17 November 2017 / 26. Safar 1439

Posted by webmaster on January 13, 2015

An exhilarating, exhausting and ultimately extremely satisfying festival of volleyball took place over the weekend of 27th & 28th December 2014.

Elite teams from around the UK and two of the very best from Toronto arrived early to come and make history in the first ever Al Wilayah Cup hosted by Stanmore Jafferys.

 

The format gave the teams a good chance to really size up the opposition.

Round 1 had everything, United Stars of Toronto providing the biggest draw for the crowd.

United Stars V Stanmore A produced the most entertaining match.

Passion, will to win, intense competition, rivalry... this match had absolutely everything with Stanmore A prevailing as winners.

The biggest upset of round 1 saw United Stars come unstuck against a Stanmore C team looking for form.

 

Every team rolled on and off the court, as the Volleyball marathon carried on.

Stanmore A and Toronto Jafferys from the outset looked very strong winning their first few fixtures to guarantee a top 6 finish and therefore a berth in round 2.

Stanmore C , Stanmore D and Leicester all stayed rooted to the bottom of the league table meaning all 3 would have to play off in the eliminator league.

6th and 7th place was a tough fight.  An out of form Stanmore B and an inspired Birmingham B fought for the 6th automatic qualification spot.

Stanmore B prevailed meaning all the big hitters made their way through to round 2.

The eliminator round carried on deep into the night on Saturday, the bottom 4 teams scrapping it out to join the top 6.

Birmingham B and Leicester prevailed leaving the two host teams Stanmore C and D distraught as they crashed out.

 

Round 2 started with a real turn up. Stanmore B finally woke up and sent shock-waves through the field beating Stanmore A (the only unbeaten team) quite convincingly to make a real statement.

Round 2 saw the intensity level reach a zenith - no room for errors saw a focused sense of purpose from all teams.

United Stars and Toronto Jafferys upped their respective games. Both with seasoned tournament experience knew it was crunch time and this brought the best out of them.

Stanmore B really kicked on, after 5 of their matches sitting top of the tree.

Stanmore A recovered from their blip surging to the top positions too.

Round 2 ended with most players flat out on their feet.

 

It was a duel... Stanmore v Toronto in both semi finals.

 

Stanmore A continued their intense rivalry against United Stars... Toronto Jafferys played Stanmore B.

This really was a treat for the volleyball fanatic and neutral. Both courts boasted the highest calibre of games being played.

Toronto overcame Stanmore B and Stanmore A after a big sigh of relief finally silenced the lion that was Turab Kermally of United Stars.

 

The final was set, the lines drawn. The two best teams in the tournament faced off.  Best of North America against best of UK.

The anthems played, atmosphere hyped and the crowd baying for a good game.  Boy were they not disappointed.

What a spectacle this was. Captain Amirali set his team with a plan and took an early lead with MVP Mohamed Merali taking control from the back.

Toronto Jafferys experienced heads led by Muna and Hasnane tried all number of formation/personnel changes.

These brought them back into the game, but sadly time ran out and Stanmore won the first of the best of 3 final.

However, there seemed to be a tide change. Toronto competed more and both Muna and Khizr getting more ball fed superbly by best netty Shani-Abbas Kara.

Stanmore in game 2 were always behind the ball holding on to the coattails of a resurgent Toronto Jafferys.

The final poised at 1-1 it was time for heroes...

 

The crowd did their utmost to lift the team with renditions of "Ooooh Stress Merali...." and "Stanmore til I die..." to the amusement of some onlookers, but also provided the "11th Man" element in the cauldron that was Aldenham's Centre Court.

After hours of VB, stamina, technique and will to win came to the fore.

Both teams going hammer and tongs against each other waiting for the other to crack.

The crowd gasped with every close call, hopes raised with a Stanmore point and dashed with a snarling, prowling Toronto team's resurgence.

 

At the end younger legs told. Stanmore raised their game once again and put a marker down in the worldwide volleyball scene, Champions of Al Wilayah Cup 2014.

A disheartened Toronto team pushed them all the way and showed what true champions are made of, never giving up.

 

This tournament will long live in the memory not only due to the victory for Stammore, but through Al Wilayah the brotherhood and bonds forged between communities is a success that cannot be quantified.

We now look towards 2016 where the next Al Wilayah Cup will take place, with the Volleyball world looking at Stanmore certainly being the team to beat...Bring em on!!!

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