The overwhelming feeling from the SVA competitions review meeting, held in June 2012, was that changes should be implemented to the structure of our National League competitions. Saturday 29th September will see the introduction of the new NL format, which will recognise the league champions at the end of the regular season, introduce a new and extended format to the Play Offs, and see radical changes to the structures of Division II for men and women.
In the men’s top division the ‘flavour’ of the day is local derbies. Champions Kilmarnock Blaze open up against South Ayrshire who have undergone massive changes in the summer period. Coach Iain Parker has high hopes for his new-look squad and said.. .’ We aim to exhibit a step forward for volleyball in the South Ayrshire area. Other local derby matches in the Division are City of Edinburgh hosting Edinburgh Jets, and Glasgow Mets kicking off their campaign against long time rivals City of Glasgow Ragazzi. In the North East promoted Dundee VC will open up their season with a tough draw against Bon Accord.
In the women’s top division champions City of Edinburgh start their season with a derby against last year’s Top Teams Cup winners Edinburgh Jets. City of Edinburgh will feel they have extra strength in their squad this season with Jen Thom returning from a series of successful professional contracts. Meanwhile, newly promoted Aberdonia kick off their first ever season in the top flight of Scottish Volleyball with a home match against North Lanarkshire VC. Aberdonia Captain Agata Zaremba talked of her team’s hopes for the season…..”Aberdonia’s aspirations for this season are to make our team strong and compete to get to the top 5 teams in the league. We also hope to promote women’s volleyball in the Grampian area”. The final two matches will see NUVOC entertain Su Ragazzi, and Troon Team Ayrshire entertaining South Ayrshire.
With the restructuring of Men’s 2nd and 3rd divisions into East and West regional divisions, there are some interesting pairings in the race to gain promotion to Division 1.
Division 2 East – City of Edinburgh II were unlucky not to gain promotion to Division 1 last season, and will be very determined to make final 4 playoffs at the end of this season. Ross Kirkwood comments ‘After just missing out on promotion last year we are definitely aiming to get it this year. We are a young side who are improving a lot but there is a great deal of experience in our league and new teams who excelled last year so it will not be an easy season’. The team start off their challenge against Edinburgh Jets II. Edinburgh Jets III might find the competition tougher than last season but
are relishing the opportunity to play against higher level teams. This week they will travel to the very experienced NUVOC who are determined to make the final 4 playoffs.
Division 2 West will be very hotly contested this season. The opening weekend will kick of with some very high intensity encounters. Glasgow Mets II host long time rivals Su Ragazzi II. South Ayrshire II compete against Kilmarnock II – this match will be one of the highlights of the weekend. Lenzie buoyant from the welcome return of Dave Cormie, and the signing
of former Su Ragazzi stalwart Kevin Curran, will believe they have enough to put themselves in the mix for playoffs, but first they have to overcome the formidable Bellshill Cardinals in a tough encounter which will set a great tone for the season.
The women’s Division 2 is going to be a close affair with all teams in with a fantastic chance of winning. In the first round of fixtures the young guns of Kyle Team Ayrshire are at home to another group of youngsters from South Ayrshire II. Meanwhile Glasgow International will start their campaign at home against Dundee VC. Both teams will be going all out to gain top spot early on in the season and gain the automatic promotion slot.
This season the new CAG group and SVA office will be looking to engage more with the Clubs, to help create the bigger profile for the Clubs and our sport, to ensure we continue to grow and develop.
Good luck to all teams concerned this weekend.
SVA Competitions and Performance Administrator