The final of the North East Regional league took place at Dundee University on Sunday 8th May when the top three teams – Arbroath, Bon Accord and Perth – met to compete in the finals play off.
The North East Regional League is an experimental league which is designed to provide a bridge between National and District League competition. Seven teams competed in the league over the past five months. The most extreme weather for the past 60 provided one of a number of challenges in delivering the league, but those teams that met up at Dundee University on Sunday demonstrated that this form and level of competition provides a valuable new environment for volleyball.
The matches were highly competitive and the teams – a blend of youth and experience – served up some entertaining rallys and demonstrated real endeavour in trying to claim the inaugural trophy. First match of the afternoon saw a tight game between Arbroath and Bon Accord where the points swung between one and then the other team. After taking the first set 25-22, Bon Accord found Arbroath a tough nut to crack and following a second set reverse of 22-25, the final set was another seesaw which had both teams refusing to concede the match and showing a real desire to triumph. In the end the greater consistency of Bon Accord resulted in a 17-15 final set victory.
The second fixture mirrored the first in many ways. An experienced Perth team seemed to have the match in their pocket following a first set 25-8 demolition of Bon Accord, who struggled to contend with the strong Perth serving. However Bon Accord rallied in the second set – quite literally! – and stabilised their passing to allow them to challenge Perth at the net. They held their nerve to take the second set 25-23 and continued the momentum to pip Perth in an exciting final set 17-15, to claim the first ever North East Regional League title. The final match of the afternoon was a rather tame event once the silverware had been claimed, Perth and Arbroath playing out a 2 – 0 (25-13, 25-9) victory for Perth in a match where they were never under threat.
The feedback from those teams involved in the league has been positive, suggesting that this might be a level of competition which could be introduced in other parts of the country. Further work needs to be carried out regarding the most appropriate format and delivery mechanism, but the engagement of the teams and the enthusiasm for the competition suggests that this might be a valuable addition to national competition in Scotland.
North East Regional League Final Positions;
1st Bon Accord
4th Dundee University
5th Mearns Academy
7th Aberdeen University