Submitted by Neil Bottomley on Sat, 10/22/2016 - 18:20

 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.



  -       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.



Nick Heckford continued as an international referee all over the world, including the women’s Olympic qualifiers.

 Geoff Allen,  Chairman                                                                                                                                                                                             May 2016