My Meet me at the Net visits continued on Saturday with a bit of a twist. It took place on the beach in the sun and the rain (typical Scottish weather!) with St Andrews Beach Volleyball Club.
Three weeks ago after the world had descended onto St Andrews for the Open Golf Championships, it was 100 yards from the first fairway of the old course that provided a change from the world dominance of golf.
I arrived at the beach to see 14 Beach Volleyball Courts set up in the sun with around 50 players competing, laughing, socialising and having a great time on the West Sands. The initial impression was a very professional set up being on display for the passing tourists along St Andrews Beach. As well as the 14 courts, including a schelde International Games Centre Court, there was a covered seating area and also Colin McGinlay providing a running commentary and some sounds to keep everyone informed and entertained.
Colin Paterson and Colin McGinlay from St Andrews Beach Club took some time out from their busy day to talk to me about the Beach Tour and their Club.
The Beach Tour started with a meeting at Nisbet Duffin’s house back in the winter of 2004 between Colin Paterson, Shelly Paterson, Mel Coutts, Nisbet and Margaret Ann Fleming. From this meeting a Beach Commission was formed. In 2005 the Beach Commission got to work and organised 4 events to start the Beach Tour. Colin McGinlay got onboard and packed his beach net that he had in his back garden into his car and transported it to St Andrews Beach. Colin Paterson and Mel Coutts added a further 2 nets and they were good to go. From these humble beginnings there are now 13 tour dates with 14 courts available at a variety of locations throughout the country. Not only has the number of events in the tour grown but a new club has evolved which focuses on the 2-a-side version of the game.
St Andrews Beach Volleyball Club is the first of its kind in Scotland. The club use the West Sands at St Andrews as the base for their training and competitions. In only their second season, the club have grown and supported by a club start grant from the SVA have now a regular site on the beach in St Andrews throughout the summer with training and matches available, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and also on Sundays.
Now given that we are talking about a beach volleyball club in Scotland, the unpredictable climate we have requires decisions to be made whether training will go ahead or not. The club therefore embrace technology and have their own facebook page where updates on training evenings and competitions etc can be made.
The club now has over 30 members, a number of coaches who work with all the club members, one of them being Shelly Paterson who is working with Active Schools to bring beach volleyball to the primary and secondary Schools in the area and officials who have worked at FIVB Beach Events throughout the world, indeed Iain Cook and Jamie Salvin left the event on Sunday to head to Kristiansand to score on the world tour. The Club has an open door policy for anyone who is interested in taking up the sport for the first time or for indoor players who fancy trying a different version of the game for a new challenge.
In the words of Colin Paterson the event at the weekend was a “Great day and probably our best ever event to-date. Everyone was very happy and sore today”
The club are currently looking at a number of options to continue their development. The feasibility of permanent posts on the beach to facilitate play in the summer is being looked at, and also as a longer term option, a suitable venue to allow “indoor” beach courts to be created is being sought.
I very much enjoyed my Beach “Meet me at Net”. It was not only a very competitive day but it is very much a fun and family day out. There was even a pet budgie called Joey sitting watching and enjoying the scenes from its cage (I won’t tell you who brought their no 1 fan with them!!).
My thanks go to Colin Paterson and Colin McGinlay for their hospitality. For further information on St Andrews Beach Volleyball Club please contact either myself at the Scottish Volleyball Association, or Colin Paterson through Facebook.