12th December 2010
Wishaw Sports Centre
|Women’s Final||Su Ragazzi||V||Troon Prestwick & Ayr||12:00 FBS|
|Men’s Final||City of Edinburgh||V||Glasgow Mets||14:00 FBS|
All roads lead to Wishaw this Sunday as Scottish Volleyball prepares for its first trophy final of the season.
The Top Teams Cup was established as a league cup for the Division One teams to focus their attentions while the other league (and non-league) teams are busy with Scottish Cup qualification. With only the top team in each group of four making it through to the final, there is no room for error.
This year’s final, which is sponsored by Zoti Sports, exclusive kit suppliers to the national teams of the SVA, brings together four of the country’s very best teams, battling for the first honours of the season, and aiming to post a flag for the remainder of the National League campaign.
The mens First Division presently has four teams locked together at the top with 13 points apiece, and City of Edinburgh and Glasgow Mets currently sit top of the pile with a superior sets difference. League champs Edinburgh were dealt a triple whammy in the summer as French middle blocker Remy Sicsic returned home, but was able to persuade clubs in his homeland of the quality of the game in Scotland, and was followed across the channel by last year’s Player of the Year, Gavin Watt, and influential passer-hitter Colin MacNab.
Any club would struggle to replace three starting players overnight, but Edinburgh have done that and more, bringing in setters Paolo Puggioni (Edinburgh Jets) and George Petrakos (Loughborough University) and making possibly the signing coup of the summer by persuading former star Robin Miedzybrodksi to return from his time on the international beach circuit.
That said, Glasgow Mets, two time winners of the Top Teams Cup, are no mugs in a game situation, and handed City of Edinburgh their only defeat of the season to date, made all the richer by it being on City’s home court.
Mets too have returning talent, in the shape of Sean Hendry, who spent all of last year with the Great Britain Olympic development team in Sheffield, and they have also dipped their toe in the continental transfer market, signing up Hubert Rychtelski from Polish club Czarni Radom.
What promises to be a close encounter gets underway at 2pm. Prior to this, the final of the Women’s Top Teams Cup brings together Troon Prestwick & Ayr and Su Ragazzi in an intriguing clash.
Troon will feature in their fifth consecutive Top Teams Cup final, with a 2-2 record. Taken in conjunction with their record in the Scottish Cup, it is now around six years since Troon failed to make the final of a domestic competition entered.
While some other clubs have to battle to get a team on court on a regular basis, Troon’s selection problem is quite the opposite. The league leaders, one of only three unbeaten sides in the country, have the benefit of access to a 14 player squad during qualifying, and the major issue for coach Vince Krawczyk will be who to leave out come matchday.
Opponents Su Ragazzi have been in somewhat patchy form in the league, but still remain close enough to the leading pack to get back in contention in the second half of the season. Their appearance in the final was set up by a thrilling 3-2 win over holders and league champions City of Edinburgh back in October.
Su’s league form is due in no small part to the fact that several of their key players are shift workers with the emergency services, but they moved quickly in the summer to bolster their squad with former Glasgow Mets duo Jillian Galloway and Carly McKinlay. A full strength Su Ragazzi team will prove a formidable obstacle for Troon in a match that gets underway at 12 noon.
Admission to both matches is free, so put the Christmas shopping on hold for a day and come to the volleyball!