After June’s cup draw left South Ayrshire with the prospect of taking both senior teams to Orkney plans were very quickly put in place, with the support of the SVA, to turn a cup fixture into a weekend of volleyball in Stromness with both Junior and Senior events.
Just before midnight on Friday the 10th of October saw South Ayrshire’s Junior and Cup players board a bus for the 8 hour journey to Scrabster ahead of what proved to be a very rough ferry journey.
The weather took it’s toll on some of the players although they made a hasty recovery on arriving in Stromness where we were met by the players of Orkney VC at the ferry terminal ahead of that afternoon’s Junior tournament featuring teams from Kirkwall Grammar School and Stromness Academy.
The Orkney teams had obviously been training hard in anticipation of the event which saw Kirkwall Grammar School boys pip Stromness to win the inaugural shield for the inter-Orkney schools title. Stromness girls evened the score taking the quaich in the girls competition.
All three of South’s teams performed well in what may well be the most northerly Scottish junior inter-club tournament of the year.
Laura McLean summed up the Saturday tournament by highlighting it wasn’t just all about the matches when she said “it was great to see the Orkney players who were with us in Bath at the UK School Games again”.
Sunday’s cup fixtures saw the new entrants to the cup Orkney men take on South Ayrshire at Stromness Academy with the home side taking the first set. South soon found their rhythm in the second set winning both the second and the third sets. The fourth set saw Orkney fight back but South managed to maintain their winning form taking the match 3-1.
Next up were the two women’s teams who had last faced each other at Wishaw in April’s Plate final. Both teams have undergone significant change since then and in a very entertaining match South Ayrshire won 3-0. It was great to see a good local crowd in the sports hall watching both the cup games and some new faces joining all four teams who had played that day.
The journey home was a good bit calmer than the first ferry trip and after a quick stop in Aviemore everyone arrived safely back in Ayrshire in the early hours of Monday morning. Liam Fleming commented on the event as a “Great weekend”. Planning for a return event is already underway and we hope to welcome the Orkney teams to Ayrshire at some point over the next year and continue to foster the links between the two clubs.
This weekend of volleyball would not have been possible without the support of the SVA in awarding a Gold Star Club Development Award enabling the juniors to travel with the senior teams to Orkney and we are very grateful to the SVA for the granting of this award.
South Ayrshire also wish to thank Orkney VC and the Orkney Volleyball Association for their hospitality over the weekend particularly with the provision of food at the sports hall and their help in organisation before and during the weekend.