Kerala

The RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 witnessed some nail-biting, jaw-dropping and closely fought matches among city rivals in Season 1. Still, nothing came close to the Kerala derby between Calicut Heroes and Kochi Blue Spikers.

The teams have faced each other only once, but true to its name, the matchup wasn’t an easy walk in the park for either side.

Calicut Heroes and Kochi Blue Spikers met in Match 16, the tie crucial from the perspective of Calicut, who had registered just one win in their first four games.

Kochi, similarly, had just one win in three matches before the first-ever Kerala derby in the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23.

The match began with Calicut Heroes winning the first two sets 15-12 and 15-9, thanks to the striking prowess of captain Jerome Vinith, MC Mujeeb and Ajith Lal.

Staring at an early defeat, the likes of Erin Varghese, Deepesh Kumar Sinha and Abdul Raheem brought forward their never-say-die attitude to inspire the Spikers to bounce back and win sets three and four by scores of 15-9 respectively.

Come the tie-breaker set, Calicut Heroes and Kochi Blue Spikers were toe-to-toe early on. Once the score reached 11-10, Calicut pushed forward and claimed a 15-11 victory to win the game 3-2. Ajith Lal hit the winning points.

The result helped Calicut Heroes regain their confidence as they returned back on track to qualify for the playoffs.

At the end of the group stage, Calicut qualified for the playoffs before losing out to Kolkata Thunderbolts in straight sets (14-16,10-15,15-17). Kochi Blue Spikers, on the flip side, finished rock bottom with five defeats and one win in six matches.

Going into Season 2, both teams strengthened their squads with the aim of scripting a significant turnaround this time.

Calicut Heroes, for starters, have only retained two players - Jerome Vinith and Abil Krishnan MP - while Kochi would keep hold of three players in Erin Varghese, Dushyanth GN and Venu C.

While Calicut signed up Jose Antonio Sandoval (Cuba) and Matt Hilling (USA) from the overseas draft, Kochi brought in Brazil’s Walter Da Cruz Neto and Peru’s Eduardo Romay.

An exciting Season 2 of action awaits with the Kerala derby, scheduled to be played on 25th February at the Regional Sports Centre in Kochi. Who will claim the bragging rights this time, only time will tell.