Scots Book Qualifying Place

Scotland secured their place in next year’s European Championships Small Countries Division after beating Ireland 25-13 25-11 25-8.

It gave Scotland their third win in Pool A – without dropping a set – and they can win the group by beating Cyprus in their final match.

Scotland started strongly with Great Britain Olympic captain Lynne Beattie contributing four of their first five points as they led 5-3. Ireland had their moments with opposite Leanne Dignam and captain Edel Nolan catching the eye but they could not put the Scotland passing unit under any sustained pressure and the hosts took the set 25-13.

Ireland led briefly at the start of the second set after a service ace from Nolan but Scotland came back with Beattie making it 8-3 at the technical time-out. But Scotland had other weapons with captain Jen Thom and opposite Linsey Bunten also showing their power as they won the set 25-11.

Lynne BeattieScotland jumped to a 6-0 lead at the start of the final set under some strong serving from Jo Morgan, forcing an Irish time-out. A second ball attack from Jo Morgan took Scotland to 16-5 and they finished the job 25-8.

Head coach Craig Faill said: “At the start, the Irish fed on the emotion of the occasion and it impacted on us but then our game fell into place. We served really well and we knew we’d get some scrappy balls in the back court but we dealt with that and I was able to run the bench. That’s been a real plus for me this weekend.”

Irish head coach Willem Klaas Roosenburg stated: “We worked hard and I’m proud of the players. We know how strong Scotland are and our goal was to get at least ten points in each set. I know the “Fighting Irish” in America are Notre Dame but we have our own version with this team.” 

Captain Edel Nolan said: “We’ve only been together for a few months and we knew this was going to be difficult and we’ve set our own individual goals as players. I think this weekend has brought us closer together.”