Joining the history books: 50 years of England vs. Scotland

11th May 2018

Joining the history books: 50 years of England vs. Scotland

The year 1968 saw Led Zeppelin’s first live performance, the first airing of Dad’s Army on the BBC, major roadworks on the M1 motorway to open the 35-mile section between Rotherham and Leeds and, most memorably for some, West Bromwich Albion lift the FA Cup after emerging victorious in the final for the fifth time.

And in the volleyball annals, 16th March, 1968 is of landmark importance as the date of the first of many hard-fought meetings between the England and Scotland senior men’s squads; the 50th anniversary of which will be marked in the upcoming match between the rivals set for 19:00 on Saturday 19th May at Sport Central, Newcastle. With free tickets available on the door and the best of England’s players out in force (keep on reading to find out who has made the squads), the golden anniversary of the fixture seemed like the perfect occasion to delve into the Volleyball England archives to look back at the half-century history of the match.

A lot has happened in the intervening 50 years since the two national sides first faced off on court: Led Zeppelin went on to achieve eight consecutive UK number-one albums and become one of the best-selling bands in history, Dad’s Army continued for nine series and repeats still showing on the BBC stand as testament to its enduring appeal and, in volleyball, white balls and side out scoring are things of the past.

The time period has also been marked by 78 meetings between the England and Scotland men’s sides. Battled out at Abbey Wood Sports Centre in London, England unfortunately lost the first ever encounter 1-3 (11-15, 2-15, 15-13, 11-15) but before despairing at the second set score, remember rally point scoring hadn’t yet been introduced in 1968! Arthur Mosely had the pleasure of captaining the squad and also making an appearance, wearing no. 9, was the current Vice Chair of Volleyball England, Keith Nicholls. And 50 years later, the Ruth Nicholls Foundation have made a generous donation to help put this event on. Interested in finding out more about the first fixture? You can view the full scoresheet here.

Ahead of the golden anniversary match and 79th encounter, we look at the tale of the tape in 50 years of meetings between the England and Scotland men’s teams:

  •          78 – total number of encounters
  •          48 – total England wins
  •          61% - win rate for England (rounded down to nearest whole number)
  •          181 – total sets for England
  •          128 – total sets against England
  •          159 – total players for England
  •          17 – most England vs Scotland matches coached by a head coach (Ian Legrand)
  •          16 – most England vs Scotland matches captained by a player (Richard Dobell)
  •          15 – England captains
  •          10 – England head coaches

England Head Coaches in England vs Scotland fixtures from earliest to most recent: David James, Peter Bibby, George Bulman, Bill Black, Andrew Lowczynowski, Peter Guernari, Jefferson Williams, Ian Legrand, Keith Trenam, Simon Loftus.

England Captains in England vs Scotland fixtures from earliest to most recent: Arthur Mosley, Bob Coombe, Nick Keeley, Bobby Smith, Barry Swann, Leszek Zarzycki, Steve Nuth, Philip Newton, Ucal Ashman, Richard Dobell, Matthew Jones, Alex Bialokoz, Thomas Stevens, Andrew Sinclair, Adam Bradbury.

Writing their names in history

In 50 years, however, some things have remained the same. The M1 motorway seems to be in a perpetual state of construction, West Bromwich Albion continue to stand on five FA Cup titles and being selected to represent England in an historic fixture against Scotland still means as much to the players as in 1968. And following the England men’s squad’s recent selection camp, the team who are set to face Scotland and join the history books have been named by England Men’s Head Coach Simon Loftus:

  •          Alex Jenkins
  •          Alex Calpin
  •          Jack Bruce
  •          Mahlon King
  •          Sonny Chaney
  •          Andy Clayton
  •          Guy Farquharson
  •          Adam Bradbury (captain)
  •          Sam Shenton
  •          Toby French
  •          Rob Poole
  •          Liam Jenkinson
  •          Iain McKellar
  •          Jack Williams

England vs Scotland women selection

The final selection to the England women’s team will be made after the squad train closer to the fixture on Saturday 19th May, which will be played in the build up to the men’s anniversary match but the following 14 players have been shortlisted by England Women’s Head Coach David Goodchild:

  •          Meg Viggars
  •          Jodie Gregson
  •          Georgia McGovern
  •          Molly Van Essen
  •          Leah Best
  •          Grace Lazard
  •          Milly Smith
  •          Eva Borrowdale
  •          Angel Beckford
  •          Mechell Daniel
  •          Paige Fullerton
  •          Ellie Cranch
  •          Faye Hills
  •          Katy Murmanis

Additionally, while up in Newcastle, both the England men's and women's squads will be scrimmaging and training with Team Northumbria across the weekend of 19th and 20th May.

Next year we will be revealing the comparable stats and names from the women’s game to mark the 50th anniversary of the first match between England and Scotland’s women’s teams. This fixture was played on 1st March 1969 and, incidentally, the 2019 anniversary will also mark 50 years since the England men first beat Scotland!

Tickets for the men’s and women’s matches will be available for free on the door on Saturday 19th May 2018 at Sport Central, Northumbria University, Northumberland Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8QD.

With thanks to Ian Cooper, Volleyball England International Match Archivist

Joining the history books: 50 years of England vs. Scotland