Phoenix, from York VX Club, completed their clean sweep of all competitions recently as the won the UK Club Championships in style to emphasise their current dominance of the VX world.
Three years ago it was HellCats who completed the clean sweep, but they lost one match in the season, to Ripon Vanquish. Phoenix have achieved their clean sweep without losing a single match – and in another twist, Liam Leckenby has now done the clean sweep twice – once with HellCats and now with Phoenix!
At the UK Club Championships Phoenix, who were without injured captain Carl Alsop, watched as Scottish Champions, the Falkirk Cannons, shocked a weakened HellDivers by recording a storming 339:263 victory.
Phoenix were up next against Vanquish and gave notice of their intention as they ripped into the opposition from the off, building up their lead quarter by quarter to record a stunning win of 386:166.
Phoenix were on court again after a short break to face the Cannons who had performed so well against the HellDivers, but at the moment there isn’t a team that can touch Phoenix. Cannons, however, are not Scottish champions for nothing and fought back hard. Stung by Scottish response, Phoenix moved up a gear and increased their lead, but the Cannons still fought back and even took the last quarter but it wasn’t enough and Phoenix won their second match 311:212.
Next up was HellDivers against Vanquish, who came out of the blocks, tearing into their opponents, not letting them settle but HellDivers fought back hard and the first quarter difference was a mere 10 points in favour of Vanquish. Vanquish, however, superbly led by player-coach Tom Hildreth, were settling as a team swamped the HellDivers to go into the final quarter leading 197:145. HellDivers pulled out all the stops in the final quarter but all they could do was get close to Vanquish, losing the quarter by a mere two points and the match 245:191.
HellDivers then had to enter the maelstrom of a match against Phoenix who had one hand on the title and were determined there was going to be no upset. And so it proved to be – Phoenix swamped the exhausted, weakened HellDivers and stormed to a comprehensive victory 382:101, taking the title in an emphatic manner.
The final match, Cannons v Vanquish, was now set to decide second place. Both teams tore into each other but it was Vanquish that took the first period to lead 73:63. Cannons regrouped and fought back taking the second period by 8 points to go into half time losing by a mere two points. Shaken by this, player-coach Tom Hildreth, marshalled his team and, leading by example, ripped into the opposition. With Cannons unable to settle, Vanquish built up a 23 point lead to go into the final quarter sitting a little bit more comfortably. They had, however, underestimated the fighting spirit of the Cannons who were not going to give in. They upped the tempo and took the game to Vanquish who found themselves fighting a rear-guard action, feeling lucky in the end to hold back the Cannons and squeeze a 5 point victory, 274:269, thus claiming second spot in the UK’s top VX tournament. Not bad for a team tipped for relegation at the beginning of the season.
CEO of VX England, Ian Crosby, said: “What an amazing day. We have seen some superb VX, played in a great spirit of sportsmanship. We were delighted to welcome the Cannons. I know they have been rebuilding and these young people are clearly going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future – that is reflected in the well-deserved award of Player of the Tournament to Cannons’ Sara Plummer. Well done to Vanquish for the way they have turned their season round – but Phoenix! what can I say? Clean sweep with 100% record. It doesn’t get better than that!”