Saturday May 28th saw the Scottish Junior Men competing in four tough matches and officiating in two others which meant an extremely busy schedule for day one of the Perth Open. After assembling at 08.30, match preparations were undertaken then at 09.15 the first ball was served and we began our program in the Division of Honour.
We had been drawn in pool 1 with Fife Jets, Bon Accord, Glasgow Mets and USA to which each match brought different challenges which was exactly why we were there.
Match 1 v Fife Jets was a nervy start to the competition as we started slowly and points were exchanged evenly until the team began to link together and take control winning the set 25 v 11. Jets came back stronger in set two and not a team to be beaten easily they fought hard to win 24 v 26. The deciding set was quickly in our favour through some tough serving and strong blocking and ended at 15 v 9.
Match 2 v Bon Accord, who quickly took the upper hand, meant we had to come from behind and the determination of our opponents made this extremely tough. Managing to maintain their lead we pulled back the deficit of 7 at the start of the set to just lose 27 v 29. Sets two and three were a different matter after the team addressed what Bon Accord were doing and were commanded by the juniors and ended 25 v 15 and 15 v 3.
Match 3 v Mets began after officiating and Mets having just finished playing meant they had the upper hand in being match warm and we had to catch up. Tough targeted serving and some strong attacking, however, saw the first set won 25 v 20 and Mets appreciated they had a challenge on their hands. Quickly addressing the deficits of the first set, Mets came back with a better defence and through clever hitting tactics the set was in their favour 15 v 25. This continued in set three and weaknesses within our unit were exploited to great effect and ended 9 v 15 to Mets.
Match 4 v USA was a huge challenge in two ways, fourth match of the day and the height of the American key hitters meant we had a major job to do. The American unit defended well and the power of their attack was too strong for our defence and game went to USA 22v25 and 20v25
Day one schedule and results;
Caledonia II v Fife Jets 2 v 1
Caledonia II v Bon Accord 2 v 1
Caledonia II v Glasgow Mets 1 v 2
Caledonia II v USA 0 v 2
The results were not sufficient to progress in the main competition and we were therefore competing on day two in one of the consolation pools with Fife Jets and a new challenge in Haustier from Germany
First match v Fife was an opportunity to build on the match from day one which was achieved, aided by a late night by some of the Jets players, we eased to a comfortable first set win. A more awake Jets team made set two tougher but it was not enough against the youth and clear heads of the junior men.
Match two v Haustier who having cooled off after their match v Fife Jets, were immediately under pressure and we eased past them in set one, but they showed some character by digging in on defence to the power being put their way and returned some clever work to take sets two and three to progress to the match & the group two winners.
Day two schedule and results;
Caledonia II v Fife Jets 2 v 0
Caledonia II v Haustier 1 v 2
Haustier went on to beat Polonia Jets in the consolation final so in all the loss to Haustier, though hard to take, was indicative of the strength of the German team.
|Fraser Brown||Leeds Mets|
|Liam Darling||City of Edinburgh|
|Euan Duncan||Kilmarnock Blaze|
|Michael Cockburn||City of Edinburgh|
|Seain Cook (C)||Dundee|
|Connor Boyle||City of Edinburgh|
|Steven Cruse||Mount Olive|
|Fraser Strachan||South Ayrshire|
|Robert Micallef-Eynaud||South Ayrshire|
The weekend was a tremendous success for the first outing of the team as we had six extremely competitive matches over 16 sets and all 10 players had a major contribution in the performance. From the quick overcoming of initial nerves of the first match of the day against Jets to evidence of the determination to win against Scottish Champions, Glasgow Mets, the team showed some fantastic volleyball and I was incredibly impressed with what was on show from the players. It has given me a tremendous opportunity to assess strengths and weaknesses, both individually and within the team, from which we will progress to a much stronger unit.
Finally my thanks to Assistant Coach, Cammy Galloway, who having sacrificed competing at Perth to work with the team, used his extremely knowledgeable experience to offer suggestions and advice which was instrumental in the performance and structure of the team and made a huge impact on how we played.