If you are a BBC radio presenter with the challenge of trying as many Olympic sports as possible while the Olympic Games are taking place in Rio then you are going to want to try volleyball. Of course you need a coach to teach you the basics and convey to your listeners that volleyball is a fun sport. That is what happened this morning on BBC Radio Oxford and who was the coach?
Step forward Jenny Boorman from Calne Comets.
Despite only have a few minutes before going on air, Jenny managed to teach the presenter Lilley Mitchell enough about volleyball that she mentioned making a flat surface with her arms when digging and creating a star (well close enough Jenny normal refers to a diamond shape) in front of her forehead when setting – concepts that we recognise from Jenny’s sessions here in Calne. It all sounded good fun and you can listen to the recording on iPlayer for the next 30 days (the bit with Jenny starts at time 02:22:15).
The Meteorites have not had the best of seasons but despite losing the final match of the season to Wootton Bassett Aces. The Aces went in to the match in second place looking for promotion to the premier division and might have expected the bottom-of-the-table Meteorites to be a push over. However the Meteorites were fielding as strong a team as they have all season with Neil playing as setter, Ben as opposite, Marketa and Matt in the middle and Kat and Anji in the outside positions.
The Meteorites started well racing into a 6-1 lead in the first set leaving the Aces in doubt that they had some work to do. Unfortunately the Meteorites could not keep the momentum going against the serving of experienced Irwin Aiken (with our setter at position six) losing six points in succession and eventually losing the set 25-15. In the second set the Meteorites were once again fighting for every point up leading until we got to that troublesome rotation with the setter at position 6, although they kept in touch until the score was 12-13 down when before the Aces scored four successive points and were able to maintain that lead to win the second set 25-17. Again in the third set the Meteorites managed to build a lead this time getting to 10-4 mainly thanks to some big serving from Matt and let the lead slip until taking a time-out at 13:19 down before battling back when Matt served again to lead 22-21. Three set points were lost before the Meteorites eventually lost the final set 28-26 but with a lot of honour gained. Marketa was nominated as the Meteorites’ MVP but it could easily have been any one of the six players who had battled so well.
Harriet Adams and Harriet Bentley (both pictured) from Calne Comets Volleyball Club won the U14 girls category at the South-West Mini-Volleyball Championships at Wellsway School near Bristol on Saturday along with the season-long grand-prix title. Both girls have recently being selected to represent the South-West at the inter-regional championships in May.
In the U12 boys category the Calne Binary team of Alex Steimer and Ollie Morris held on to the runners-up spot in the grand-prix despite being unable to compete due to illness.
Although the Meteorites lost to Olympiad B it was their youngsters who caught the eye when the starting six for the third set was Harriet, Ben, Toby, Chessie, Anji and the most senior David. Not only were they young but physically much shorter than the players at Olympiad’s disposal. However they were not short on skill and pushed Olympiad all the way as they kept the ball flying and causing mayhem as they started to find gaps in Olympiad’s own defences. MVP was Harriet while Neil and Marketa were the remaining players.
There will be a combined junior and adults training session on Friday (12 February) starting at 7PM and finishing approximately half past eight followed by a shortened adults session.
We are planning a session that will include playing mini-volleyball (the format played at junior level) as this is something the adults do not normally see and there are a couple of junior teams playing that format in a grand-prix the following day in Plymouth.
Weekday evening matches can sometimes be tricky as it is often the case that some players are unavailable due to work commitments. For the trip to Lavington School to face Devizes Barrels, the Comets had to start the match without a regular middle player, as Andy Smith was unavailable and Jörg Steimer was delayed. Despite these problems the Comets were never troubled by the Barrels and won 25-10 25-16 25-12 with captain Matt Morten voted MVP.
Despite losing to Salisbury Druids, the Comets still top the league having played more matches than their rivals, although unbeaten Druids appear to have lost some points for administrative reasons as they are eight points behind Comets with only one match in hand.
Devizes 6X ended the Comets unbeaten start to the season on Sunday.
With Dan unavailable, Matt switched back to playing opposite with Steve and Irénée outside and Andy and Jörg through the middle [it almost goes without saying that Cliff was setting] initially. The Comets started well and were point-for-point with 6X (who had two new players from last season) up to 7-7 when 6X edged three points ahead. The Comets managed to stay in touch until 14-16 before 6X closed out the set 25-18.
In the second set with Fred on for Steve, it was a similar start with the Comets matching 6X to 8 all before the 6X captain Steve Grimes built a eight point lead with his serve. However the Comets gradually reduced the deficit to level the set at 22-22 but after a time-out 6X dominated the remaining points to win the set 25-23.
With the match lost, Comets made several changes for the third set with Fred moving to opposite and Steve and Neil playing outside but the momentum was with 6X who completed the evening by winning the final set 25-15.
In their final match before the Christmas break the Comets MVP was Jörg.
Despite having almost the same team as for the league match at Devizes, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Meteorites to beat Olympiad and so it proved with a straight sets defeat.
The Meteorites team of Richard, Serena, Matt, Toby, Marketa, Harriet and Neil against Devizes Firkins at Lavington School this afternoon. Marketa was our MVP.
The Comets remain undefeated this season after they recovered from losing the first set to Swinton Engineers to win by two sets to one.
The venue for the match had been switched to the Supergym at the Tidworth garrison due to a boxing match taking place at the Swinton barracks.
It was the Engineers who came out fighting while the Comets looked to be on the ropes struggling to attack and allowing the Engineers to control the play. It was not until the Engineers had reached set point before the Comets started to find any rhythm and reach 23 points before losing the set. This gave Comets some momentum and they started the second set better, although they did allow Engineers to get back into the set before the Comets closed the set out to 21. Finally in the third set the Comets started landing their punches and raced through the final set to win it 25-11 and therefore remain undefeated this season.
With Andy Smith injured, Matt Morten had switched to the middle and was nominated as MVP. The rest of the team was Jorg, Cliff, Neil, Dan, Irenee and Steve.