No Sleep Till Belfast

Seain CookScotland’s senior men face an important test in their quest for European Championships success this weekend as they take on both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in  an international competition at the University of Ulster Jordanstown on Sunday, 20th March 2011.

With competition for places in the final twelve for the SCD finals in Andorra wide open, team management are viewing these two international matches against the Irish as an excellent opportunity to assess the prospects of several players who were not included in the last tournament played by the team in Luxembourg.

French-based setter Gavin Watt (SC Amiens Metropole) returns to a side that shows no fewer than nine changes from the line-up that defeated US college side Stevens Tech in January.  Stewart Caldwell (Kilmarnock Blaze) and Alasdair King (City of Glasgow Ragazzi) have an opportunity to display their prowess at middle blocker in the absence of Brian O’Neill, Stuart Edgar and Ruari Isted, while the passing unit is boosted by the inclusion of beach duo Robin Miedzybrodski  (Leeds Carnegie) and Seain Cook (Dundee). 

For Cook, it will be a first cap, just months after his starring role in the impressive defeat of Northern Ireland’s U20 side.  He joins an elite band of ‘fathers and sons’ who have been capped by the national team, as father Iain won his first cap against Wales in 1989.  The other father and son duos honoured by national team selection are Willie and Steve Todd, Vince and Alan Krawczyk and Brian and Callum Green.

In the absence of head coach Simon Loftus, who has professional commitments with his club team at the British University Championships, YS coach Iain Parker takes charge of the team on this occasion.  Coach Loftus commented “We want to have a good look at as many of the players as possible before we make the final selection for Andorra.  The guys who played in Luxembourg did everything that I expected of them, so no-one has been omitted for lack of application.  But we have twenty players who have worked their socks off over the winter, so this is an opportunity for some of the guys who didn’t get the chance to feature in Luxembourg to show what they can do.”

Scotland play the Republic of Ireland at 12 noon, and then face hosts Northern Ireland at 4pm.

Squad selection

Alan Krawczyk    Glasgow Mets
Gavin Watt Amiens Metropole
Niall Collin Dundee
Ryan MacLeod Glasgow Mets
Middle Blockers
Stewart Caldwell Kilmarnock Blaze
Alisdair King City of Glasgow Ragazzi
Seain Cook Dundee
Simon Hammond City of Edinburgh
Robin Miedzybrodski       Leeds Carnegie
Mike Penny City of Edinburgh

Steve Scott
Team Manager SMNT