Solent men's team learned a harsh lesson in sports psychology at Woodlands School last weekend.

They were so busy concentrating on revenge over Wessex that they overlooked the 'warm-up' match against league newcomers Exeter Heat and were punished for their sins 3-0.

Although they rallied to win 'the big one' 3-1, the Exeter defeat was a huge disappointment as they bid to make amends for last season's near miss on promotion from the National League Division 3.

Teamwork and conviction were sorely missing in a lacklustre performance against Exeter. Having lost the first set 25-19, coach Matt Cordrey-Gale changed his line-up, but still Solent could not find their rhythm and were outgunned in the next two 26-24, 25-20.

To their credit, the south coast club made instant amends against a Wessex side who had already beaten them this season.

They attacked with venom right from the off and, with Nik Hardy and James Kemp defeating the Wessex block, strode through to take the first set 25-18.

The same Solent line-up jumped into a 16-10 second set lead, but Wessex clawed back to scrape the set 29-27 and level things up at one set apiece.

At 18-18, the third set was anyone's until Solent found that little bit extra to take it 26-24, aided by some top hitting and blocking from Tim Nash.

The revelation of the fourth set was Kees de Groot, who put in a solid all-round performance. With the whole team hitting well, Solent cruised through 25-15 to take the match 3-1 - a result that really opens up the chase for the title.

"The defeat again Exeter was disappointing, but there is still everything to play for in a season still young," said Cordrey-Gale.