Brits fightback for Peru victory

01 May 2012 / 23:11

Great Britain's women kicked off their Olympic summer with a gutsy 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Peru in Sheffield.

Back in England for a fortnight following a domestic season abroad, Audrey Cooper's self-funded squad produced a performance that suggested they have been together for longer as they toppled a side 52 places above them in the world rankings.

As a caveat, it was not Peru's strongest line-up and the number 17-placed team did take the first and fourth sets with ease but, apart from problems facing serve, Britain outclassed their opponents in every department - especially at the net.

That will offer them hope ahead of further meetings with the South Americans this week and their forthcoming tour of the country to raise interest ahead of the games.

They did a good job of that here but, despite making an impressive start in the shape of a 2-0 lead, the hosts soon found themselves 8-2 behind as Peru's Carla Rwada embarked on a run of eight successive successful points on serve.

Britain's best chance of breaking her spell came at the net, with Rachel Laybourne and Ciara Michel making their considerable size felt with a string of impressive blocks that suffocated the Peruvian attack.

With Rwada far down the service rotation the second set began in a more competitive manner. Some impressive blocking from Laybourne prevented Peru from getting a run going and, even when they did move 10-7 ahead, Grace Carter's serving helped GB into a 13-10 lead.

Some gallant retrievals from Lucy Wicks kept GB alive, though, and, when veteran Jenny Taylor was brought on to serve out the set at 23-all, she did just that, although not without the help of a thunderous Michel spike.

Buoyed by that enthralling finish, captain Lynne Beattie served the home side into a 4-0 lead at the start of the third set, and their confidence was underlined when Rachel Bragg halted a three-serve run from Rwada that looked as though it could spin things back in Peru's favour.

Some beefy defence from Carter and a piercing spike from Beattie got the decider off to a clinical start for GB and, when Rwada served long, the omens looked favourable. Laybourne's spike took things out to 5-2 and good work from Michel helped things to 8-3. A right-handed spike from Michel then settled the nerves, but with nothing going spare at the net, the home side saw it out 15-11.