Through my work with the International and Special Events Commission, I get to see a lot of top class, high-level volleyball. This weekend was no exception – but at Junior level! The Junior National League programme runs quietly throughout the season, with many young players competing fiercely in every match. This was hugely evident at Wishaw Sports Centre on Sunday 14th March, where the top four boys Under 16 teams and the top four girls Under 16 teams competed to be champions.
The boys were up first…. On Court One, South Ayrshire took on Belmont Troon in a thrilling match. Both teams were battling for the place in the final and there was a lot of fantastic volleyball on display. Ultimately it was Belmont Troon who came out on top but the boys from South Ayrshire certainly never gave up. On Court Two, the experienced Marr College boys faced a young City of Edinburgh side. Experience definitely played a part and the Marr College team booked their place in the final. This is to take nothing away from the City of Edinburgh team who defended the court fantastically, with some really spectacular pick-ups throughout the match.
The girls took to the court next and the competition was dominated by Marr College, with three teams in the play offs! Marr College A played against South Ayrshire on Court One and despite the South Ayrshire girls’ tough serving and defending, the Marr College A team battled back in a three set thriller to claim their place in the final. On Court Two, it was all about Marr College – B vs. C! These girls train week in, week out with each other and this made the play exciting and unpredictable! It was Marr College B who were victorious however, booking their spot in what was going to be an all Marr College Final!
The boys were to play their final matches of the day next, with the 3rd vs. 4th place match seeing South Ayrshire face City of Edinburgh. It was a good match, with a great display of volleyball from both teams. It was South Ayrshire who grabbed 3rd place though after a close match. The Boys U16 Final saw Marr College face Belmont Troon in what was a thrilling game of volleyball to watch, let alone play in. The standard of volleyball demonstrated by these two teams was exceptional and although Marr College took the honours in two sets, the game was much closer than the score line suggests.
Up last, the girls’ last two matches. In the 3rd vs. 4th place matches, Marr College C took on South Ayrshire. Both teams were evenly matched throughout the game but it was South Ayrshire who came out on top, taking the 3rd place position. The all-Marr final was another fantastic match to watch – Marr A coached by Jess Reid and Marr B coached by her husband John! I was really impressed with the tough serving, the tactical attacking and moreover, the attitude of the players on the court. Neither team gave up, both teams worked so hard for each other and both teams held the utmost respect for their opponents. It was Marr College A who had the edge, finishing the match as champions.
The runners up and winners were presented with their medals by Scottish National team player Laura McReady, who was very impressed with the level of volleyball put on display by all the players. Thanks for coming down Laura! Two MVP Awards were also given out – Eilidh Cruse and Steven Wilson. Well Done!
These kids work tirelessly throughout the season, training hard during the week and competing tough at the weekends. I was incredibly impressed by the standard of junior volleyball that we have in this country and it certainly bodes well for the future of Scottish Volleyball.
I want to say a huge thank you to all the players and coaches for their hard work, not only on play off day, but throughout the season. Well done to each and every one of you. Also a huge well done to Sandra Grubb and Douglas Orr for their running of the JNL Season and the fantastic event they put on to end the season and also to Steve Scott for the co-ordination of the fixtures and league placing’s. Another thanks to the two referees, Gordon Laughland and Martin McMullen who refereed all the games – a tough shift, but the players certainly appreciated it. Thank you also to Mike Heaney for the photographs, which will be on display in the gallery by the end of this week.
If you haven’t been to a JNL Play Off before, it’s certainly worthy of a visit. The crowd is busy and noisy, the players are competitive and hard working and the buzz in the hall is simply fantastic.
The JNL U19 Playoffs will take place from 10am on Sunday 28th March at Wishaw Sports Centre – come down and support our youngsters!
|JNL U16 Boys||JNL U16 Girls|
|1||Marr College||1||Marr College A|
|2||Belmont Troon||2||Marr College B|
|3||South Ayrshire||3||South Ayrshire|
|4||City of Edinburgh||4||Marr College C|
International and Special Events Commission