It has been 82 weeks since their last National League outing and it was a much changed Dundee men’s team that took the court last Saturday in South Queensferry. They were also competing in a different division, with promotion to the Premier Division secured after the premature end to the season in March 2020.
The Dundee side could not have been given a tougher start as they took on champions, City of Edinburgh, in last Saturday’s opening fixture. The home side boasted eight internationalists in their team list and their ‘starting six’ showed no mercy in the opening set. Dundee’s new players, Michal Kowalski, Lewis Goor and Bartosz Ztwert, joined Bulgarian student Tony Gadzhev in a one-sided set. Edinburgh had a 9/7 lead when their play-maker, Fraser Brown, stepped up to the service line. By the time he served long and out of the back of the court, the home side had an 18/7 lead! Dundee were unable to make any impact on the home defence and struggled to mount any powerful attacks. The Champions moved smoothly to a 25/10 win.
A change of line-up gave the visitors a bit more height at the net and scores from Mike Coward, Tony Gadzhev and Bartosz Zywert kept the scores close. Edinburgh gave away several points in errors to help the visitors but another run of points at the end of the set gave a flattering 25/16 score to the home side to take the second set.
Another change of line-up for both sides gave Dundee some hope as they tried to find the correct balance to challenge Edinburgh’s power. Lewis Crockart and Michal Kowalski both scored well as the sides traded points. Tony Gadzhev and Rad Marinov were profitable in counter-attack and then Dundee had their own run of points to close the gap to 18/19. Marinov and Kowalski scored two net blocks and Gadzhev hit a big winner to level at 21/21. The Edinburgh power machine kicked in and a big scoring block followed by two attacks gave them the set 25/22, and the match 3/0.
It was an encouraging start to the top division for the new players, but the next game is equally tough, against Glasgow Ragazzi on Saturday, 16 October at home in Craigie High School.