An epic encouter......

An epic day at Coatbridge High………

The atmosphere was electric as 60 odd spectators crammed into the games hall at Coatbridge High School to share in the excellence that was on show from two great clubs. Friends, family, partners, children all there to support their favourites, cheer, and marvel at the performance level as Su Ragazzi hosted City of Edinburgh in three terrific encounters.

In the first match the boys from Su II took on the boys from City of Edinburgh II and raced into a two sets to zero lead. Edinburgh clawed back one set, then a second and the crowd were on their feet cheering the boys from both teams. The fifth set was tense, dramatic, nail biting stuff from which the Edinburgh side emerged victorious with a 15-13 scoreline.

Interviewed after the match Ragazzi Coach Ally Galloway reflected on his team’s performance; "We played better in the first two sets, as we served tough and hit effectively on the outside, but then we did not so well in the next 3 sets".  He went on to congratulate Edinburgh’s veteran spiker Danny Traylor who got Ally’s vote for MVP.

In the day’s second match it was a clash of the titans as the men from City of Glasgow Ragazzi took on the men from City of Edinburgh.  Grant McIntyre was the man in charge and he said it was the most enjoyable match he had officiated so far this season.  It was terrific entertainment and the maximum capacity audience lapped up the tension and the drama as it unfolded.

Set one the Glasgow side swept their opponents aside and won 25-16 with setter Marc McLaughlin orchestrating every move. Set 2 was a repeat and a score of 25-15 for the men from the West.  Edinburgh Coach Ally Jack changed his line up and put Fraser Brown into the setting role, and Euan Gibson into the middle attack, and the score-line reflected the validity of these changes.  It was point for point, it was spike for spike, it was towering blocks following the toughest serving, and the crowd gasped at the power defence, as Edinburgh seized the initiative and won the set 28-26.

Set four the home side regrouped, used their fearsome first tempo attack move often, while libero Stuart Mackenzie passed everything the Edinburgh side threw at him, and the match was won with a 25-15 score. 

John Galloway, the Club Chairperson when asked if the men’s team were in Championship winning form said a simple "Yes"!  When asked to expand a little he said; "The first two sets were excellent, particularly the first.   I was proud of the way the guys powered through I the fourth set to win the game".

Match 3 was even more dramatic as the Fabulous Suettes took on their City of Edinburgh rivals.  This was women’s sport at its best.  This was competition and excellence, high drama and emotions all rolled up into a fantastic match up.

Edinburgh took the initiative and the first set with a 25-19 score.  The Suettes fought back and took the next two sets 25-22 and 25-20. Edinburgh responded with outside hitter Jenn Thom going through a purple patch where she was virtually unstoppable, and won the set 25-23 pushing this pulsating encounter into a fifth set

In the fifth the team from the East raced into a 4-point lead.  It took the home side some time to get started and it looked bleak when they changed ends with an 8-3 score in favour of the visitors, but the girls fought back, and at 14-13 down were confident of tying the score – they did and at 14 each it was game on……. except the visitors took the next two points to win the set 16-14 and with it the match 3 – 2.  It was all so very intense, and hugely enjoyable.

Match 4 saw the girls from Su II take on the girls from Edinburgh Jets II.  This was a tense affair with the serve-pass battle dominating procedures, until Su II Captain Kelsie Braidwood announced that she was having fun on the court, her statement accompanied with a smile. Kelsie’s comment changed the tone of the encounter, which helped the home side to establish some dominance winning the first set 25-19 having come back from being 10-3 down.

Set 2 belonged to the visitors 25-20, who were playing with lots of confidence, urged on by their Coach Nisbet Duffin.  Set 3 the Glasgow girls regrouped, with Priya Gill taking over the setting role, then set 4 was a nip-and-tuck affair with both teams playing well , but the Glasgow side winning with a first tempo power hit from Alice Haynes.

So the final tally for the home side was played 4 won 2 – with all of the encounters contributing greatly to the excellence of the Scottish Volleyball picture.