Week 2 of the “Meet me at the Net” project saw me head to the West Coast to visit South Ayrshire Volleyball Club.
South Ayrshire are a relatively new club in the Scottish Volleyball Scene but in their short life have developed and grown to be a strong, resilient and supportive club.
The plan for the day was to discuss the club and its targets and priorities with John Orr. John is another “well kent face” in Scottish Volleyball has been involved with the club since it was formed. John performs a variety of roles for the club…coaching, refereeing, administration etc etc. He unfortunately added to his job description on Saturday when he had to become a paramedic and take Robert Micallef-Eynaud to hospital after he received a serious ankle injury during the men’s 2nd division game against Jets.
One of the very positive things about South Ayrshire is that it is not a one man band…and John’s son Douglas was able to step in and provide me with the information about the clubs activities and aims. Douglas not only spends a great deal of time devoted to the club and its development but also is a member of the SVA referee’s commission as the Olympic Potential Scorers Coordinator/Staff Trainer and is the Organiser of Scottish Volleyball’s Junior National League.
South Ayrshire VC has long recognised that Youth Development is a high priority area within the Strategic Plan and provides a comprehensive programme for junior players from Mini Volleyball through to the National League. Currently they operate coaching sessions for P6-S2 and S3-S6 pupils at the Citadel Sports Centre who work towards entering the Schools Festivals and the Cardinal Sport Youth Cup in February. They have also long supported the Junior National League and will have 5 teams entered in this season’s competition.
The Club have 3 teams in the Senior National League..1 in the men’s 2nd division, 1 in the women’s 1st division and 1 in the women’s 2nd division. They also offer the opportunity for those not wishing to commit to National League Volleyball and run a recreational section on a Monday evening at The Citadel.
Not content with the above, the Club are also great supporters of the National Programme and recently had 7 club members representing Scotland in the UK School Games.
The men’s team have also just returned from a very successful international tournament in Malta where they played against a Maltese select.
Back to Saturdays action and my feature match was South Ayrshire vs Edinburgh Jets II in the women’s 1st division. The match started with some long exciting rallies but Coach Douglas Orr had to make an early substitution bringing on Clare Ramage as power hitter as Jets took and early 8-3 lead. Jets continued putting pressure on South Ayrshire with some very strong serving and they stretched their lead to 16-11 at the Technical Time Out. South Ayrshire came back on to court stronger with some tactical hitting from Kay Wheatley and Clare Ramage and edged closer to make it 22-18 but the Jets defence stood strong and closed the 1st set at 25-19.
The 2nd set saw Jets forge ahead with some excellent serving and had a strong lead of 16-9 at the Technical Time Out. South Ayrshire could not find an answer to the Jets team’s determined play and won the 2nd set convincingly 25-23.
Coach Douglas Orr had no option but to change his team in the 3rd set and moved Kay Wheatley from middle net to outside. Kirsty McLean had some great back court attacks and her consistent strong attacking along with stable passing from Kay Wheatley and strong serving from Lorna McLean allowed South Ayrshire to take the 3rd set 25-18.
The 4th set was a battle. Jets took an early 7-3 lead but South Ayrshire rallied together and pulled it back to 7-7. Again Jets took the initiative and tough serving took them to an 18-13 lead. But South Ayrshire were not giving in and great setting from Lorna McLean saw Claire Bremman and Kirsty McLean build up the points with their clever hitting to take the score to 24-23 to Jets. It was an exciting finish and Jets produced a last bit of power to finish the set off and the game 3 sets to 1.
Another thoroughly enjoyable day as the “Meet me at the Net” project is rolled out. South Ayrshire Volleyball Club has very strong foundations already in place and I look forward to working with them to deliver their vision in becoming more successful over the coming years