The UK School Games is a multi sport event which has taken place in the six years preceding the 2012 Olympics, and this year sees the final one in its current format. The games have offered up and coming athletes of school age the rich opportunity to sample an Olympic style experience as many of them prepare for very bright sporting careers ahead. Find out more about the games at www.ukschoolgames.com.
Our adventure began with the first group of West Athletes and Coaches boarding in Troon, followed by the next group in Glasgow and finally our East contingent joined in Edinburgh. From there 48 excited Athletes, 8 ambitious Coaches, 4 hard working Team Managers and 1 proud Head of Delegation set off for Sheffield to represent Scotland at the 2011 games.
The next leg of our UK School Games journey was the first day of the competition where each of the four Scotland squads played one match each. Every player glowed as the official protocol to introduce their team and announce the starting six onto court took place, an honourable first Scottish Cap for many. As expected, the first day saw some nerves in the young athletes, which began to subside as they settled into their games. For full day 1 report click here
The journey continued into day 2 of the competition where the Scotland squads faced 7 matches across the course of the day. Any nerves from day 1 had settled and it was ‘game on’ for all the players. The day brought some spectacular performances from the young Scottish athletes, particularly in their respective East v West matches where both the boys and girls battled it out in tie breaks. For full day 2 report click here
After an early night and a good sleep, the Scotland squads were excited as they woke face a long but crucial day ahead. With 10 matches scheduled for the squads, an impressive amount of parents had descended upon Sheffield to watch the excitement unfold, and what a display these young athletes put on for them. As you will see from the scores below, the opening West v North boys game was nail biting but ultimately swung in favour of England North. The East girls performance rose as every minute of the tournament unfolded, and went on to experience their first win v Wales which was aided by Naomi Symonds’ excellent role in the middle. West girls had a comfortable win over Northern Ireland which allowed many players to gain their first Scotland Cap, and yet again Katie Barbour provided a consistently fantastic performance. For full day 3 report click here
With all but the West girls having completed their round robins, the players got packed up and headed back to the English Institute of Sport for the last time to support the West girls in their final match against England North where yet another high standard of play was provided. The courts were then turned around for the audience to witness the GB squad take on the All Stars in a spectacular sitting volleyball match. With Scotland providing the noisiest contingent of all the spectators, the girls final began between England Central and England North with Central taking the gold medal in a 2-0 win (25-17, 25-12). This was closely followed by the boys final between England South and England North where South were the gold winners with a 2-0 win (26-24, 25-15). Check out www.ukschoolgames.com for full information on the finals. For full day 4 report click here
It was then time to head home, so an exhausted 48 athletes, 12 staff and 1 head of delegation embarked on the journey home to reflect on a fabulous trip and look to the bright future ahead for these talented young athletes.
Having attended all the UKSG as a parent, coach and now head of delegation, I think I appreciate more than anyone the immense hard work that goes on behind the scenes throughout
the planning, preparation and competing stages. And to that end, I would like to express my warmest thanks to all the Coaches and Team Managers – a fantastic team who made this years trip a complete success.
Sportset Super-6 Award
Despite not going home with any medals this year, Scotland were exceptionally proud to be represented in the Sportset Super-6 award where Katie Barbour and Mark Lawson were recognised for being in the top six players determined by player statistics and coach nominations by receiving a gold Volleyball and gift voucher.
Spirit of the Tournament Award – 100% ME
A surprise was sprung upon Scotland West player Laurie McKillop tonight when she wondered why the crowd descended upon her as she hung out with her team! Laurie was in the UKSG squad last year though did not receive a huge amount of court time, then this year, she was on the reserve list – a situation where many girls of her age may have walked away. However, a situation arose and the squad was reduced to 11 players and Laurie was invited to be part of the travelling squad. Laurie embraced that invitation and worked her socks off to the point where she was a starting player with a vast amount to offer her team. And for those reasons, out of 1600 athletes, Laurie’s nomination was selected to receive the ‘Spirit of the Tournament’ award. A certificate and goodie bag including an ipod was presented by a GB Sitting Volleyball player to an emotional Laurie! A very well deserved achievement – Congratulations Laurie.