City of Edinburgh Meet me at the Net

City of EdinburghFrom small acorns …. almost 15 years ago in the  inaugural year of the Junior National League a boy’s team who competed under the City of Edinburgh banner have grown into one of the best, biggest and strongest volleyball clubs in the country.

Ian Brownlee, Bill Stobie and Arthur Biagi laid the foundation stones for what has become a great success story for Scottish Volleyball.  This has been achieved through a colossal amount of dedication, commitment and good old fashioned hard work by many people but in particular Ian Brownlee who for the past 14 years has dedicated an astonishing amount of time to fulfil his vision.

Meet me at the netThe first Junior National League team after a successful couple of years were joined by a 2nd Junior National League team.  The club then faced a dilemma, with no adult team within the club, players were going to have to move on outside the club to continue playing at Senior National League level.  The club addressed this by entering a team in 1999 into the men’s National League Division 5.  This team included some of the best young seniors in the country at the time and very quickly worked their way up through the divisions.

During this time the club continued to work actively with juniors and in 2003 a volleyball academy was established.  The club now provide volleyball opportunities from baby volley p1-p2, U11, U13, U16, U19 and National League Division 1 2 and 3 for both men and women.

The fact that the club are able to staff all these sessions has also demanded a huge amount of time and expense from Ian and the club.  The club had invested over the years in producing coaches to continue the development of the youngsters at the volleyball academy.  A staggering 9 players from City of Edinburgh volleyball club were selected to play in the UK Schools games Scotland East team this year in Cardiff.

Shaun McCashneyA variety of the people involved in the running of this massive programme are Heather Darling who works with the U16 boys JNL team and U11 mixed, Colin McNab and Gavin Watt who coach the U19 JNL girls and boys , Sean McCashney coach to the U16 girls JNL team and also the U11 mixed team and Barry Mcguigan (coach of the year 2008/2009) coach to the 1st Division men’s team.  These coaches have attended a variety of training opportunities and been involved in the SVA’s Coach Development Programme.

To oversee this operation the club have established a strong committee which consists of parents, friends and family who have been recruited to provide support, guidance and leadership.  I spoke to Hugh Murphy, the new Chairman of the club (and also Liam Murphy’s dad who plays for City of Edinburgh II) who has the passion and vision to continue the club’s development and growth.

The feature match was between City of Edinburgh II and Grassmarket Jets in the Men’s Division III.  The city of Edinburgh team are made up of some of the best young senior and juniors in the country.    The game turned out to be a genuine 5 setter with great defence on display from both teams but in particular some great pick ups from City of Edinburgh’s libero Liam Darling.  The first 4 sets were close with City of Edinburgh always coming from behind to win the 2nd and 4th sets.  Jamie McHardy and Sean McCashey consistently scored on the outside and Glen Robison provided a good option through the middle.  The scene was set for a “winner takes all” final set and the City of Edinburgh boy’s superior fitness, matched by a great desire for victory saw them run out comfortable winners with a 15-2 score.

MVP was awarded to Sean McCashey for his excellent tactical and powerful hitting.


Holly HunterName: Holly Hunter
Age: 16
Team: City of Edinburgh II

Q. What is the best thing about playing for City of Edinburgh?

A. It is great playing with all my friends.  We have all grown up together and not only play and train together but we also socialise as a group.

Q.  What has been the best moment/match of your volleyball career to date?

A. Playing in the UK School Games in Cardiff.  Winning my first National League game this year 5 nil.

Q .  Who is you sporting hero?

A. Melissa Coutts

Q.   What is your ambition in volleyball?

A.  To be the best we can be as a club and to play for Scotland.


Stuart Parker

Name: Stuart Parker
Age: 19
Team: City of Edinburgh II

Q.  What is the best thing about playing for City of Edinburgh?

A. I think it is the best club in Scotland and we have the best junior development programme in Britain.  Every player in my team has been with the club since they started playing.

Q.   What has been the best moment/match of your volleyball career to date?

A. When we were 2 nil down against South Ayrshire last year and came back to win 3-2.  Winning U16 Junior National League.

Q.    Who is your sporting hero?

A.  Chris Hoy and Colin McNab

Q.    What is you ambition in volleyball?
A.  To help my team to get to the 1st Division

The acorn in 1995 has grown into an outstanding volleyball club which caters from 5 and 6 year olds through to elite performers.  They have development pathways for coaches and officials and also have a strong connection with the beach tour in the summer.  This has been achieved through a vast amount of effort, commitment and energy from numerous people but by one man in particular…Ian Brownlee.

Finally I would like to thank Ian Brownlee, Gordon Hunter, Hugh Murphy and City of Edinburgh VC for hosting me on saturday and a special thankyou to the City of Edinburgh Boys for the laughs on the bench after the match (Stuart I still cant believe I am not your hero!!).

If you would like any further information on City of Edinburgh Volleyball Club please contact Colin McNab or Sandra Grubb