The Round 1 of the 2019/20 season in France ended tonight: Cannes won in four sets against Toulouse, Nantes won in Paris at tie break, runners-up Chaumont defeated the reigning champions Tours in straight sets, and Narbonne destroyed Ajaccio with the same result.
What a game in Cannes! The hosts, in front of 1831 fans, managed to win in four sets, taking their first three points for the ranking already in round 1! After losing the first set, Toulouse managed to balance the set count, maintaining a constant advantage in the second. However, Cannes has succeeded, thanks to a more concrete game, in winning the next two sets and then winning the game. Kyle Russell was the best scorer on the winning side (and of the match) with 20 points and 52% in attack (including 3 kill blocks), while Pierre Derouillon scored 16 points for Toulouse and german middle-blocker Noah Baxpöhler added 4 kill blocks, like his teammate Toafa Takaniko.
Great battle between the two opposites of Paris and Nantes: the Dutchman Robin Overbeeke against the Slovakian Peter Michalovic. 26 points the first (including 3 kill blocks and an ace), with 47% in attack, while 31 for the second (including 3 aces and 1 kill block), definitely fundamental for the victory of his team, Nantes, away. The 18 kill blocks of Paris (7 for Ardo Kreek) were not enough, against the 9 of Nantes, that can go home with two points in the standings and a (well-deserved) great victory.
Defeat, maybe a little surprising, for Tours, in straight sets, on the Chaumont’s court. In the big-match of Round 1 the reigning French champions suffered a probably unexpected defeat against Chaumont, who was runners-up of the last season both in championship and in Coupe de France. Julien Winkelmuller, one of the best of Chaumont already last season, was the best scorer of the game with 18 points, including 3 kill blocks, and 56% in attack, while Nathan Wounembaina was the only player from Tours to reach a double digit performance (11 points for him). A curiosity? In this game, the winning side made 8 aces, while Tours only 3!
Round 1 ends with another surprise: Narbonne’s home victory against Ajaccio. In a probably uninspiring game, Narbonne didn’t have many problems against the rivals, taking a straight sets victory (25:17, 25:18, 25:22) and practically always leading the game. Excellent performance in attack for the winners: all Narbonne players have attacked over 60%! Remi Besserau and Yordan Bisset were the top scorers with 13 points each, and 62% and 75% respectively in attack, while Wassim Ben Tara was the top scorer on the other side with 13 points (including 1 kill block and 2 of the total 3 aces for his team) and 56% in attack.