Essex Rebel win Bronze Against Rivals Malory Eagles UEL

April 30, 2024
The Essex Rebels secure silverware after huge reverse sweep against Malory Eagles UEL.

Both Essex Rebels and Malory Eagles experienced losses in the Semifinals the day prior to the bronze medal match. The teams are rivals for a number of reasons, they share a history going back 25+ years. Coach Porter played for Malory in their heydays, Thomas Shatimehin, Thomas ‘TJ’ Jefferson and Asher Miller use to be on Malory’s junior teams. Chester Searle and Toby French played for the Rebels predecessor team and of course, the Shatimehin brothers, on each team.

Malory started the strongest of the two teams with two blocks, followed up with two Essex errors gave Malory a 6-2 lead. Attacks from Shatimehin and Ragland that would have resulted in kills the previous day were soaked up by Malory’s defence. Malory extended their lead to 12-6 as the Rebels started to get flustered. Lefteris Ioannou’s serve receive and defence kept the Rebels in the set as the teams traded points until England international and Malory opposite Nathan Fullerton killed the ball at 25-19.

Set 2 begin with how the first set finished with Shatimehin and Will Ragland ticking the scoreboard over. A big block from Jefferson and kill from Andrew Wood gave the Rebels a three point lead at 15-12. Vom Steeg sealed blocks against French and Cameron Carrington to maintain the lead 22-19. Hawkeye picked up the smallest of small foot faults from Vom Steeg when attacked which changed the momentum and the Rebels lost their focus for a moment. Over the next minute, French put the ball away and Shatimehin made an uncharacteristic error by tipping the ball over which clipped the net ariel to gift the set 25:24 to Malory.

In a similar manner to the first set, things weren’t going the Rebels way at the beginning of the third set finding themselves 11-5 down. Vom Steeg’s injury was slowing him down, Nico Gajkiewicz replaced him at 10-5 which was the catalyst for the Rebels. Kills from Jefferson, Vom Steeg and Gajkiewicz closed the gap to 15-13. Vom Steeg returned at 19:16. Lefteris Ioannou showed why he’s one of the best liberos in the country with spectacular defence to draw it level at 22-22. Three errors from Malory gave the set to the Rebels 25-22.

Set four was the strongest start for the Rebels. Three blocks from Vom Steeg and Wood and a kill from Wood put Rebels 5-1 ahead. Malory net faulted three times, another extreme angle kill from Vom Steeg took the score to 12-2. With the score looking so comfortable the Rebels took their foot off the gas allowing Malory to creep their way back into the game. Gajkiewicz replaced Vom Steeg at 14-9. At 14-11 Ben Osborne replaced Ragland after he took a knock to the thumb. Smart offensive decision making took the Rebels to 21-17 up. With long ralley and both teams hussling for each point Malory drew level at 22-22. At 25-25 Euan Frazer went up for a block and got wiped off, as he landed he slapped the referees post. The referee judged this as aggressive behaviour and sent Fraser off for the remained of the set. Up steps fan favourite Aldrin Rena to replace Fraser, he’s only played 6 points all season. Rena sets Wood then Shatimehin for kill. Shatimehin kills another followed by Gajkiewicz getting the biggest block of his career for the Rebels to win set point.

The fifth set is always a lottery and it looked like Rebels numbers were coming up as Malory net faulted 3 times to give the Rebels a 4-1 lead. Gajkiewicz got another block but Malory’s offence stepped up to give the Malory team the lead 8-7. An ace from Jefferson and a kill from Shatimehin restored the lead to 11-8. French went for broke and missed the court by millimetres. Gajkiewicz showed he’s been learning from Vom Steeg with a big kill down the line to give the Rebels match both which Ragland duly won with a swing off the Malory block.

After the game Coach Porter said:

I’m so happy for the team, they’ve worked incredibly hard for the last 226 days, to see there faces after the win will stay with me forever. They set out to win three medals this year and after winning BUCS Premier South, Derby Day and with today’s bronze, they achieved that. This was a special group to work with, they had each other’s backs through the highs and lows. People outside the group always comment on how the team and bench support each other, they put the team above their own needs. I will miss these guys.

Essex Rebels 3:2 Malory Eagles UEL

19:25, 25:25, 25:22, 28:26, 15:10

MVP: Aldren Rena

Written by Alex Porter

essex rebels women and men volleyball  group picture
Essex Rebels Team Huddle
Buy tickets

Don’t miss our next big game

Come and see fast-paced, action-packed, top-level professional basketball in a first-class venue. Match days offer family-friendly entertainment including a DJ, big screen, cheerleaders, interactive competitions, children’s activities, refreshments, and our larger-than-life mascot, Queen B.

We Are Rebels – come join the rebellion!

Book Tickets