England Cadet Girls retain School Games gold
3rd September 2017
The fourth and final day of the 2017 School Games played host to the play-off matches and finals. With England Cadet Women looking to retain their title in an all-England affair. While in the boy’s competition it was Scotland East Boys looking to cause an upset and beat the undefeated England Junior Men’s team. Who would take home gold in the 2017 School Games?
Northern Ireland Boys vs Wales Boys (5th/6th Playoff)
The Welsh boys, despite saving six match points, fell to the Northern Irish side in a 2-0 sweep for their 5th/6th play-off. Wales were determined to get their first win of the tournament but the Irish had other plans, storming to an early lead and taking the first set 25-18.
Ireland pulled away early in the second set, Wales fought back to save six match points from the service line in a brilliant display from Benjamin Wakefield, but it was all too little too late for the Welsh falling 25-22.
Northern Ireland Girls vs Wales Girls (5th/6th Playoff)
A 2-0 win for the Welsh Girls in the 5th/6th play off in the 2017 School Games left Northern Ireland without a win in the tournament.
The plucky Welsh side fought hard to take the first set, in a close encounter with their Irish counterparts. The crowd was out in full force to cheer on both sides in the tight match, with Wales coming out victorious and taking 5th place, with Ireland finishing in 6th.
Scotland East Girls vs Scotland West Girls (Bronze Medal Match)
Yesterday it was Scotland East that came out on top in a close two set match, they repeated history today with a convincing sweep of their Scotland West compatriots.
Scotland East came out meaning business and had soon racked up a convincing eight-point margin with their gutsy defence and hard hitting to put the pressure on the West defence. East pulled away to take the set in substantial fashion, 25-16.
The second set was controlled from the service line with East making few errors to make the West play. They didn’t go down without a fight and pulled back the deficit to five points before losing the set 25-20. Scotland East take the bronze medal, while Scotland West settle for a tough fourth place finish at the 2017 School Games.
England Junior Women vs England Cadet Women (Final)
England Cadets retained their title, despite losing to the Juniors in their showdown yesterday, they came out meaning business and had a clean sweep over the Junior Girls to take home gold.
It was Leah Blight who lead the Cadet attack with her cross-court swings proving too much for the Junior defence to handle. Service runs form Lauren Cadwgan and Niamh Davies gave the Cadets a storming lead, finishing the set on an ace, 25-16.
The Juniors didn’t have an answer for the determined Cadet attack, with Charlotte Wittram leading the Cadet defence sweeping up any attack they could produce, Juniors soon found themselves on the back foot of the second set. Captain, Georgia McGovern with a fantastic serving run to pull a commanding lead, taking the set 25-15.
The Cadets took home gold to retain their 2016 title. Coached by 2012 Olympian Maria Bertelli, she was impressed with how the team bounced back from their loss yesterday and turned it around in their favour, ‘I told them to believe in themselves, get some rest and come back today. Take your time, give some height to the ball. They showed their strong mental strength to come out today like they did, I’m really proud to coach such a good group of girls.’
England Junior Men vs Scotland East Boys (Final)
England Juniors lost out in the three-set thriller which saw Scotland East claim their first ever School Games title.
Ben Lucas lead the way in defence, and with some impressive spiking for the England Juniors but they could not overcome a powerful Scottish side. The Scots were out for revenge after losing to the Juniors in yesterday’s match and were ready to cause an upset. Captain, Logan Darling, commanded his team to a storming to the first set victory.
The Juniors came fighting back to level the match through their scrambling defence and hard hitting from Noah Goalen. Scotland fell short in the second letting their unforced errors take control of the match, the boys final went to a deciding set.
The deciding set was a close affair with Scotland taking an early lead. England fought back, but it was all a case of too little too late as the hearty Scots inflicted the first upset of the tournament to take gold 15-10.
Head coach of ten years, Ian Brownlee, said ‘normally in a final I’m sat in the bleachers watching, this was the first year for me as a coach being in the final, and for the athletes. So to get into the final was a massive achievement then to win such a thrilling match then it still hasn’t sunk in.’
Scotland East took home gold for the first time at the School Games, being crowned 2017 Champions. Favourites, England Juniors took home silver after the thrilling three set final.
England Cadet Men vs Scotland West Boys (Bronze Medal Match)
Scotland West were looking to cause an upset in the bronze medal match but it was the England Cadets that clinched the three-set match.
The Cadets started slow, with many unforced errors to soon find themselves on the back foot. The Scots, backed by a raucous crowd were on fire with hard hitting and mounting pressure from the service line. The Scots took the first set 25-20.
England took an early lead in the second set with outstanding defence from libero, Enrique Bello, allowing his team to pull away. Scotland didn’t have an answer for the hard hitting of the Cadets and fell 25-20. Scotland took a three-point advantage in the deciding set, soon to be scuppered by the gutsy England side. Determined to not go home empty handed the boys rallied their way to a 15-10 win to take home bronze.
1st Scotland East Boys
2nd England Junior Men
3rd England Cadets Men
4th Scotland West Boys
5th Northern Ireland Boys
6th Wales Boys
1st England Cadets
2nd England Juniors
3rd Scotland East
4th Scotland West
5th Wales Girls
6th Northern Ireland Girls
The overall tournament winners, after much deliberation, were England Juniors. Captains Holly Bentley and Ben Lucas, who both won high praise for their individual performances, collected the trophy.
With the medals dealt with, attention turned to the 2017 Super 7s. The coaches for all teams put forward their nominations for players of the tournament; each Super 7 winner received a coverted golden ball and went home in the knowledge that their individual performances shone throughout the tournament. The Super 7s winners are as follows:
Holly Bentley (England Juniow Women)
Charlotte Wittram (England Cadet Women)
Niamh Davies (England Cadet Women)
Remi Knight (England Junior Women)
Katie Keefe (England Cadet Women)
Leah Blight (England Cadet Women)
Jessica Tasker (England Junior Women)
Ben Lucas (England Junior Men)
Enrique Bello (England Cadet Men)
Yusef Butt (Scotland East Boys)
Cameron Hook (Scotland East Boys)
Jonathan Drysdale-Anderson (England Junior Men)
Joshua Green (England Junior Men)
David Mexson (Scotland West Boys)
A big thank you to the Scottish Volleyball Federation who in partnership with orocco pier, Skyridge Financial Planning and Law Cycles sponsored the Golden Balls for the 2017 School Games.
With that, another successful School Games competition for volleyball came to an end. Huge thanks must go to the fantastic team of volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the event to make it a huge success. Congratulations to all teams and athletes - and safe travels home!