Grovelands volleyball bonanza!!

One hot summer evening, the Grovelands office emptied for the sporting event of the year: The Grovelands Volleyball Training and Tournament 2011!

On the hot summer evening of Wednesday the 27th of July the whole office emptied for what was sure to be the sporting event of the year. The Grovelands Volleyball Training and Tournament 2011! We made our way down to the Nivea Yellowave Beach Sports Venue for 6pm, some walked, some took a taxi, and others experienced a terrifying car journey with Oliver Benn.

The training was excellent.  The brilliantly skilled coach Amy started us off with a warm up. We separated into two teams of seven. Queuing behind each other, we then had to sprint to the other end of the court, ducking the net in the middle. On the return journey the ball had to be thrown over the net, high enough for the participant to run under and catch it on the other side. This was trickier than it sounds and we all gasped as we thought that Laura Real was not going to lower her arms in time on her return journey and accidentally demonstrate the perfect clothes-line. She escaped visibly shaken.

Amy then showed us the perfect technique for the three most important shots that we would apparently be using. The Dig or forearm pass involved clasping your hands in front of you, keeping your arms straight and driving up from the knees as the ball strikes. Probably the most commonly used shot of the tournament. The Set is used to float the ball close to the front of the court so as a teammate can then leap and use the Smash shot, batting the ball down hard over the net. Damn near un-returnable.

After a quick question period the games began.  As Amy promised, an accurate and powerful Serve was the most effective weapon in the arsenal. DJ Marker, Bill Gardner and Nairi Booloozian all inflicted devastation upon their opponents with pin point accurate serves leaving a trail of flailing bodies and cries of frustration.  David Leen’s signature shot was the reverse Dig, as shown on the excellent photos taken by the cheerleaders, who have said they will be sure to play next time.

The most exciting rally began with a soaring serve from Faith Bannier. Sam Jeffries and Yuki Tang poised at the front kept the ball alive with endless deflections, both teams easily achieving the aim of playing three shots on each side of the net. Laura Heaps and Ella Tugwell were toe to toe at the net, with Darren A’Court covering the bass line with ease. However, it was the incredible forehand of Oliver, reminiscent of a John Smiths advert, which sent the ball just out and onto the train line to finish the rally. A total of six games were played and I believe each team won a total of three times.

We had to be dragged off the pitches at 8pm, neither team wanting to back down.  We finished in style with a cold beverage, olives, hummus and bread whilst reflecting who had the most magnificent face plant (Toni Smith, who had clearly played sport to a very high level at some point).  A big thank you to Laura Real, Sam Jeffrey and David Leen for organising the evening. Bring on the amateur league tournament in August!

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