raiders. MK shuffled the pack in set 2 and brought on Derek Simmonite, the Raiders pulled on Aiden Woolridge. This set started off tighter, not much in it at 6-4. Then Geoff Miles started waving his hand!! And boy how it waved. 3 one handed, reaction pick ups all point winners. If that was not enough to stall the MK fight back Greavesie was now managing to get on the end of the middle ball and unopposed by the block it was party time. 25-11 to the Raiders. In set 3 the Raiders went for it! Instead of relaxing and slowing down everyone was eager to get the ball and put it away. Even if Neil was taking 3 attempts to do it. Geoff and Aiden linked up well with a couple of attacks and hopefully this will be the start of things to come from Aiden. Raiders took the set 25-9, the game 3-0 and the points.
With Harder opposition it will be more difficult to repeat this sort of performance.
Last season
Falcons v Raiders Youth                                                               13/04/08 
School holidays Eh! Seven out of 12 juniors unavailable meant that the Youths had to pull Michelle Bates out of retirement again to fulfil this fixture. Well the biggest surprise for the Youths was that after Sam Shuttleworths serve they were 3-0 up. That unfortunately was as good as it was going to get. Once the Falcons started serving the lack of movement on service reception was highlight