UK school games are a great opportunity for young and up coming athletes of many sports including my sport volleyball, this gives the competitors a taste of what playing in the Olympics would really be like.
In order to reach the team to represented Scotland West at the UK School games, players attended several selection days and once selected attended further training camps this year at St Andrews University. The training for the games was intense for all those who took part, the players coaches and management team.
On Thursday 3rd September the players and coaches met at Glasgow airport for the flight to Cardiff the excitement was building especially for the players who had never experienced UK School Games before.
The UK School Games was a fantastic experience for all who took part and was a great result for me coming away with a medal as this was my third and last year at the games.
Kay Wheatley (Scotland West Team Captain)
The Uk School Games 2009 got off to a wet start in Cardiff. As the opening ceremony saw 1,600 athletes drowned by torrential rain, nevertheless everyone enjoyed it and were geared up for the competition that followed the next day
The Scottish teams played very well, The Scotland West girls had great hitting tactics and defensive work and were not given justice with a bronze medal. It must have been there awesome coach! The Scotland East girls came in fourth in the tournament which was their best result of the games .They were obviously downhearted about being out of the medals but they showed great determination in their matches and this showed as they were the only team to take a set from the winners England South.
This year a new award was introduced known as the super 6, where the best 6 boys of the tournament and the best 6 girls of the tournament were recognised. For the boys two Scotland players got awards, Andrew McGregor as best passer and Jamie McHardy as best attacker. For the Scotland girls I was really pleased to get the award as best server. Overall the volleyball tournament was a success for 2009. 2010 athletes have a tough act to follow!
Emma Clarkson (Scotland East Team Captain)
The Volleyball was to be played in the spectacular Welsh indoor athletics arena which had been kitted out with two taraflex courts and a 2000 seat grandstand.
The final day brought up a must win clash against England North. A win here would mean reaching the final and a pot at bringing the title back to Scotland for a second consecutive year.
A complacent start resulted in losing the first 26-24. However a resurgence in the second and third sets earned that much needed win and a place in the coveted final.
Two hours later the boys marched onto court with a packed grandstand willing both teams on. Just as we had marched on to the court we marched to a 25-22 victory in the first set. The second was lost poorly and one to forget. This meant it came down to a winner takes all decider. The crowd knew this and raised the roof as the teams walked on court for the final time. Central raced to a 6-2 lead early in the set but we showed guts and determination to bring the teams together at 12-13. However an extremely unlucky point then an intelligent hit from there opposite finally killed the dream for good.
Although a wee peck on the cheek from Denise Lewis as she presented the medals began to soften the blow of getting sliver, it was claiming the overall team trophy that allowed both the guys and girls to come away from Cardiff with our heads held high.
Even though we headed home disappointed that the medals round our necks were not gold we were satisfied with the overall trophy and a bag full of free kit. So boys of Scotland west get into the gym and earn your place for Newcastle next year, let’s go one better!
Andrew McGregor (Scotland West Team Captain)
For full reports from the Team Captains please click here.