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‘Castle News Number 66I February 2012

Welcome from the Chair The difficulty and effort required to make a National Final should never be underestimated, so this month we should all celebrate the achievement of our under 18 girls and boys teams who have both made this happen for the second successive year! Hopefully both teams can win back-to-back titles, indeed for the lads this would be a hat-trick! Well done to all involved on and off the court who have made this happen. Colin Roberts Club Chair

Contents: 3 – Let’s Play Volleyball 2012 4-8 – Castle News updates 9 – Castle Shop 10 – 11 under 15 girls and boys 12 – Sportset 13-14 – under 16 boys 15 – Social Volleyball 16-17 – under 18 girls 18-19 – under 18 boys

Submit your own content (please!) to by the end of each month.

Castle News, no.66 February 2012

Great Britain Prepare for the Games... And want YOUR support When performance sport funding to help prepare teams for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was reviewed a couple of years ago based upon expected performance at the Games, the GB women lost the vast majority of their funding. But, rather than giving up they displayed the awesome attitude that you would expect from prospective Olympians and they chose not to sulk or give up, but to fight for their opportunity to perform. Through this there has been a significant fundraising effort and there is now a website and ‘Castle News style e-newsletter that you can subscribe to. Please support the ladies as they continue to fight for this once in a lifetime opportunity and take their place in the event that is the pinnacle of global volleyball. For more information go to

Cadets call up for lads ‘Castle lads Will Beacon, Rob Bellamy, Jack Richardson, Jonny Denfhy and Tom Carter have been invited to attend the forthcoming first training camp for the new cycle of England Cadets. This will take place on the 1718 March at the National Volleyball Centre and marks the first opportunity for the national squad coaches to have a look at the cohort of lads born in 1997 and 1998. The five lads will train 5 times across the weekend and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of experienced coach Carol Gordon who leads the programme. Good luck lads, hopefully it is the start of a long career within the national squads and future England success!

Jodie leads England Cadets In late January the England Cadet girls took part in an international tournament in Austria, and one of the leading members of the squad was ‘Castle’s Jodie Amor. A national academy athlete Jodie transferred to ‘Castle this summer and has become an integral player in our under 18 and ladies NVL teams. The England girls performed well in the tournament to win two matches and lose two matches – including defeats to the two teams that contested the final (tough draw then!), whilst the boys team made it through to the final before losing that match and missing out on the title.

VE Beach Tour & Junior Tour Dates Announced

Volleyball England have announced the dates of the 2012 Beach Tour and Junior Beach Tour events so your club wanted to make sure that as many members as possible are informed and able to enter is they wish... Entries will open in April. The tour dates have been put together to avoid clashes with the Olympic Games so not compromise the Volleyball public’s Olympic viewing or entries to the events.

Senior Tour

Junior Tour

Great Yarmouth

26-27 May


30 June – 1 July

1st July


7-8 July

8th July

Bournemouth (finals)

25-27 August

25th August

Local Recognition for ‘Castle The latest edition of Newcastle-under-Lyme’s “In Touch” magazine featured a full page article on the successes of NSVC, including quotes from both club chair Colin Roberts and ladies/girls head coach Ant Viggars. The article, submitted by club treasurer Margaret Dobell also highlighted Meg Viggars’ Olympic Dreams, and her Dad Ant’s award in the autumn from the Newcastle Community and Volunteer Awards where he was recognised as the Borough’s Sports Volunteer of the Year. There has also been a significant recent piece in The Sentinel recently... If you get the chance to promote ‘Castle and any of our activities please do so – starting with here in ‘Castle News – this magazine relies on your contributions!

Men 1 pass the test to train! With exam desks in the sports hall at Madeley for the first time there has been an impact on recent training! Men1 took on the challenge and spent their time before and after training shifting the desks so that they could have their sessions and keep themselves best prepared to try to get promotion to the Super 8s. Let’s hope the sports hall isn’t used during the long summer exams period....

‘Castle Lads at National Young Coaches Academy Friday 17th February 2012 saw 17 of Volleyball’s most highly recommended Young Leaders selected to attend the Youth Sport Trust’s ‘National Young Coaches Academy’ which took place over the whole weekend at Loughborough University and included ‘Castle’s very own Rob Bellamy and Ross Thompson! The weekend saw them working with other Young Leaders from 7 other sports including; Boccia, Badminton, and Rugby. This was an excellent opportunity for them to show members of another sporting community their abilities as a coach by focussing on a framework set out by the Youth Sport Trust as follows; C – Communication; O – Organisation; A – Adaptability; C – Compassion, H – Honesty.. And Ethics This academy will be followed by a sport specific academy hosted by Volleyball England at the end of March, and will look to build upon the foundations created by the Youth Sport Trust to motivate these young coaches to inspire others in their own coaching sessions.

