Volleyball end-of-week wrap
It was an eventful week in both codes of volleyball at the NatWest Island Games.
At Fort Regent, 18 teams competed (nine teams in each men's and ladies categories), with 203 players (102 men and 101 ladies) playing in 48 matches and six medals awarded on the final day.The days were action packed, with serves, spikes, digging the ball and blocking at the net, with outstanding quality of play. All teams brought a great energy to the games, high levels of enthusiasm and camaraderie between teams was always visible. There was frequent chanting from supporters and players alike, encouraging each to keep going. Some of the matches were very close with intense moments and seeing four and five sets played.
We saw some teams returning to the game after a long absence – Isle of Man after 30 years, entering both a ladies’ and men’s team, and Shetland Islands entering a men’s team after 10 years away.
The overall winners were the ladies’ and men’s team from Saaremaa taking gold medals in both categories, the silver medal in each event went to the Faroe Islands teams. The men's team had too much quality for the Faroes, eventually winning 3-0 in 78 minutes.
In the women's final Saaremaa were given a severe test by their Faroese opposition, who took the second set to level the match. A pivotal third set went Saaremaa's way 25-22 and set them on course for a 3-1 win in 95 minutes.
A surprise in the ladies was a bronze medal won by Menorca, who defeated Aland 3-1 in the longest match of the final day (102 minutes). Aland won the bronze medal winner in the men’s category with a 3-0 win over Bermuda.
Among the liveliest events of a busy week at the NatWest Island Games has been the beach volleyball at the Weighbridge in St Helier. The climax of the competition saw Gotland's men take gold by defeating Saaremaa (silver) 2-0, while hosts Jersey reversed an earlier group stage defeat by the Cayman Islands to take bronze. Cayman Islands were women's gold medallists, also defeating Saaremaa 2-0, while Menorca took bronze.
The atmosphere at both volleyball venues was in no small part down to the musical back-drop provided by Hannah Jacques and her team of DJs.
Thanks you to all those who competed, supported and to the organisers who made this event happen.
Words: Karen Gray - Pics: Jacqui Ranieri, Oli Wade, Dave Crocker, Dindo Apron Fortuno, Charlotte Angell,Tim Sayers & Steve Lund
Denis Le Breuilly, volleyball director, adds:
"I was delighted with the standard of venues our organising team was able to produce for the NatWest Island Games. Both Fort Regent and The Weighbridge were greatly admired by players, officials, and the thousands of spectators we attracted throughout the week
It is always a relief when, after all the work, there are spectators to enjoy the play of the remarkable athletes, many of whom now compete at the highest possible level in major competitions. In particular, the atmosphere at the beach volleyball was one of the highlights of the Games.
All was made possibly by the support received from NatWest sponsorship and their branding staff, the sponsors of the beach build, the Jersey Island Games team and the excellent support received from all levels of staff at Fort Regent, as well as the Waitrose Games Makers and other volunteers at each of the venues.
Special thanks go to Volleyball technical delegate, Steve Evans who took on many roles in the Queens Hall to ensure the delivery of an excellent competition across both courts, and to his very able local coordinator and court manager Lee Ingram.
The beach volleyball took many months of planning, much under the direction of technical delegate Jeff Brehaut who, on a voluntary basis, contributed his Olympic and World Championship experience of running events, and knowledge of court building, to the Island Games.
Without doubt the beach volleyball would not have been the success it was without the truly outstanding contribution of the Jersey Volleyball Association president Paul Adamson. Paul’s building skills came to the fore and he worked tirelessly to gain the support of sponsors, on supervising the build, and on all aspects of the competition. The three main sponsors were Houze Construction, Normans, and Simon Sand & Gravel - all made very significant contributions.
Many thanks to all the above, and others too numerous to mention, who helped make it a successful NatWest Island Games for Jersey and volleyball.
Hopefully we will have helped inspire future hosts to achieve their highest possible standard within the limits of their resources."