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East Midlands U17s take victory at Inter Regionals!

posted 19 Jun 2012, 06:58 by Web Admin
Report by Greg Shaw
Volleyball has over 800 million players worldwide leading to claims that it may be the most popular sport in the world. As a true team sport with intense rallies and breath taking agility, volleyball is full of tactical complexities that give players and spectators alike a unique experience.

Volleyball England’s inter regional championship kicked off on the first weekend in June(2nd-3rd) at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering. This annual tournament involves all of the regions in England (Yorkshire, West Midlands, East Midlands, East, London, South West and South East) competing against each other for the title of Inter-Regional Champions. The tournament showcased some of the highest junior volleyball talent in England as all the players had to endure a selection process to gain the opportunity to represent their region.

This year the championship girls' competition was on Saturday 2nd June. East Midland’s Regional Squad arrived along with the other 8 regions eager to get on court and display their talents. This proved to be an exciting day with both U14’s and U16’s East Midland’s teams putting up a good fight. The U14’s girls' squad made a tremendous victory as they managed to consolidate a runners-up place in the U14 (B) section (with Rockets’ Rhia Simmonds playing very well) and respectfully a 3rd place finish in the U14 (A) section. Despite their courageous efforts the girls' U16's squad, featuring Rockets player Martyna Gessler, finished in 7th place. However the East Midlands' players did their region proud; it certainly isn’t easy performing at the inter-regional championship!
The boys' competition took place on the Sunday 3rd June with two squads representing the East Midlands (U15’s & U17’s). The U15’s boys squad had mixed results in the campaign throughout the championship. They battled fiercely against the West Midlands and came out on top! This was a brilliant victory as the West Midlands have a reputation for being an excellent team. The East Midlands' U15's boys finished in a mid table position of 5th – well done to U15 Rockets squad members Adam Wake and Sam Reid for being instrumental players on court.

In the 2011 Inter-regional championships the U17's Men's squad achieved a record breaking  bronze medal. In this year’s championship the U17’s squad had yet even more surprises to reveal. The East region of England has always been regarded by many as the favorites to win the championship and to make this even more nerve-racking the East Midlands had to face the favorites in the first match of the day!  The two teams clashed horns, as the pressure mounted, the audience could see that both teams were a force to be reckoned with. East Midlands had taken the advantage by dramatically winning the first set, this allowed them to gain confidence and to grow as a team; the chanting could have been heard from miles away as the under-dogs(East Midlands) were beating the championship favorites(East). Thanks to some heroic defending and relentless spiking the East Midlands U17’s squad had beaten and quite frankly crushed East 2-0 (21-13, 21-18). Imbued with complete confidence the U17’s went on to win every match in the championship except against Yorkshire, who to be fair, were brilliant on the day and defiantly made 'friends with the floor' as they defended every point. With 2-0 win over South East, East Midlands U17’s had guaranteed 1st place in the tournament and had made East Midlands' Volleyball history.  Well done to the team and thank you to all the coaching staff who put their time into helping this squad gain this huge achievement. Last but not least - congratulations should be due to all the squads who competed at the championship at the weekend, for putting in a first class and exceptional performance.

The Inter-regional Championship (East Midlands' U17's) winning squad included :
  • Adam Lagerberg (Nottingham Rockets)
  • Alex Hutchinson (Loughborough Lions)
  • Ben Woodhouse (Ashfield Vipers)
  • Ed Godsell (Nottingham Rockets)
  • George Smith (Nottingham Rockets)
  • Gregory Shaw (Nottingham Rockets)
  • Gregg Smith (Ashfield Vipers)
  • Ieuan Lamb (c) (Nottingham Rockets)
  • Khalil Derf (Loughborough Lions)
  • Tom Hurdley (Loughborough Lions)
  • Matt Sanders (Loughborough Lions)
  • Nick Shardlow (Nottingham Rockets)
Several other Rockets players featured in the 3 other squads – congratulations to all those who took part.

U14 Girls B: Rhia Simmonds
U16 Girls: Martyna Gessler
U15 Boys: Adam Wake, Sam Reid