Rachel Henderson, Zoe Grant and Meggy Croal ,of Banchory Volleyball Club, all shone in the East & North Scotland girls volleyball tournament.
The event held at the UK School Games from September 12 - 15 saw the teams gathered in Sheffield for the occasion, with Scotland East & North, Scotland West and South, England South, England North, England Central, Wales and Northern Ireland all represented.
There were both boys’ and girls’ tournaments over the three days of competition play.
The Scotland East and North girls got off to a convincing start in their first game on day two of competition play with a 2 – 0 win over Wales. The biggest threat was always going to come from the England teams as volleyball has a very strong following south of the border. However, the localr girls ran England Central very close but were pipped at the post in a thrilling match.
Their third match of the day was against their Scottish counterparts from West and South, and what an exciting match it was. The East and North girls had never prevailed but came out of the blocks like a hurricane to take the first set.
The West girls fought back, however, and showed great composure in taking the all-important second set to take the match to a sudden death third set decider. What resulted was quite an extraordinary set of volleyball with play ebbing and flowing and both teams having multiple set points.
In a great piece of final pressure play, Scotland East & North took the honours 18 – 16 to win the match amidst great excitement.
The first match on day three saw the East & North girls storm to a convincing victory over Northern Ireland and with tails up they were ready to face the stern challenges of England North and England South ahead. The impressive East team took the first pot at England North and, despite maintaining their impressive level of play, the England girls were just too strong and shaded the match 2- 0.
In their final game, the girls tackled the tournament favourites England South, who were yet to lose a set. Although this remained the same at the end of the game, the East and North girls were outstanding and played out of their skins.
The second set was keenly contested and the East girls refused to buckle under intense pressure. They fought tooth and nail and took the second set all the way before narrowly conceding 25 – 23 to give the England South girls the closest game of the tournament and a real fright.
Despite finishing equal third in the table on six points for the round-robin stage of the tournament, they just dipped out on contesting the medal matches on points count-back system.
However, the girls were upbeat, really buoyed by the occasion and thoroughly enjoyed their experience in such a high pressure competitive environment.
All three are a credit their club and are now looking forward to taking part in the local district league competition which starts shortly and runs throughout the winter.
Anyone interested in giving volleyball a try is welcome to go along to one of the S1 – S3 training sessions on Monday evenings from 6 – 7.30pm in Banchory Academy Games Hall or to the senior (S4 and up) and adults session on Thursdays starting at 7.30pm in the same venue.