The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Strong start


The highlight of round one of Volleyball Horsham’s winter season was the strong performanc­es of players who were returning to the sport.

While he couldn’t quite get his team over the line, Andrew Trigg fitted in perfectly to his Hellenic Phantoms team in A Grade.

“It’s been a while, but the standard of competitio­n is unreal. It’s so good to be back playing again, especially with good mates,” Trigg said.

Heidelberg welcomed up-and-coming Caleb Smith into its team, after the middle blocker missed most of last season with a serious ankle injury. And the youngster didn’t disappoint.

Associatio­n number-one setter Nathan Berry said Smith’s work in attack was good.

“He did get some strong block touches as well. I’m looking forward to setting to him,” he said.

Youngsters Jack Snowden and Rowan Sanders also made solid A Grade debuts. The two have been training well in the build-up to the season and did not look out of place.

In A Reserve competitio­n, Blair Avery made a triumphant return, single-handedly destroying Heidelberg Masters.

The new father pounded the Heidelberg defences into submission with his power hitting and strong serving, enabling his Von Steiger Shadows team to get off to a winning start.

Scott Robinson, in his first game in this competitio­n, showed he will improve, while

Otto Maroske, also returning from a serious ankle injury, showed good touch.

In B Grade, Heidelberg Masters showed they will be one of the teams to beat with a strong four-set win over Von Steiger Teachers.

In his first game for almost 20 years, Mark Mcphee showed he had not lost any of his skills, hitting and passing consistent­ly.

Also stepping up into this grade was Tim O’donnell. In his first game after a serious knee injury, O’donnell displayed good skill on serve and clever play at the net, in a positive return.

O’donnell and Mcphee were ably supported by former Horsham College National Schools Cup silver medalist Ash Voigt.

Voigt played her first game for four years and showed she had not lost any of her consistent passing skills.

Players across all grades were channeling their ‘inner Olympics’, commenting on the progress of beach volleyball pair Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar.

The increase in participat­ion, especially at the junior level, could be directly attributed to the coverage given to the sport with plenty of children seeing the sport for the first time and wanting to give it a go.

“We’re lucky the Olympics came at the right time for us, with our season just starting so we could accommodat­e the spike in interest,” associatio­n committee member Tamikah Dockrill said.

“What the beach-volleyball girls were able to do for the sport can’t be underestim­ated.”

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