When medals and trophies are won and lost

Springtime 2018

When medals and trophies are won and lost

Sometimes top class sport demands incredible efforts, and produces fantastic rewards.  Su Ragazzi VC has been involved in both over the past two weeks.

This frantic end of season period started on Saturday 14th April.  
The boys of the City of Glasgow Ragazzi travelled to South Queensferry High School, and crushed their rivals City of Edinburgh 3 sets to zero.  The Su Boys won the title on this day, with 3 matches left to play – they were awesome!

Meanwhile the Fabulous Suettes were being fabulous in Aberdeen where they dispatched the home side 3 sets to zero, and in so doing they set up a winner-takes-all championship encounter with City of Edinburgh.

At the same time as this was happening the men II were in Dundee losing 2 sets to 3 to the home side who were in great form.  Finaly the women’s second team were in Lenzie recording a great win against Glasgow International to clinch second place in the Division I Championship.

The frantic period continued on Sunday 15th April when the Su II men travelled to the home of City of Edinburgh II and promptly won the match 3 sets to 1 to remain at the top of the League I table with one game left. to play.

Phew!  Take a breath!

The focus then shifted to Thursday 19th April when the City of Glasgow Ragazzi boys travelled to Prestwick Academy to play the ever confident South Ayrshire, and the Suettes played City of Edinburgh in a sell-out match at Coatbridge High School.  The men’s resources were stretched to braking point with injuries to critical players resulting in changes to players and positions and an ‘all hands to the pumps’ attitude.  We lost the match 3 sets to 1 to a jubilant South Team, but we worked our socks off and played well under the circumstances.

Meanwhile at Coatbridge, in a terrific advert for women's volleyball the Suettes won the first set, lost the second, and in winning the third clinched the Premier Championship title.  We jumped about in celebration, then remembered that we had to play the rest of the match.  Set 4 we lost, set 5 we won to clinch the match 3 sets to 2, and then we went back to jumping about!

The focus then shifted to Saturday 21st April and Cup Finals weekend.
On this day there were five matches played in three competitions, and we had a team in three of them.  First up was Kelsie Braidwood and her Su Ragazzi II women.  They were playing Troon Vets.  We were younger, fitter, faster, and they had the experiences of being Champions multiple times, and playing regularly on the international stage.  They brought all of this to the party.  It was a good game, with the Troon Vets always in front dominating the play.  We worked hard but could not prevent the Troon women winning 3 sets to zero.

Next up were the Fabulous Suettes who played University of Edinburgh in a top-notch encounter.  We were the favourites, but the University girls played tough and better than they had in our previous matches.  The first set we gave a masterclass of power volleyball and won 25-12.  Second set they regrouped, played much better, and very reluctantly gave up the set 25-23. The third set we re-established dominance of the exchanges, we played super tough and won 25-20 clinching the treble of the John Syer Grand Prix, the SVL  Premier Championship and the Scottish Cup.  

This was a back-to-back treble win – very special!  

The final match of the day saw City of Glasgow Ragazzi playing City of Edinburgh.  This was unquestionably the best game of volleyball seen in Scotland for many a year, perhaps the best game ever!

On the back of the drubbing dished out to his side the week before Ally Jack, the Edinburgh Coach, had a major problem when his number 1 (and only) setter announced he was not available for the match.  Ally solved the problem by bringing in a back-up setter to plug the gap. Step forward Olympian Ben Pipes, who transformed the Edinburgh side and established a performance level for the game that was exhilarating!

Set one Edinburgh dominated and won 25-20,  set 2 we rose to the challenge, played some outstanding volleyball and won 25-22.  Set 3 we were always behind, then ‘stole’ the win at the very last moment 26-24.  Set 4 they reversed things, we were always in front, then they ‘stole’ the win 26-24.  This was simply fantastic volleyball, with both teams being urged on by the thunderous noise of the crowd who were all on their feet.  The last set was won for us when we were 13-8 up, but no-one told Edinburgh’s Mike Penny.  At 9-13 he took the ball and served the game out with a series of absolute howitzers.  It was hard to take, but at the same time there were smiles in our huddle for the quality of the match and how well we had contributed to the excellence………but the result was a sore one indeed!

So the City boys won the double of JS Grand Prix and the SVL Premier Championship – an outstanding return.

The final matches of the season will take place on Sunday 29th April at Coatbridge HS where the City of Glasgow Ragazzi Boys will face a double header of South Ayrshire and finaly a rematch with City of Edinburgh (Ally, can Ben come out to play again please…..), and the Su II men will play City of Edinburgh II to decide the winners of the Division I title with promotion to next year’s Premier Division.

I know where I will be on the 29th – how about you?

© Michael McConville and Lynne Marshall, www.volleyballphotos.co.uk