Americans Take Over Perth
It was celebration big style around the North Inch on the 29 and 30 May 2004 with the annual Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament celebrating 20 years of top class volleyball in Perth.
NewYork College sides X-Patriots arrived in Perth on Thursday evening and true to their inimitable style they were there on the North Inch on that very evening to help the local band of volunteers erect the 30 sets of outdoor nets and posts for the weekend’s outdoor competition.
Friday evening saw the Americans lead a children’s coaching session which was clearly enjoyed by one and all. Friday evening also saw the Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Volleyball Association where outgoing chairman Ian McGowan was replaced by Scottish Volleyball’s first ever woman chairperson in Margaret Ann Fleming.
Next door at the Inch Restaurant the opening Ceilidh was getting underway with the Americans, Faroe Islanders and Ulstermen all savouring the delights of Scottish traditional dances with stovies to fill their bellies and set them up for some more of the same.
Saturday morning was particularly hectic as the remainder of the 135 teams arrived to register their players for the tournament.
Indoors the five indoor courts were soon alive with men’s and women’s division of honour teams battling it out for the honour of claiming the Scottish Open Championship title for 2004. Teams from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and of course U.S.A. were all thrust together in an exciting mix.
Outdoors saw a number of teams with “Fair City” involvement competing in various divisions, with the mixed divisions again being the most popular. As luck would have it the Perth weather turned a little damp as just after 10 a.m. the rain began to fall.
Conditions became slightly treacherous as players fought to keep their grip on the wet grass. Thankfully the rain stopped and things dried up for surprisingly almost perfect playing conditions with no direct sunlight and no wind. On the fun side the team of inflated Sumo men performed remarkably skilfully despite their massively inflated girths. Full marks again to the team who like to entertain while having a great laugh at themselves.
Local interest was certainly to the fore after Saturday’s games with Inchy Feet, Dodgy Spikers, Kintronics, Kelty to name but a few qualifying for the latter stages of the tournament on Sunday. Indoors both American men’s and women’s sides along with City of Glasgow Ragazzi men and Team Falkirk College women qualifying for Sunday’s final. Saturday evening saw everyone head to Dewars Rinks for the festivities to continue in the shape of a mammoth disco.
Sunday morning saw the sun shine on the competitors for the first time as they assembled for a nine o’clock start. Just after play commenced the committee of volunteers had their own celebration as they cut the 20th birthday cake, washing it down with some bubbly.
It was crunch time for all the qualifiers knowing that one defeat could end their chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the tournament. Kintronics were the first team to falter losing out 23-25; 21-25 to Glenfinnan. Next to falter were Kelty, followed by Dodgy Spikers. That left Inchy Feet with the Angus, Hay and Blacklaws families husbands and wives making up the team. They met Forres House in the final of mixed division 2 and came out on top to lift the trophy. Men’s division 2 saw Campus Sports reach the final only to lose out to Edinburgh University. Mixed division 3 saw Perth’s Rodney’s Trotters lose out to the Dodgy Diggers in that final. Other Perth interest saw Roy Munro and his Haughton Volleyball Club from Darlington lose out in the men’s division 1 final to Mets Vets.
In the Division of Honour finals there was also local interest with ex-Kintronics star Lesley Blyth lining up as libero player for Team Falkirk College against X-Patriots. In the first set English International player Mel Coutts and promising Scottish youngster Shona Mullen pounded point after point but the Americans were not to be outdone and a very close first set ended with Team Falkirk College 25-23 ahead.
The second set saw a complete reversal with the X-Patriots dominating play to level things with a 25-12 score. The third set saw the early scores going point for point but it was the Americans who finished the stronger (15-10) to retain their Scottish Open title they won last year.
Next it was the Men’s Division of Honour Final and City of Glasgow Ragazzi lined up against X-Patriots Men. The first set saw the Americans edge out their Scottish counterparts 25-17. The second set was a demonstration of power volleyball with both sides out to outgun the other.
Level at 25 points each the score progressed to 28 points each. It was Ragazzi who scored the two vital points to level the game at one set each. The third and final set commenced and the Patriots took an early lead only for Ragazzi to peg back but this time the Americans took the vital two last points to win 15-13 and make it a double celebration for them.
All in all a very successful tournament with much credit to the organising committee who again provided a wonderful spectacle for the people of Perth and the volleyball fraternity.
Thanks are also due to a small select band who support the tournament by sponsorship deals: Ramada Jarvis Hotels, Scottish Hydro, Strathmore Water and B&Q. With their support the Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament continues to thrive.
SOVT 2004 Results:
|Div. Honour Men
|City of Glasgow Ragazzi
|Div. Honour Women
|Team Falkirk College
|Div. 1 Men
|Div. 1 Women
|Div 2 Men
|Div. 2 Women
|Div. 3 Men
|Mixed Div. 1
|Mixed Div. 2
|Glasgow Uni. Mixed
|Mixed Div. 3
|Italian Leather Sofas