My “Meet me at the Net” visits started after the Christmas break with a real bang when I headed East to meet up with Jets Volleyball Club and also feature a Women’s 2nd Division Match for the first time.
From walking into the excellent venue at the new Broughton High School I had a strong feeling that this was going to be a good day. Everything that took place over the next 4 hours confirmed my initial thoughts … it was an absolutely outstanding day!!
For a number of years Jets Volleyball Club have been one of the biggest clubs in Scottish Volleyball and have also enjoyed much success. They continue to have a strong presence in the National League with a Men’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Division team and 2 teams in the Women’s 1st Division and also a team in the Women’s 2nd Division. They also have a large recreational section on a Monday night which attracts up to 60 players. With 6 teams at home on a Saturday, the club needs to operate with 2 venues and a huge administration and organisational task is required.
My main hosts for the day were Club Administrator Martyn Johnstone and Club President Scott MacIntyre who have been involved with the club for a number of years. Martyn plays for the Men’s 1st Division Team, coaches the Women’s 1st Team is also heading up the new Junior Programme which the club have started this year. Scott plays for the Men’s 1st Division Team and also coaches the men and women’s teams at Heriot Watt University.
The Jets Club made an enormous effect to make Saturday a volleyball experience to remember for all concerned. One of the highlights for me was meeting Autumn Childs and seeing her in action. Autumn stole the show as the MC for the day and did a fantastic job of getting everyone in the crowd (and I did say crowd .. there was around 60 parents and friends) fully involved, Mexican wave, clapper sticks, music and all. The crowd also had the opportunity to win prizes on the day. Between the 2nd and 3rd set there was a serving competition to hit targets (which I missed by a mile!!) and also there was food and drink put on by the club. This was not only thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated, it also raised a £100.00 for Cash for Kids.
The profile match was between Edinburgh Jets III and City of Edinburgh II in the Women’s 2nd Division. The girls were announced onto court and a very exciting close game was to follow. The 1st set saw City of Edinburgh take an early 8-0 lead, “were Jets going to freeze on the big occasion?” ……. no was the resounding answer!! with some excellent serving from Fiona McPherson and some good defence and attack from Emma Girot and Geraldine Ardoin, the Jets girls fought back to win the 1st set 27-25. City of Edinburgh composed themselves for the next two sets taking them 25-18 and 25-16. The 4th set was nip and tuck and at 20-20 coach Steven Hunter made a substitution and on came Patricia Barrado to score some crucial points at zone 4 and take the set 25-20. It all boiled down to a final set shoot out- enter Autumn to lift the crowd. It was close all the way but consistent setting from Lorraine Steel allowed her hitters to score at crucial points and eventually bring Jets home 17-15 to clinch the set and take the match 3-2. My MVP was awarded to setter Lorraine Steel who was consistent throughout the match and worked tirelessly to provide her hitters with point winning opportunities.
In a club of this size a number of people, too many to mention individually, play an integral part in keeping everything running smoothly. Martyn and Scott both do a fantastic job on a variety of fronts. Nico Ricci designs and prints the promotional and marketing material used by the club which is distributed throughout local schools and also used for their annual recruitment drive at the start of the season. If any clubs are interested in using Nico’s expertise please contact me at the office or Jets Volleyball Club direct. Nico also works with the Association and is responsible for the SVA’s Website. Emma Girot who plays for the women’s 3rd team also acts as the clubs co-ordinator with the SVA .. she has taken her job so seriously she now works at the SVA Office a few hours a week ☺
The club are actively addressing various parts of the SVA’s Strategic Plan in relation to recruitment of New players from a variety of sources. At the start of January 2010 they have launched a new junior programme and have excellent relationships with Active Schools in Broughton, Leith and Drummond. Melanie Craxton and Lynsey Shiells are two of the coaches who will be helping Martyn to deliver the programme. The club also work closely with Colleges and Universities. Nisbet Duffin not only runs the recreational section on a Monday night but also coaches Napier College men and women’s team. The club are also active supporters of Beach Volleyball and organise the East leg of the Beach Tour and will be starting their own Beach Volleyball Section in spring 2010. The club also do a variety of fundraising events throughout the season and support members of their club financially to travel with the National Team abroad. Recently Jill Runciman and Laura Boulton were selected to represent the Senior Women’s National Team in Luxembourg and the club supported the girls to attend the competition.
Was Saturday 16th January a “Flagship Club” Volleyball day? Very possibly. Jets is a multinational club, they provide clear pathways to volleyball, they have a well established men’s and women’s programme, they excel in fundraising and organising social events and demonstrated excellent team spirit and cohesion within the club. With serious plans to address Junior Development being put in place, Jets look to have a very bright and prosperous future ahead of them.
My thanks to Jets Volleyball Club for their hospitality and special mention to Martyn and Scott for their input and also to Nico for his photos.