Volleyball England have started to advertise their annual awards dinner – which takes place on the Saturday evening of National Finals weekend. Last year it was a successful one for ‘Castle with Charlotte James collecting her NVL2N player of the year award and Will Roberts scooping High Performance Coach of the Year, and overall Coach of the Year! For more on the awards evening, and how to make nominations go to the Volleyball England website

Under15 boys & girls At the start of January and early February the ‘Castle under 15 boys and girls took part in the regional round of the National u15s Championships. This is the first year that this competition has taken place with a new format of: - Regional Round: West Midlands - Divisional Round: Central (Top 2 from West Mids, East Mids, East) - National Round: Top 2 from each division NSVC entered two teams in both the boys and girls competitions, and our teams did really well in both events. Thanks to Libby Bellamy for all the photos!

Under 15s boys and girls The girls travelled to Wolverhampton to play in a 7 team tournament hosted by Tettenhall Tigers. After the group stage both ‘Castle A and B has made it through to the semi-finals! The A team made it through to the final but the B team bowed out at this stage – what a great performance for them! In the final the A team didn’t quite have enough to win the title but they have progressed to the Divisional Round in late March – well done girls! For the boys the pressure was on as ‘Castle had won the former Midlands (West/East Mids joint) title every year since 2004! The A teams lads played very well to dominate their group winning in convincing style before taking on Nuneaton in the semis. They again swept passed their opponents and were through to play Cleobury in the final. The snow was setting in outside and as ‘Castle A had already beaten Cleobury quite convincingly earlier in the day, the Cleobury coach requested that his team hit the road and that result count as the final result, giving ‘Castle the title for the 9th successive year! Meanwhile the B team, made up entirely of year 9 lads were playing well and gaining valuable match experience. Their 7th place finish did not reflect their achievements on the day, but the team should be proud of their performances and look forward to being the A team next season!

Under 16 boys make the National semi-finals The ‘Castle under 16 boys approached the last 8s full of hope that they might be able to reach the National Cup Finals as their predecessors had done last year, and to go one better than they managed as under15s last season when they lost in the semi-finals against Boswells. The team were on first against Wigan Seahawks; the North West side were pretty raw, and less stable in their technique than ‘Castle, but a good serving team and playing in a less orthodox style than the other teams in the group. ‘Castle cruised through the first set playing some great controlled Volleyball to win the set 25-14 in dominant fashion. This left the coaching staff to remind them that they just needed to focus on an a consistent performance to turn this into a straightforward win. But when ‘Castle’s first three servers all missed their serve the writing was on the wall and ‘Castle played poorly to find themselves 22-16 down. The team fought back excellently to pull back their opponents but could not quite finish the job losing the set 25-23. The third set was initially tense but ‘Castle came through to show their quality and take it 15-10.

Next up for ‘Castle were Chadwell Heath who had just pushed Wessex very hard and were a highly talented team made up of entirely year 10 lads. The London side were hard hitting but had some weaknesses in their rotation and despite them winning the first set comfortably 25-15 ‘Castle’s coaching team had seen enough to make them feel positive. A couple of tactical changes were made by ‘Castle and the lads turned out a performance with much more fight and intelligence to take the second set 25-19. The decider was tense, but ‘Castle seized the initiative from the start of the set and eventually took at 15-12 to guarantee their place in the semi-finals.

Under 16 boys at the Last 8s Thanks to a tricky and demanding draw ‘Castle were on again straight away against Wessex who had won the under 15s last season. With the team looking tired after the physical and emotional efforts put into the win over Chadwell Heath. The team looked very tired and ‘Castle made the decision to make changes to the line-up to give the bench its opportunity and keep the starters as fresh as possible for the forthcoming semi-final. Wessex took the match 25-14, 25-15 – a win they no doubt deserved in the match but not a score-line that is reflective of the strength of the ‘Castle team. This left the semi-final line-up as ‘Castle v Boswells and Wessex v Nottingham Rockets. ‘Castle started well against Boswells with both teams really going for it. At 12-11 in the first set Boswells sided out taking their setter to the service line – he then embarked on a remarkable serving run that totally knocked the stuffing out of ‘Castle. His high risk serving low over the net was paying off with ‘Castle playing balls they should have left, and leaving balls they should have played. Despite taking both time-outs and making subs this run won the set for Boswells, who took the first 25-13. The second set was tighter for longer but the ‘Castle lads were lacking energy and belief against a very well drilled Boswells team. ‘Castle had no response to the Essex team and despite some success at the net the team just didn’t have what was needed to take this match into a third set. In the other semi-final Nottingham Rockets caused an upset to beat Wessex 2-0! For the ‘Castle lads this left mixed emotions as they had beaten Rockets 2-1 in round 2 at Madeley! On the day ‘Castle went as far as they could, and should be proud of their achievement – to be in the top 4 in the country should not be underestimated.

