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School Games Success 2017

Scotland’s Volleyball teams from both the East and West, across Boys and Girls shared success at the Youth Sport Trust 2017 School Games. Held for a second time on the prestigious Loughborough University Campus with volleyball once again one of the star attractions.

Teams from the East and West arrived at the multi-sport event on Thursday the 31st of August and competition began immediately. Not all of the 12 sports competing at the games were in action so this allowed many other sports to come and witness the start of another high quality, hard fought volleyball competition between the home nations. Scotland East Boys and Scotland West Girls were the first teams to begin the Scottish School Games campaign.

Day two of the competition saw all of our Scottish teams in action as the competition heated up and the Scottish sides found rhythm in their play. Scotland West Boys fought hard against a strengthened Northern Irish side to secure a 2-0 victory while the Scotland West Girls with a 0-2 defeat against the England Cadets.

Day three can only be described as ‘derby day’ as both England and Scotland found their teams playing against one another. As the teams battled on the court Scotland East Girls found themselves in front winning the game 2-0 (25-21 and 25-22). The match between Scotland East and West boys saw the East boys demonstrate a masterclass in systematic team play beating the team from the West 2-0 (25-13 and 25-07).

The fourth and final day of the 2017 School Games played host to the play-off matches and finals. With England Cadet Women looking to retain their title in an all-England affair. While in the boy’s competition it was Scotland East Boys looking to cause an upset and beat the undefeated England Junior Men’s team. It was an all Scotland affair in the girls 3rd/4th place playoff match and England Cadet Men Vs Scotland West in the boys competition.

Scotland East Girls vs Scotland West Girls (Bronze Medal Match) (Set 1 16-25//Set 2 20-25).

Scotland East came out strong in the first set and soon had a convincing eight-point lead. The team from the East then pulled away to take the set 25-16.

The second set was controlled from the service line with very few errors from the team from the East. West didn’t go down without a fight and pulled back the deficit to five points before losing the set 25-20. Scotland East taking the bronze medal.

England Cadet Men vs Scotland West Boys (Bronze Medal) (Set 1 20-25//Set 2 25-20//Set 3 15-10)

In the first set Scotland mounted a hard hitting attack on the England Cadets with pressure from the service line and with unforced errors from the Cadets Scotland took the first set 25-20.

England took an early lead in the second set with outstanding defence from libero, Enrique Bello eventually taking the set 25-20. Scotland took a three-point advantage in the third and deciding set, however neither team were about to give up on the bronze medal. At 10-10 the match could have gone in either direction however on this occasion it was the England Cadets who found the performance to seal the match 15-10.

England Junior Men vs Scotland East Boys (Final) (Set 1 21-25//Set 2 25-16//Set 3 10-15)

Captain, Logan Darling, commanded his team to from the start of set one and despite solid defensive play from the England Junior Men they could not handle the attacking power of the Scottish side. Sending Scotland storming to first set victory 25-21.

The England Juniors came back fighting in the second set to level the match. Strong defence and hard hitting from Noah Goalen turning the tide against the team from the East. Taking the 2017 boys final to a deciding set 16-21.

With the stand filled with supporters cheering on both sides and revelling in the fine display of volleyball. The deciding set was a close affair with Scotland taking an early lead. England fought back, but it was not enough to break the rhythm and cohesion that the Scottish side had established. Scotland East boys taking gold 15-10.

Head coach of ten years, Ian Brownlee, said “I have been coaching Scotland East at the School Games for 10 years.  I have only ever watched the final from the bleachers so it was great to be coaching the final, at last, and very satisfying that the boys produced such an outstanding performance against a very talented England Junior side to win the gold medal.  As the School Games motto goes “who can be at their best when it matters most?” and many of the Scotland East boys played their best ever volleyball over the course of the tournament and especially under massive pressure in the final.

It has been 2-3 years of work to get a squad to this level.  We believed in the athletes, and they responded by working hard at their game with their schools and clubs, and through the SVA School Games Cadet Programme.  Then most importantly of all they believed in themselves at the tournament and were brave enough to express themselves and play the volleyball they were capable of. What a fantastic group of athletes, and what a fantastic achievement!!”

Captain Logan Darling said “Every one of the boys had a great tournament and without such a strong squad we would never have reached the final.  England juniors have some class players, but we also knew that we were playing well to win our opening 4 pool games, and if everyone played near the top of their game we had a good chance. I still can’t believe how awesome everyone played in the final, and that we won the gold medal.”

FINAL STANDINGS

Boys Girls
1st Scotland East Boys England Cadets
2nd England Juniors England Juniors
3rd England Cadets Scotland East
4th Scotland West Scotland West
5th Northern Ireland Wales
6th Wales Northern Ireland

A special mention should also go to Scotland’s UKAD 100% ME Spirit Of The Games Winner Layla Donnelly. Her determination and resilience was recognised by the Scotland team staff and she won the 100% ME award. Selected by a UKAD, Youth Sport Trust and Athlete panel from across the entire school games.

With the medals dealt with, attention turned to the 2017 Super 7s. The coaches for all teams put forward their nominations for players of the tournament; each Super 7 winner received a golden volleyball. The Scottish Super 7s winners were:

-    Middle (Boys) – Yusef Butt (Scotland East Boys)
-    Middle (Boys)– David Mexson (Scotland West Boys)
-    Outside Spiker (Boys) – Cameron Hook (Scotland East Boys)

A big thank you to the Orocco Pier, Skyridge Financial Planning and Law Cycles who sponsored the Golden Balls for the 2017 School Games.

Huge thanks go to the fantastic team of volunteers running the event, our amazing team of staff and a special thanks to all of the parents/careers/school teachers who have supported the school games initiative over the years. Providing opportunities for young people to experience our fantastic sport.

Athletes representing (Schools);
Belmont Academy Alford Academy
Kyle Academy Kinross High School
Calderglen High tromness Academy
Mearns Castle High Anderson High School
Marr College Aberdeen Grammar School
Oban High School
James Gillespies High School
Queensferry High School The Gordon Schools Huntly

2017 School Games Winners - SCOTLAND EAST BOYS

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