The last match of the 2018/19 season took place on Saturday 27th April at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering. The Cup Final was between the reigning Champions of England and Durham Palatinates who were runners up in that competition. After an emotional and tough match, the eventual winners were Durham, who took the „topsy turvy” game 3:2 (14:25; 25:21; 15:25; 25:19; 15:7).
The start of the match was strongly in favour of the London based team. From the first whistle, the match was in control and IBB Polonia dictated the tempo until the end 14-25. Durham Palatinates took an early 3-0 lead in the second set forcing Simon Loftus to take an early time-out. Soon the game was level at 7 points each until at 20-16 Durham has re-established their early lead which they maintained until the end of the set 25-21. The third set began in a tit for tat manner until the first technical time-out which gave IBB Polonia an 8-6 advantage. Their lead was extended throughout the set which once again resulted in an emphatic 10 point winning margin. The fourth set was a reverse of this with Durham coasting through to a 5 point winning margin. This levelled the match at two sets each. The fifth set produced some very strong volleyball, with both teams fighting with everything they had, but it was the northerners who kept their nerve a little longer winning the last set.
The defeat in the final is the first loss this season for the team from London. Despite this loss, the season can be declared as a huge success. It was a historic season, with the team winning the very first European trophy in British volleyball, the 100% record in the SuperLeague and the
National title. There was also the signing of the Olympic and World Champion – Giba who has officially become a long-term partner of The Club, and not to forget the selling out of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace to continue Volleyball 2.0. Just like in 2017 during the CEV Challenge Cup match, the arena was packed to the rafters with over one thousand fans.
„I want to congratulate Durham Palatinates with their victory and our team for the hard fought game until the very end. Despite finishing with a loss, the season has been amazing and we can rest with a big smile on all of our mouths achieving so much on court and off court. I am very proud of our accomplishments and work of the players, coaching staff, management, sponsors – IBB Builders Merchants – and the supporters.” said IBB Polonia London Chairman Bartek Luszcz.
That is confirmed that the Head Coach will remain as Simon Loftus for the following season. The very experienced coach, of Scottish heritage, worked as Assistant Coach for Team GB before joining the team in 2018. For the moment however, the coaching staff will enjoy a well-deserved
break following nine months of hard work. Everyone has different plans for the next few weeks. Some start beach volleyball training right away, others will enjoy time at home with their loved ones whilst others are planning on some travelling. The break will allow everyone to rest, relax and to re-energise before the next season starts again.
„It is a total pleasure working with Simon Loftus. Following a number of years away from club volleyball and only coaching the National Team, he has returned to working in a club. We appreciate his method of working and the results he achieved over the season. We are still hungry for success and want to improve our own level, and because of this can’t wait until next season! But now it is a time for everyone to have a break and a rest, to reflect on the season and to start planning the 2019/2020 season. As usual, we are aiming for a number of exciting
surprises in the future.” concluded Luszcz.