Under 18 girls through to the Final The ‘Castle under 18 girls were pre-Last 8s favourites to make it through to a second successive National Final and so they entered the competition with more than a little pressure on their performance. But, based on their Christmas tournament in Holland and the availability of both Meg Viggars and Paige Nelmes who both now have Super 8s experience away from ‘Castle they had good reason to feel confident. The girls performed well in their group games to win each match 2-0 versus North Riding, Wessex and Boswells. These game also gave coach Ant Viggars the opportunity to test out a variety of line-ups, for example giving the chance for Paige Nelmes to play as libero and to try the full range of middle blocker options – a position where he has an embarrassment of riches... Ruth Gurgul, Lizzie Stuart, Amy Bradbury, Ailis Hunter and Katie Lomas. The other group was looking a lot less straight forward with Ashcombe, Tameside and Black Country (effectively a merged Redhill/Tettenhall side) battling it out and Ashcombe and Black Country making it through to the semis.

Under 18 girls through to the Final The semi-final saw an all West Midlands match-up as ‘Castle took on the Black Country. ‘Castle lost a tight first set as they struggled to find their rhythm, but coach Ant Viggars was able to make a few adjustments to his line-up and turn the game round. After levelling at 1-1 ‘Castle dominated the first phase of the all important decider to get a healthy lead. Then, following the worst fears of their coach, ‘Castle started to stumble a little – and memories of their 2010 semi-final defeat against Wessex began to re-surface. The team pulled themselves together and put aside their nerves though, and took the set and the match leading to great celebrations where they were joined by the lads who had already finished their semi-final! ‘Castle will face Ashcombe in the final after they squeezed past Wessex in another tight semi-final. The final is on Sunday 29th April at Kettering.

Under 18 boys on course for the hat-trick! The under 18 lads were carrying similar pressure to the last 8s as the girls as they were chasing a third successive final and won the title in both 2010 and 2011. But, crucially for ‘Castle none of the players in this squad had yet won a national title when competing in ‘their own’ age group – only when members of an older team. As both under 15s and under 16s key members of the team who are now in their last year of junior volleyball had lost to Boswells in the semi-finals so they were very focussed on achieving their goal in this tournament. First up they took on Team Southampton and posted a high quality performance in both sets to win by a convincing margin in both sets.

They then played against Black Country (Redhill/Tettenhall)& turned in another convincing display, to win comfortably. The full squad was used in these first two matches, except for Stewart Ross who had been suffering with injury and was being saved for later in the tournament. In Stew’s absence James Chadwick excelled, and both Kacper Stefanowicz and Chris Ashton were playing excellently as passer-hitters giving coach Will Roberts the ideal kind of selection dilemma.

Next up were Boswells in a repeat of the 2011 final. The Essex side came out of the blocks at 100 miles per hour and served incredibly well in the first set causing ‘Castle a lot of problems. Boswells gained the early advantage and seemed to have the set in the bag until a late flurry of subs and time-outs from ‘Castle....

Under 18 boys on course for the hat-trick!

... this disrupted Boswells flow and ‘Castle sneaked up from behind to take the first set by just 2 points in dramatic fashion. As you might expect this really knocked the stuffing out of their opponents and ‘Castle were able to play with a lot more control in the second set to win it with relative ease. After showing weakness in respect of service reception and tip cover in the first set ‘Castle upped their game brilliantly with both Sam Shenton and Jermaine Miles bouncing the ball on the 3 metre line, Iain McKellar serving and attacking smoothly and Chris Ashton claiming a huge kill block on Boswells’ opposite. This left ‘Castle to face Nottingham Rockets in the semi-final. The East Midlanders put in a strong defensive & counter attacking performance but could not match the service & blocking strength of the ‘Castle team who won in straight sets. Boswells beat Wessex 2-0 in the other semi so its another ‘Castle v Boswells final!

'Castle News 66 - February 2012  

The February 2012 edition of the monthly e-newsletter of Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club: 'Castle News

'Castle News 66 - February 2012  

The February 2012 edition of the monthly e-newsletter of Newcastle (Staffs) Volleyball Club: 'Castle News