11 Apr 2012
Source: J Hamilton
The largest volleyball event ever hosted in Scotland took centre stage at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility last week thanks to a cash boost from local sponsors UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE).
The Confédération Européenne de Volleyball (CEV) 2012 Small Countries Division (SCD) Junior Men’s final round saw more than 70 of the continent’s best young players come together for a nail-biting contest to be crowned champions.
UKSE pledged £3,000 toward the five-day sporting extravaganza between Scotland, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and San Marino. The money from the Tata Steel subsidiary helped the hosts towards accommodation for the teams, their coaches and match officials and also to raise awareness of the event.
Volleyball has thrived in Lanarkshire since 2009 when North Lanarkshire Council began working with North Lanarkshire Leisure Trust and the Scottish Volleyball Association to encourage the formation of youth teams ahead of the International Children’s Games.
There are currently five teams in Lanarkshire – welcoming boys and girls in under-16s and under-19s categories – and three players who started out in these teams made the grade to represent Scotland in this prestigious competition.
Stuart MacKenzie, 14, Matthew Berry, 15, and Mark McLaughlin, 15 – all from Carluke – took time out from their usual club commitments to join the Scotland Junior Men’s squad in their bid for victory on home turf.
Anne Clyde, area manager of UKSE, said: “Volleyball has become such an important pastime in Lanarkshire and it’s been great to see such wide take up of a sport that keeps our youngsters active and at the same time teaches them how to work as a team and strive for success.
“Having such a top event take place in Motherwell – on the site of the old steel works – is a credit to those working hard to put Lanarkshire on the sporting map and it’s fitting that UK Steel Enterprise should be right behind them, helping to make it happen.”
The newly appointed president of the Small Countries Division of the CEV, Margaret Ann Fleming, hails from Kilsyth and has spoken of her pride in seeing her home area host the championships.
Douglas Holmes, Sports Development Officer for North Lanarkshire Leisure Trust, said: “Hosting a championship of this magnitude is just incredible.
“The calibre of players is so impressive and it’s great to see that home-grown Scottish talent can compete so competently at this level.
“Encouraging an interest in sport among young people is one of North Lanarkshire Leisure Trust’s main goals and events like this just go to show that by encouraging participation and nurturing talent we can generate sporting excellence in Scottish youngsters.”On Saturday (7th April), Cyprus topped the board and took the cup, with Luxembourg and Scotland joining them on the podium.