Around one hundred volleyball teams will again be making their way to Perth this weekend for Britain’s largest volleyball event of the year – the 29th Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament. The North Inch will start to come alive late on Friday afternoon as teams and players arrive on the North Inch to set up camp for this year’s open – open to all ages and all abilities once again.
Local teams are well to the fore with regulars from the Perth District League taking on new names to enter into the fun spirit of the tournament which hosts six different outdoor divisions with the mixed divisions again proving the most popular with more than half the entries being spread through mixed divisions one, two and three.
Stuart Anderson’s Setting Ducks’ side will be competing in men’s division two, with Andrew Lochhead’s Team Awesome in men’s division three.
Karen Steel’s side are obviously expecting rain with their team name – Dirty Sets, a reflection on how the North Inch looks with the muddy mixture of volleyballers and wet conditions. Jayne Cafferty’s “Beach Bums” are conversely hoping to bask in a sunny North Inch, which I am sure is the hope of the vast majority of the hundreds of volleyballers who are making their annual pilgrimage to Perth. Alan Stewart’s Perth Dynamite have re-formed specially for the “Open experience.”
County sides are also supporting Perth’s premier volleyball event of the year with St Madoes’ Kirsty Imlay and her PE teachers’ team competing in the mixed divisions alongside Mary Cook’s Aberfeldy, Jen Tramonta’s Auchterarder side “Ooh Aargh” and John Cameron’s Kinross based side McDuvel’s Cocktails, a reflection of their annual trip to Belgium to compete at De Haan.
As well as local sides there are a number of teams who are traveling to Perth from further afield. The USA Athlete’s women’s side are again competing indoors in the top division with two teams from the Faroe Islands and one team each from Belgium and Italy who are all returning to compete outdoors.
Scotland’s international players will also be on display indoors. The women’s side have just returned from success in Austria but fringe players will feature in Juniors and Futures’ sides as well as Edinburgh’s NUVOC.
The Scotland men’s team travel to Luxemburg in mid June to compete in European Championship qualifiers and they will field two men’s teams to compete indoors, joined by sides from NUVOC and Dundee. This should give national team coaches the opportunity to tweak things prior to their games in Luxembourg.
Socially, players, coaches, officials and supporters have the opportunity of letting their hair down on Saturday evening at the popular “Volley Hooley” featuring Neil Paterson’s Scottish ensemble.
All in all a full weekend of fun is on the menu as Perth once again rocks to the staccato-ed sounds of volleyballs being pounded up in the air and down on the ground. The small organising commitee, there are only seven of them, is to be congratulated for continuing to keep volleyball a major part as one of Perth’s major sporting experiences.