Dorset-Hampshire Investment Zone – Mark Simmons continued as our Volleyball Relationship Manager and has filed his own report.
Adult – There is quite a demand from beginner adults wanting to take up volleyball, but the problem is that most clubs want players with a little bit of experience. Poole Panthers, who take beginners, currently have 9 people on their waiting list to join. Clubs’ less formal beach sessions often give new players the opportunity to take up volleyball. A women’s only session run by association with the help of a This Girl Can grant, has attracted increasing numbers and a demand to continue after the grant runs out. 18 teams attended our two Novice Tournaments run by Mike Royles.
We tried running a monthly sitting volleyball evening, but stopped after 4 months due to low demand, from either able-bodied or physically impaired players.
Junior – Several coaches develop volleyball in local schools, while Wessex now have 3 Satellite Clubs, at Leaf Academy, Parkstone Grammar and Lytchett Minster. Leaf ran a very successful KS2 competition attracting 34 teams from 12 schools. Volleyball England ran their pilot Talent ID programme alongside it, which proved very popular with the youngsters.
Indoor - The 2 division mixed league plays weekly on 4 courts at Leaf Academy, while the Ladies/Under 15 boys division playing one evening a month on a tournament basis. Volley Wallies had to drop out after the fixtures had been prepared, necessitating in Neil Bottomley, the League Secretary, having to prepare a new set. Bournemouth Eagles joined the league and hopefully they will thrive. Paula Reynolds and Julie Merrill took over running our women’s/U15 boys league and consequently it ran better than in recent years. Wessex A won Division 1, Bournemouth VC won Division 2 and Wessex U15 Boys won the Ladies/U15 Boys League.
Beach – The 10 permanent courts on local beaches, as well as the 3 outdoor courts and the 5-court indoor centre at Leaf Academy, mean that we attract beach players from throughout Southern England all-year round. Obviously, in summer, many local indoor player hit the beaches.
Tournaments – The Sandbanks Beach Volleyball Festival once again hosted the British Junior Beach Championships and a leg of the Junior VEBT, attracting 140 junior teams in 18 competitions. In addition, 40 adult teams played in three 4 a-side competitions. This year, Bournemouth University are taking over responsibility for running the tournament, with help from Wessex on the weekend.
- Wessex Leaf Under 18’s did the double-double, becoming National Champions for both Under 18 Men and Women and winning both Under 18 Junior Men’s and Women’s Grand Prix.
- Wessex BU 1st men were 5th in the Super 8’s, with a team that was mainly under 21
- Wessex 1st women were 6th in Super 8’s, but reached the semi-finals of the play-offs
- Wessex 2nd men were 4th in NVL Division 2, with a mainly U18 team
- Wessex 2nd Women were 8th in NVL Division 3 South, with a mainly U16/U18 team
- Wessex Leaf Under 15 boys were 3rd in the National U15’s
- Bournemouth University men retained the National Student Cup and came 3rd at BUCS
- Bournemouth University women were 3rd in the National Student Cup
Indoor International Honours
England Men – Dan Hunter
England Juniors – Yasmin Kaashoek, Holly Merrifield, Ed VanWingarden, Harry Jones.
England Cadets – Iraj Safaee
A number of others played for the SW.
Beach International Honours
England Women – Vicky Palmer and Jess Grimson
England Age-Group - Matt Hunter, Yasmin Kaashoek, Harry Jones, Issa Bartran
Also, Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf have moved to Bournemouth, to benefit from the year-round facilities and to be coached by Wessex Leaf coach, Kirk Pitman, a former World Tour player.
COACHING- Wessex coaches, Dan Hunter, was Assistant Coach to England Junior Men and Anthony Roberts coached the South-West boys.
- On the beach, Andy Jones and Lewie Lett coach the England Junior Men’s pairs.
- A Level 1 course attracted 17 successful candidates.
REFEREEINGNick Heckford continued as an international referee all over the world, including the women’s Olympic qualifiers.
Geoff Allen, Chairman May 2016